High Notes, Vol 18 No 17, June 09 2017

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From the Principal

Room 802 Upgrade

Boys taking lesson in computer skills, software and robotics, have a refurbished classroom in which to learn. Benches and access points have been installed around the room to allow better utilisation of space for BYOD devices, desktops and keyboards. There is now a clear space in the room for remotely operated machines to navigate pathways, obstacles and mazes. The data cabling has also been renewed, allowing faster and more reliable network access.

Interpreting Year 7 Reports

Year 7 boys received their reports this week. Parents need to know that with scores for grades – HD (6), D (5), Credit (3) PM (2) and P (1) – boys are expected to score thirty points or 10 credits equivalent, in order to reach the school standard. Proficiency levels for future oriented learning skills, such as problem solving and evaluating, are also reported. Parents will be able to trace the growth of their son in the five reported skills as he progresses through the junior school. We understand that boys transitioning into Year 7 face many adjustment challenges. The top group of boys are acknowledged on the Academic Achievement List. Unless special circumstances preclude it, letters are sent to the parents of the boys in the Academic Support Group (those boys with scores less than 30). Boys scoring 27 points or less may be offered a special workshop presented by an outside provider; they may join ‘Diary Club’ to learn how to organise themselves better to complete tasks and submit work punctually; they may just receive an encouraging chat from their Year Adviser; they may be referred to the Counsellor; or they may be referred to an outside agency with their parents on very rare occasions. We want to help our underachievers using the most effective means possible. Parents are requested to talk over their son’s report with him ahead of booking Parent-Teacher interview time slots.

Prefect Investiture and Leadership Assembly

Thirty-five Prefects received their official badges and signed the Prefects Book at the Investiture Assembly last Friday. To celebrate this affirmation of leadership, other school leadership groups reported on their activities – Community services, Environment, Equality Committee. Ms Rigby has assigned Prefects to roles that help student committee activities. We want to expand this influence of our School Prefects among leadership groups at High. We encourage more reporting for next year’s assembly. My speech to the assembly is reprinted below:

"Staff, students, parents and Prefects of Sydney Boys High welcome to our official recognition and investiture assembly for our 2016-17 School Prefects. I acknowledge this morning the Gadigal people of the Eora nation as the custodians of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to any Aboriginal people here today.

"In many ways the quality of our Prefect body defines the quality of our school life. Participation in the election process, measures the level that school pride has reached, it benchmarks how inspired boys are to commit to qualifying for the role and then carrying it out to the best of their ability. Our boys both bear the weight of and draw inspiration from our traditions. There have been so many great Prefects before them at this school that they must try to emulate. The honour of such a long established role energises them to perform it well.

"The Senior Prefect leadership team comprises Hugh Bartley as captain, Lucas Wong as Vice-Captain and Darmesh Sharma as the Senior Prefect. These young men have set a fine standard in taking leadership on social issues – most notably this year on International Women’s Day. They have shown the Prefects as a group that the role of Prefect at High can be more than ceremonial duties or representative tasks outside of the school or service to the school in the canteen. The have bedded down the notion that the Prefect group should stand for something, should speak up on a social justice issue or champion a more respectful discourse among boys in our school. They are keenly aware of our espoused values and are endeavouring to live them more directly than has been the case with groups of our leaders in former, years. They are endeavouring to modify our social behaviours so we can truly become the inclusive just and equitable community that we aspire to be. They repeated the profile-raising that started in 2016 by putting themselves forward in the ‘Meet the Prefect’ series in High Notes, explaining what the Prefect role mean to them. They have enlarged the recently re-imagined role of the School Prefect at High. This growth has in no small measure been facilitated by the careful and caring stewardship of Ms Rigby as Prefect MIC. She has set high standards and held our boys to account. I want to thank her for her dedication to the role and for her effectiveness in it.

"To move from internship to the point of getting their perpetual School Prefect badges today, Prefects had to prove that they could meet the requirements for the role. These requirements were demanding. Prefect interns had to continue to meet a predetermined academic standard.  They had to maintain their participation in school life, play two GPS sports and earn a Student Awards Scheme Award in their final year.  They had to have exemplary standards in behaviour, school dress and punctuality.  They had to carry out their internship duties effectively.  As in previous years, not all interns successfully pass the series of tests we impose on them, but the overwhelming majority have and they will proudly receive their badges today.

"'Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.' With apologies for Eisenhower’s gendered expression, there is something important that he is getting at. Things are achieved by influencing others to act. They will then do so with conviction because they have adopted the cause or end goal as worthwhile in the context of their own perceptions of their role. Telling people what to do doesn’t work as well. It is preferable to have a companion rather than a follower. Prefects are representatives of the staff and are supposed to support the policy settings of the school. They show to the wider community what style of young man the school nurtures. Prefects need to influence by talking to boys in their cohort and by acting as a consistent inspiring role models for younger boys to emulate. Prefects contribute significantly to maintaining the ethos of our school.

"The Internship of our Prefects lasts for a full year. From this annual investiture assembly onwards, a new cohort of candidates will have to meet the qualifying standards to be placed on the ballot. They will have to pass the test of democratic election by a constituency of students in Years10 and 11, teachers and outgoing Prefects. Once elected they will have to perform well until their induction assembly as Prefect Interns and then for the next three school terms until they reach this culminating ceremony of signing the Prefects’ Book and receiving their perpetual School Prefects badges.

"Sydney Boys High Prefects are special people – they have proven themselves worthy of the honour shown to them. They have earned their recognition and acknowledgement. I congratulate all the students who are to receive their badges today. "
Dr K A Jaggar

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