High Notes, Vol 19 No 34, November 02 2018

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From the Principal

High Talent

Aryan Jani (11F) was selected to participate in the New South Wales Schools Constitutional Convention at Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney. Quite an honour, Aryan!

Printers and Photocopiers

Our printers and photocopiers are being upgraded. Our lease on our school wide printing and copying equipment expired, consequently, all our machines are being replaced with new ones. The functionality of the machines at every location is to be enhanced. Teachers will have a wide range of formats in which to publish material or create resources for our students.

Harassment or Bullying

Students and their parents should be aware that the school has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on homophobic harassment, sexist or racist slurs, bullying or teasing. At High we are proudly anti-discriminatory. This year, our Anti-Bullying team have developed a solid policy on what victims, ‘upstanders’ and teachers can do to combat bullying and reduce bullying behaviours in our school. There is a quick reference guide - ‘Responding to bullying at Sydney Boys High’ - posted in every classroom. No individual should be discriminated against by virtue of his sexual identity, race, religion, philosophical or political views or cultural custom. We promote ourselves as a band of academic brothers and must put our actions where our words are. Students who discriminate against others, verbally, physically, in writing, on social media, or online, can expect strong negative consequences. Any defence based on the idea that teenage discourse customarily encompasses the use of homophobic language to the extent that it has lost its original meaning, will be disregarded. The essence of the problem is in repetition of discriminatory words or phrases and multiple perpetrators repeating them. Perpetrators and victims will engage in a restorative mediation process called, ‘The Method of Shared Concern’. ‘Upstanders’ will be acknowledged by the Deputy Principal, Junior School.  Reasoned argument, measured discourse and healthy debate are good for organisations. However, there is no place for harassment, discriminatory comments or racial or religious denigration or taunts. It starts with the way we speak – our tone and choice of words. Let’s all be more respectful towards one another!

Interpreting Year 11 Reports – Semester 2

Teacher record individual marks for courses and these are run against an ATAR predictor program. All the raw marks are converted into scaled marks per unit. In the iterative scaling process, students’ marks in one course are compared against all the other students who completed the same course and against their performances in their other courses. The data we use are last year’s HSC results for High. The essential comparative assumption is that boys will perform at the same standard this year as they did last year. A scaled score out of 50 is calculated for each course on a one-unit basis. We use all 12 Preliminary Units to calculate our ATAR estimate for two reasons. First, we would like students to receive a realistic appraisal of their progress in state terms as well as relative to their peers at High. Second, we want them to know their relative performance in each of their courses. This year the ATAR estimates for physics and chemistry are elevated due to the outstanding results in those two courses at the 2017 HSC. These results may not be replicated by this year’s cohort. In April, the estimate process will be moderated against the 2018 HCC results.

At this stage of the year, every Year 11 student faces a choice, some have more choices than others. Will I do 12 units, 11 or ten or less? For those students who have a guaranteed entrance into Extension 2 mathematics because they sat the 2-unit HSC Mathematics, they can drop two courses immediately (Extension English and a 2-unit course) and still have ten to present at the HSC. Students who really want to exit a course and are likely to make the rank 164 cut –off for extension 1 mathematics, can keep their Extension English and drop a course. Most accelerants remain doing ten units until their HSC results in the acceleration course are published. Some students commit to three units each of English and mathematics and discontinue their weakest course. Students choosing to do four units of English can drop one course. High performing students tend to use acceleration results as insurance and do ten units for the HSC anyway. Generally speaking, students I speak to when discussing reports are thoughtful about their strengths and weaknesses and mindful of their preferred tertiary options. Pragmatism often informs their decisions. I hope all Year 11 students choose sagely.
Dr K A Jaggar

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