High Notes, Vol 20 No 3, February 15 2019

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to Thomas McFarland (9E) who was named ‘Junior Lifesaver of the Year’ by Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club. The club was founded in 1907 as the world’s first lifesaving club. At the school swimming carnival, school records were broken by: David Goh (12R) in the 100m butterfly and in both the 100m and 200m freestyle; Eric Holmstrom (12T) in the 400m freestyle; and Jaden Yi (8T) in the U14 50m freestyle. Age champions for this year were: 12 years – Thomas Chen (7S), 13 years -  Brian Ahn (7M), 14 years – Jaden Yi (8T),15 years – Nathan Wang (10R), 16 years – Ike Matsuoka (10M), 17 years – Derek Sae Jong (11T) and 18 years – David Goh (12R). Great job, boys!

The School Plan 2019-20

We are in the middle of our 3-year School Plan. Our first direction involves ‘engagement and meaning’. We are increasing the proportion of skills-based activities in lessons, using thinking routines and framing knowledge acquisition in contestable and problematic schema.

We will be focusing on ‘feedback’ in the Quality Teaching Team to vary and make more impactful, the feedback environment in our classrooms. We are deepening opportunities for students to engage in social justice issues and to relate what they do at school to society as a whole. We are trying to develop emotional and cultural intelligences more directly. We are also keen to lift engagement by having more students take two GPS sports. For example, it is compulsory for school Prefects to take two sports in Years 11 and 12. They are positive role models for others.

We have a goal to ‘light up literacy’. We have taken some initiatives but as yet we have not been able to cut through to staff and students on the vital need to improve student voice and the sophistication, maturity and accuracy of their writing. We will take a more whole school approach this year. Using online resources such as tests from Oxford online learning and Northern Illinois University, we will try to broaden student exposure to accurate spelling, broader vocabulary and clear, grammatically correct expression. We will continue to engage with the DoE’s smart teaching strategies for literacy and writing.

Our third direction is in the development of ‘skills for life’. We are embedding the direct instruction of PEWCC skills into our teaching and learning programs. So far, in Years 7 & 8. We are reporting on the stage of progression in selected skills for each student in each subject in each semester report. Some activities are linking thinking routines and PEWCC skills with tailored assessment tasks. The concept of group work has evolved. We are working to deploy a variety of in-class grouping strategies – think-pair-share, fishbowl, group puzzle and the jigsaw activity – alongside task-based small group investigation, discussion and reporting. We want to increase gradually the number of autonomous, independent online learning opportunities for students.

Weights Room

A reminder to all boys who might have weights training as a requirement in their regime for a GPS sport this year. The policy is that there are no term memberships offered for the Weights Room.  There is only one period of time this year during which you can join. Students who restart after absences of a term in the Weights Room have to be retrained by Kurt when he should be concentrating on adding value to the experience of existing members. Maintaining core strength is a year-round routine. Students requiring memberships should pay $252 by February 28, 2019. No further membership opportunities will be offered after that date.

Cashless Purchasing at High

We are responding to an increasing societal trend towards a cashless economy. We have installed several card readers in the School Canteen. The school uses a system called ‘Flexischools’ to provide student-based payment services including: ‘Tap and Go’ purchase of food and drink from the school canteen using the Student TaG (ID Card), online canteen orders for morning tea or lunch, and purchase of print credit for printing and photocopying at school. Detailed information is available on our website through the Parent Portal.

Our aim is to make transactions easier for students and their parents. I want to thank Mr David Isaacs, our Systems Administrator, for all the research and development work that he put in to make this innovation happen.

Anniversary of the Apology

On 13 February 2008, the Australian Parliament made a formal apology to members of the Stolen Generations. This week we commemorate the 11th anniversary of what was a very significant act of reconciliation on the part of the Commonwealth Government. It was a strong sign to indigenous people that the Government accepted responsibility for the historical consequences of its actions. I regret to say, as a citizen, that I cannot see much evidence that this momentous event has led to a significant improvement in the lives of indigenous Australians.

Early Bird Discount Ends Thursday 28 February

In order to help all areas of the school we offer a substantial discount to parents who pay their complete invoices before February, 28. Having substantial funds early in the year allows us to make sure that orders are made promptly and that the boys get the maximum benefit out of equipment and services deployed for them. Capital contributed to the Building Fund can be invested or directed towards immediate projects – such as the Governors Centre fit out. Our aim is to encourage at least 55% of parents to make this financial commitment to the school early in the year. Please support us as we carry on High’s self-help culture to put our fundraising money to work as soon as possible!
Dr K A Jaggar

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