High Notes, Vol 19 No 12, May 04 2018

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From the Principal

Welcome back to Term 2

I trust everyone had a relaxing and safe term break. Staff changes for the beginning of Term 2. Angie Ward has returned in Mathematics (Emily Stephens and Matthew Kwong were appointed to permanent positions). Bonnie Colignon returns to Visual Arts part time from maternity leave. Anna Barry returns part time in English sharing with Ceridwen Lee. Xannon Shirley continues in history while Rhiannon Davis is on leave. We look forward to a term dominated by assessment and reporting for all years. We rely on collaborative effort to achieve these tasks effectively and efficiently while maintaining high quality teaching and learning.

High Talent

Congratulations to Alexander De Araujo (12R) who gained selection in the NSW schools Debating Team. Well done also to Eoin Fitzgerald (10R) on his selection into the NSW U16 basketball team. Great job, boys!

Staff Development Day - Monday 30 April

Members of the Quality Teaching Team spent the first session of the day presenting to staff in plenary session and in workshop mode, practical applications of thinking routines designed to engage and stimulate students. Some routines covered included: zoom in, tug of war, chalk-talk, claim- support- question, sentence-phrase-word, ideas explosion, think-puzzle-explore and circle of viewpoints. Our objective is to embed thinking routines into all stage 4 and 5 programs.  The next session was managed by Dr Tanya Vaughan from Social Ventures Australia. She is connected to AITSL and the Learning Toolkit – a national strategy to improve teaching and learning by focussing on strategies proven by research to be effective. Our focus was on feedback, metacognition and self-regulation. Feedback was explored as a concept and in its practical applications. Feedback is successful to the extent that the student acts on the feedback offered. It is critical that the teacher and student share a high trust environment otherwise the acceptance and implementation of the feedback will be impaired or negated. Metacognition is addressed partly by the thinking routines and partly by explicit teaching of PEWCC skills. Self-regulation is a constant preoccupation of teachers – how do we get boys to take responsibility for their learning? How do we encourage boys to organise their lives to achieve maximum outcomes? We are aware of the need to focus on improvement at the level of the individual student.

The School Plan 2018-2020 – Part 3

We are sensitive to the need to teach our students ‘future focussed learning skills for life’. We need to develop both their cognitive and conative capacities. We have identified the use of ‘thinking routines’ as processes integrated into our lesson delivery as an effective means of achieving both objectives. We want to achieve higher rates of engagement, assessed as the proportion of boys engaged in active learning, alongside the length of time they stay engaged in any one lesson. Our teachers are incorporating explicit teaching of PEWCC skills in their programs and learning how to assess them better for bi-annual reporting to parents. We aim to build greater ‘grit’ in our boys so that they will persevere more intensely and for a greater length of time, on tasks set for them inside and outside their classroom settings.

Our intention is to make the progress explicit by a before-and-after comparison of our boys’ skills in Year 7 and then again in Year 9. We expect significant progress along the continuum in each skill area. Progress will inevitably be uneven, as the skill development for each individual progresses. To learn more about the continuum go to: www.sydneyboyshigh.com/curriculum/PEWCC reporting. Some strategies planned are: Staff Development Days and Twilight Meetings focussing on skills for life; increased collaboration of staff among Faculties through the cooperative work of the Quality Teaching Team and PLEs; each faculty focussing on a single PEWCC skill per semester; lesson observations targeting the teaching standards; and in-house sharing by faculties on how they assess and report on PEWCC skills.

Funds Held in Trust for the benefit of High boys    

The Sydney High School Foundation holds funds in trust for the benefit of the school. The SHS Advancement Fund enables tax deductible donations to be made for the purposes of school buildings, scholarships and student support by way of bursaries. Audited accounts for the Foundation show that as of December, 2017 there were the following balances held by the Foundation: $111,362 for the Ethel Killip Memorial Fund; $111,256 for Prizes; $90,414 for the Phil Day Memorial Scholarship Fund; $55,084 for the Student Support Fund and $8,380 for the Mitchell Seow Memorial Prize. In total, SHSF manages $376,496 in funds for the school. Usually, half of the interest earned on these funds is donated to the School for uses as determined by the Fund Deeds. However, due to a sustained period very low interest rates, interest has been retained 2014-18, in the interests of maintaining the real capital value of the funds. The Seow Fund is a specific prize commemorating the sudden death from unknown causes of a much-loved student who had just completed his HSC. The Student Support Fund supplements the DoE Student Equity Funds with direct financial help to students in necessitous circumstances. The Phil Day Memorial funds an annual scholarship, worth $1,500, in memory of an Old Boy and long serving teacher, Head Teacher and Swimming MIC. The Prizes Fund helps to pay for some of the $32,000 worth of prizes awarded each year to students. The Ethel Killip Memorial Fund pays for the replacement and upkeep of honour boards, memorabilia of Old Boys, photographs on walls and the school artworks collection. The Ethel Killip Memorial Fund purchased >$30k (2014-17) of indigenous artworks for our collection in McDonald Wing.

We are always seeking donations for any of these fund purposes. If you would like to help, contact High’s Development Office on 96629330 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Dr K A Jaggar

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