High Notes, Vol 19 No 40, December 14 2018

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From the Principal

Final High Notes for 2018

In introducing our final High Notes edition for 2018, I would like to thank all the contributors – staff, students, parents and Old Boys who share information about the activities of our students with the wider school community. It takes considerable effort to produce this publication every week. To do that, editors Meredith Thomas and Dave Te Rata, spend hours collating, formatting, editing and printing High Notes. Thank you also to Brooke Ashton who proofreads the document before publication. We try to make it informative and accurate.

High Talent

Congratulations to Andrew Chang (11T) who is accelerating in music 2 and who has been invited to perform at Encore – a great achievement!

Competitions Policy

SBHS wants to give students an opportunity to compare themselves in academic-style competitions to the rest of Australia. Competing in a broader pool allows students to shine who may be overshadowed in the narrower context of our school. It has been school policy to enter all students automatically in competitions run by ICAS- International Competitions and Assessments,

managed by UNSW Global. From next year, ICAS is changing its directions and steeply increasing charges. As the school spends >$65k annually on competition entries, without invoicing students for their entries, we need to get value for money when directing funds as a gifted and talented intervention. From 2019, Head Teachers will decide which competitions are worthwhile entering. Also, as some students currently do not take participation in some or all of their competition opportunities seriously, we would rather not make participation assumed for everyone. Consequently, entries into approved competitions will be voluntary from 2019. Students will need to ‘opt in’ to have the opportunity of testing their skills. Entries will not be just made in bulk as previously, but rather ordered on a needs basis. Whilst this is messier administratively, it is also a more effective use of scarce resources for meeting the needs of our students.

Collection of Reports

All boys should have collected their reports. Regrettably, there are still boys who have not fulfilled their commitments, completed their Clearance Forms and booked an appointment time to see me to discuss their progress at school. This is an important step in our feedback loop and I insist on speaking to boys personally. Boys can come and get their reports before or after school and at lunch or recess on most days, unless I have appointments or have already set aside a time to chat with boys about their reports. There are also sheets provided for ‘Stragglers’ Reports’ for an hour or so on selected days. Boys just need to make an effort to comply with policy, and come and see me. Once I have had a short feedback session with each boy, his report is loaded online against his personal file on Find a Student. Appointments can be made in the new school year by filling in one of the sheets on the Waterhouse desk in the corridor or just drop by before school, recess and at lunch (except Tuesdays). The benefits of my interactions with boys lessen if the discussion is too far removed from the assessment events being discussed.

Interpreting Year 10 Reports – Semester 2

All Year 10 boys should now have their reports. Parents are advised to work with their sons in the process of choosing Year 11 courses. Choosing courses for Year 11 study can be assisted by evaluations of Year 10 performances. English and mathematics courses are determined by the school’s pattern of offered courses and by the results of the mathematics selection process for extension 1. Year 10 boys should have done their Career Voyage questionnaire during their Transition Education periods. These results should be discussed in the light of your son’s interests and abilities. Courses can be selected to underscore certain tertiary directions – eg chemistry for medicine, or economics for a commerce degree.

As for the semester 1 report, ranks are varied by several factors. Students who have not performed well in PE will have a reduced ATAR prediction because the calculation is made on 12.6 units (using a pro rata for PE based on time spent). Students who do online elective receive the average of the other units so as not to advantage nor disadvantage them, whereas they may have taken another elective and earned an above average score. Students accelerating have a harder task than non-accelerants as they are assessed at stage 6 standard. Students may also lose interest in electives they are not continuing and record weaker results. Electives done for enjoyment are in contrast to the serious efforts that will need to be made in their stage 6 courses.
Dr K A Jaggar

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