High Notes, Vol 19 No 19, June 22 2018

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From the Relieving Principal

High Talent

Well done to the Opens CHS Basketball Team who won the Grand Final against Narara Valley High School at Terrigal and thus ensured that High are the undefeated NSW CHS Basketball Champions in 2018.

World Refugee Day

Congratulations to Tim Hanna, Matthew Awad, Mihir Marathe, Andrew Smallbone, William Winter, Joshua Lam, Nicolas Palmer, Shuyuan Zheng, William Choi, Louie Flint, Akif Kazi , Aman Mohamed who went to support the World Refugee Day Breakfast. They were spotted by one of the parents who said she was incredibly proud of how well the boys represented High.

Caught Doing the Right Thing

Additionally I had an email from a passenger who told me about one of our students who “graciously gave up his seat for myself. I am 8 and half months pregnant and am very used to people not giving up their seat. Not that I would expect it but a small gesture from himself to give up his seat shows what a great young man he is becoming and something that I feel shouldn’t go unnoticed.” It was so nice to hear a positive message about our boys on public transport because we are generally only contacted about the poor behaviour of the minority who spoil the reputation of the majority of our students who always do the right thing.

Year 8 Reports

Last weekend I read and commented on all the Year 8 reports and have been giving them back to the students this week. Most of the students I see ask me for their rank. I am reminding all the students, and would like to remind parents, that their academic performance is much more than a number within the cohort. It is of upmost importance that students consider aiming for a personal best. They should be putting their full effort into each subject (whether it is a strength or not) and so I believe the first question that should be asked about the report is “Have I got Very Good or Excellent Effort awards in each of my subject and if not, why?”

In terms of the cut-off scores for Distinctions or High Distinctions can make a big difference in their sons’ points’ totals. When moving from Year 7 into Year 8 students get their first choice process – one language or two? As a consequence, some boys do ten subjects as in Year 7 and others, nine. To calculate the boys’ scores, their best 9 subject outcomes are counted. So, boys doing more subjects may have an advantage. Language choice can affect ranking outcomes. For example, some boys chose Chinese Advanced. Some chose Latin, other chose Latin and Classical Greek. These are demanding subjects. Getting Distinctions in these subjects is harder – fewer students do them, too. Boys not doing two languages have to have their PE results counted. Sometimes boys in Year 8 start to think about what electives they might do in Year 9 and what the compulsory subjects there are. These future choices might affect their motivation to succeed in some of the compulsory subjects that they are doing currently. Because of semesterisation of history and geography, students who perform much better in one of these disciplines more than the other can produce big swings in points earned at the half yearly or yearly report. Quite a few boys who have done well in their Yearly Report take their foot off the accelerator and coast through semester one, with effects on their ranking. Often, they get back on track by the time of the Yearly Report again. In short, there are many reasons for big swings in rank. I think that +/-35 positions means something has altered. Usually, big positive or negative fluctuations are due to learning dispositions: boys listening in class, taking notes, doing homework, accessing past papers and revising before assessment periods. Many of our students have already undergone a process of self –reflection before they come for their report interview and I admire their ability to understand where they may have gone wrong and what targets they can set themselves for next semester. However, it is crucial that students and parents read each of the teacher comments carefully to see the individual feedback that is given to them. Most of our teachers have written very specific comments with targets for improvements and this should be very helpful to students.

For those students who have underachieved (relative to their peers at SBHS) or for those who appear to have underachieved considerably compared to their previous report, we provide support through the Year Adviser and Learning Support Team.

It is important that parents play an active part at report time by reading the teachers comments and speaking to their sons about their progress. If you have any questions about your son’s report please contact us at school and make sure that you make an appointment to see your son’s teachers at the Parent- Teacher evening on 2nd July.

Interpreting Year 7 and 8 Reports Semester 2

Check your son’s progress in future oriented earning skills – problem solving, evaluating, working with others, communicating ideas, creating and innovating. They are reported twice each year in their own text box on the school reports. Every Faculty has an opportunity to report at least twice on each of the five ‘future focussed skills’ during the six reporting periods during Years 7-9. You can understand more deeply about how your son is building his capacity in the discrete dispositions that we have targeted for development as a school. The idea is that you can track your son’s growth over his three years in the Junior School. These PEWCC skills are very contextual. Hypothetically, your son might be really good at working with others in English where he is confident and comfortable but not so effective in mathematics where he is weaker, is reticent and defers to the strong mathematician in the work group. Consequently, skill growth might not be a simple progression from 1 in Year 7 to 3, 4, or 5 in Year 9 (depending on the scale in the rubric for each subject). Your son’s progress might be uniform neither across the subjects, nor across the dispositions. I look forward to an informed dialogue between parents and teachers on the individual student’s development of these important life skills. Find out more about PEWCC reporting on our website www.sbhs.nsw.edu.au/curriculum

Student Leave Requests – Reminder

Too many parents are ignoring or pleading ignorance about the school policy on Student Leave of Absence – Extended Leave Travel requests. This applies to leave that is five school days or more in duration. Parents are reminded that as a matter of policy leave will not be processed or approved unless four weeks notice has been given. Also, cogent reasons for travelling during school term need to be supplied. The effect of this decision is that all leave requests that involve that last four weeks of term must be lodged with me for approval by the end of week 6, each term. If you are planning to travel during the school term you need to download, complete and submit the form for my approval by the closing date. As it is now week 8, I am going to apply the rule quite strictly.
Rachel Powell
Relieving Principal

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