High Notes, Vol 18 No 38, December 01 2017

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to Samuel Zheng on his HSC work,‘Speak No Evil’, being selected for exhibition in ARTEXPRESS. Well done to Old Boys Simon Shields and James Ye (SHS-2016) who came first and second in semester 1 computer science at UNSW. Both will receive $500 from ‘Atlassian’.

Caught Doing the Right Thing

A commuter emailed this week because she was impressed by the behaviour of our students on her regular train service.

 “Good morning: I wanted to send a note to compliment Sydney Boys High on the politeness of the students. Often students (including those from private schools) are badly behaved on trains but this morning, as one example, SBH students got up from their seats without being asked when the train became crowded. It seems so unusual these days and I wanted to say that I appreciate the politeness these students showed.”

Such comments should inspire boys to do the right thing when travelling on public transport. You get the ride for free so you cannot occupy a seat that could be taken by a fare-paying passenger. Every time you graciously offer up your seat, the reputation of the school is enhanced. The opposite is also true.

Bus Purchase

Thanks to the P & C’s donation of $36k and to the generous broking efforts by Craig Gerlach, we have acquired a 12-seater automatic transmission diesel bus. It can be driven by staff without the need for a special additional licence. It will prove invaluable for transporting smaller groups of students to events – eg tennis, basketball, table tennis, debating, chess, or TOM. It can also be used in tandem with the Higer bus and driver, to transport up to 40 students. Hence, it is a versatile addition to our fleet. It will allow a flexible response to our ever increasing transport needs. I am certain it will be well utilised.

Unauthorised Parking On School Grounds

We have recently had a number of vehicles parked without permission on our school grounds, in some cases for multiple days. We all need to be vigilant – staff, parents and students – when driving, parking or walking through our car parks. Please report to the school office or inform a Deputy Principal if you see someone getting out of a car and then exiting the site. Commuters can save a considerable amount of money by avoiding paying for a car space in the city. Sometimes people working in our immediate vicinity try to use our grounds as their car space.  Car spaces for staff and visiting parents are already at a premium without the burden of freeloading commuters making things worse. Let’s be alert together to report strange vehicles on our site!

Orientation Day Assembly 2017

My speech to the incoming parents and students is reprinted below. New teachers or recently arrived staff are urged to digest the contents as they relate to the foundations of our educational thinking.

"Good afternoon and welcome to High’s Orientation Day for students joining us in 2018. First, I congratulate you all on qualifying for a place at High, either by way of a test in Year 7 or by application and interview for Years 8, 9 and 11. Second, I am so pleased that you made the decision to accept the offer. It is up to us all to make that decision a good one for your son. I am confident that your time with us will be as challenging, engaging and rewarding as it has been for numerous boys before you. As your Principal, it is a constant source of motivation and pride for me to be associated with such talented people and their able parents. High is a great place in which to work and learn.

"A number of speakers will inform you about aspects of school life. You have a great many forms and booklets, either in your enrolment package mailed to you, or in your satchel given to you today. It is all too much to take in all at once. I urge you to retain all the information from these sources and to carefully consider it all before the first day of school next year. Keep it with you until you need it.

"I have recorded my thoughts on what differentiates the educational experience at High in a green pamphlet that you should have received in your enrolment package. The document is by way of the School Prospectus, so you know what we stand for, where we are headed and what we are trying to do to get there. In addition, on our school website, www.sydneyboyshigh.com  under the main menu on the navigation bar, if you select about/ introduction/ Principal’s Message, you can peruse my Vision Statement for the school for 2018-20. In it I outline the educational philosophy which drives the programs and experiences we design and implement for your sons. I also sketch the framework for the three-year plan that we commenced last year and the objectives we hope to realise next year.

"Our values are published in about/organisation/school values. The full text of the School Plan can be viewed on the website if you select about/organisation/school planning. We are here to teach students, not subjects separated into siIos. Kids are important, not content. We want to build character through engagement and collaborative effort. Our ethos is founded on nurturing the scholar-sportsman. Our organisation is rather complicated. Our two organisation charts are published at about/organisation. I am very proud of our Student Awards Scheme. Our students have participated fully in this scheme since 2001. The names of the highly involved boys are proudly recorded for posterity on Honour Boards here in the Great Hall and in our corridors. The details about this scheme are also published on our website at www.sydneyboyshigh.com/wellbeing/award-scheme I urge you and your son to read these web pages before school commences next year to familiarise yourselves with the school and its activities and to know how your son’s participation is valued and recognised. Our Good Discipline and Effective Learning Policy is published in a white pamphlet for your perusal. Our extensive wellbeing programs can be found on the navigation bar under ‘Wellbeing’.

"The strength of our school lies in the quality of the people who comprise it – students, staff, parents, Old Boys. As a leading selective school, High brings together intelligent and energetic people with multifaceted gifts. We provide a meeting place for like minds and hearts. Having a sense of belonging and a feeling of commitment to the culture of a school, helps sustain and motivate students to strive for high level outcomes in academics, sport and other activities. Our school prizes the good all-rounder. Students who fully engage with the school culture generally maximise their potential in all areas of school life and have happier dispositions. They also tend to become successful adults.

"As bright, committed and no less energetic parents join together in the interests of supporting their sons while at High, innovative, professional and creative ideas are injected into school governance and management. As new parents, our Parent Mentor Program is there to help you transition into the high community. I welcome your future involvement in the governance of the school.

"The Welcome to New Parents Evening is scheduled for Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 6pm in the Great Hall – the day after the school swimming carnival at Des Renford Pool. I urge you to attend this important occasion. Year 9 new enrolments have a special orientation activities organised for them right at the beginning of next year. Please make sure your son attends these information sessions.

"Our staff is dedicated to teaching gifted students and specialise in meeting the needs of learners who are becoming more autonomous and independent at earlier stages in life than their age peers. To have a coherent strategy for our programs we need to tie them to a theoretical model for cognitive, physical, social and personal development. Over a decade ago, the school was divided into two in order to design appropriate policies and programs for two growth stages and to provide more intimacy in administration.

"The overarching model driving decisions on our activities I call IPEC It conceives of individual development as having four major components. IQ – is the growth of intelligence, not a fixed capacity. PQ- is physical intelligence, the development of the body. EQ- refers to nurturing emotional intelligence. CQ – encompasses cultural intelligence, understanding better other cultures and our world. In respect of educational philosophy, in the Junior School we focus on a discourse of personal development. The total curriculum is driven by Francois Gagné’s differentiated model for transforming giftedness into talent, by positively impacting on those environmental and intrapersonal catalysts which affect the developmental process of informal and formal learning and practising. Personal development is as much about building character as it is about exercising IQ. EQ out predicts IQ by a factor of two when it comes to success in life after school.

"In the senior school, we see the individual student as becoming more independent, as an agent involved in his own learning, and our programs are built around the discourse of academic achievement. In addition to the structured transformation of gifts into talents, we add Albert Ziegler’s Actiotope Model of giftedness development. An actiotope is an action system that encompasses both the individual and the surrounding environment – each modifying the other. Achieving excellence for senior boys comes as a result of their self-organisation and self-adaptation within a highly complex system of teaching, learning and socialising. They affect it as much as it affects them. Senior school learning is a mutually sustaining actiotope comprising teachers, students, parents and peer groups. It’s a culture of co-evolution that we are keen to create.

"This structured development of learning and practice, seen through the lens of educational theory, helps to transforms gifts in the intellectual, creative, socio-affective and sensorimotor domains, into systematically developed skills, in the fields of: academics, the Arts, business, leisure, social action, sports and technology.

"Our approach to personal development - helping boys ‘to become’- is integrated by the IPEC model and involves every program we have in the school. We have subject acceleration as a key feature of our gifted education policy, along with competitions, debating, performance music, chess, leadership, social justice and community service. We have a wide array of electives, including film making, game design and online learning.

"We are planning to commence construction of our major project – a joint building comprising a tiered theatre and examination centre with SGHS – during 2018. I urge you to contribute to the Sydney High School Building Fund. Your sons will benefit directly in a couple of years from the fund raising efforts of past and current parents. Your generosity will also become a legacy for future cohorts of High boys to enjoy. We are seeking your commitment to the school today by paying in full the contributions, levies and tax deductible donations and receiving the Orientation Day discount listed on the total invoice.

"I extend a warm welcome to you all. High is an exciting and challenging place in which to work and learn."
Dr K A Jaggar

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