High Notes, Vol 19 No 24, August 10 2018

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From the Principal

High Talent

Eric Holmstrom (11T) placed 4th at the NSW CHSSA Cross Country Championships and has qualified to run at the National Championships. Great job, Eric!

Thinking Routines

We are trying to reframe our pedagogy to focus more upon dispositional teaching. We want to emphasise not the right answer, but on what to do when the right answer is not apparent. We are moving from a focus on transmitting meaning to facilitating the construction of meaning by the students. We are helping our students move from a total dependency on external evaluation towards building more of a mindset of formative self-assessment. Using thinking routines helps us with this reframing. Thinking routines are simple protocols for exploring ideas. Attention is directed towards to four “thinking ideals”: understanding, truth, fairness and creativity. A routine can be thought of as any procedure, process or pattern of action that is used repeatedly to manage and facilitate the accomplishment of specific goals or tasks. Routines that serve to manage student behaviour and interactions, to organise the work of learning and to establish rules for communication and discourse. We are aiming to improve three important aspects of learning success: engagement, understanding and independence.

Keeping Offseason Fitness

At various public occasions I have spoken of the need for our boys to maintain their offseason strength and fitness. Some boys pursue a high level of performance in one sport but then do not compete with the same intensity during the next season. Many of our boys become ‘detrained’, that is to say, their level of strength and fitness falls below their in-season capacities. This means that summer season coaches inherit detrained boys from winter sports and vice versa. Our performances overall are limited by fitness levels at the beginning of a season. The rationale for having only full year memberships for the weights room included the idea that boys would train all year because it was paid for already. There are three remedies. First, the school should enforce the Sports Policy so that all sports do two intense, meaningful training sessions each week. The top two teams in each sport should have three organised sessions. Second, boys should do off season sessions of their own eg rowers could do an erg session each week in the off season in their own time. Third, boys should want to compete for the school at the highest level that they can during each season.

As the winter season ends and the athletics season commences, there is a six-week gap where those not in GPS Athletics or a first/second grade team, are in danger of losing whatever level of physical fitness they have acquired, during the winter season. Every year we give up a fitness advantage to other GPS schools. The coaches are forced to concentrate on fitness and strength before they can get on with the job of fashioning their teams into skilled units. I urge all boys to maintain a regular routine of physical fitness if they are among this large group of boys that I have described.

Prefect Interns Elections Process

The Executive has considered the list of potential candidates for the Prefect Internship. Students who have been nominated may be vetoed for a number of reasons. An important prerequisite for School Prefect is acceptable academic progress. That means estimated ATAR of 90 for students who started in Year 7 (calculated on 12 units) and 86 for those who joined the school later. Strong, ongoing participation in the Student Award Scheme is the next benchmark to be met. We expect School Prefects to be role models for participation.

Each year they should earn 100 points. By the time the ballot nominations close all students nominated should have earned 70 points this year towards an award. Boys who already have Platinum Awards, have until the closing date of the Award Scheme for the year to complete their 100 points requirement. Nominees can be vetoed for recent acts of misbehaviour at the discretion of the executive or because of attendance and punctuality or school uniform issues. Boys who have not maintained the academic standard, but have been close to it (ie 5 ATAR points below 90 or 86, depending on year of enrolment) have a right of appeal in writing to the Principal, with testimonials from at least three teachers, supporting their claims to have improved their academic standing since their first report and assuring that the benchmark will be reached by April of their HSC year. Nominees successful in their appeals are automatically on probation until their Year 11 Preliminary reports. A further investigation of academic standings occurs at the beginning of term 4. Prefect Interns who have slipped in their academic standings will be placed on probation and given until their first Year 12 report to meet the standard required. Ms Rigby is the Manager in Charge of School Prefects and is in charge of the nomination and voting process.
Dr K A Jaggar
Principal

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