High Notes, Vol 20 No 35, November 08 2019

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to Matthew Ko (10R) and Neel Pradhan (10M) who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in NSW, in the ASX Schools Share Market Game 2, 2019. Well done to Tian Yang (7E) who won a medal for the highest score in NSW in the ICAS Science Competition. Agustin Palais (11M), placed second in Spanish at the

Open High School. Good job, Agustin! Congratulations to the 51 Year 12 students who played two or more GPS sports every year that they were at High. These students were at the centre of our core values that recognise and laud the scholar-sportsmen who, traditionally, have made our school what it is.

Active Kids Vouchers

In response to the NSW Government’s ‘Active Kids’ initiative to give parents vouchers to spend on sporting activities for their children, the SBHS P & C Association has become a registered provider. This means that if parents cannot use their vouchers for other sports because there is no non-school provider associated with their sport, they can use it with the P & C’s ‘Active Sport and Fitness Training Club’ membership. Ten weeks of training on Monday and Tuesday afternoons will be provided in return for the voucher. For more information contact the P & C or go P & C on the Parent Portal for registration details.

MICs of sports will be providing information to participants in their respective sports on their plans for parents to access their ‘Active Kids’ vouchers. Where sports include in their programs, camps with registered external providers, or where external coaches provide coaching services not paid for by the school, opportunities may exist for parents to use their Active Kids vouchers.

Interpreting Year 11 Reports - Semester 2

All students in Year 11 should now have their reports. Here are some notes on how to interpret this report:

Teachers 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. Means and standard deviations are derived from our HSC results from the previous year and applied to our results in the current year. A scaled score out of 50 is calculated for each course on a one-unit basis. Where candidatures are very small – eg visual arts and LOTE- we use historical results in that course in our school to calculate the mean and standard deviation to be applied to this year’s results.

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, to inform their subsequent choices.

Next April, the estimate process will be moderated against the 2019 HSC results and calculated for the best ten units for each student. At this stage of the year, every Year 11 student faces a choice, some have more choices to make than others.

Will I do 12 units, 11, ten or less? For those students who have a guaranteed entrance into Extension 2 mathematics, they can drop two courses immediately (Extension English and a 2-unit course) and still have ten units to present at the HSC. Students who really want to exit a course and have made the rank 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. Acceleration students have a choice to reduce their load to 8 units if they believe their HSC marks for their chosen course are high enough. Students qualifying and 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. Others want to be rid of a weak course and explore choosing others – e.g. picking up one or two-unit studies of religion, or taking an extension unit in history, music or LOTE.

Students I speak to when discussing their reports are thoughtful about their strengths and weaknesses and mindful of their preferred tertiary options. Pragmatism often informs their decisions. At this important time, future tertiary intentions are important considerations. Choices are made to maximise enjoyment, ATAR ranks or both. I hope all Year 11 students choose sagely.

Tell Them from Me Parent Survey

Thank you to all the parents who responded to our survey this year. Satisfaction with the school communication was 84%. PEWCC skills development was recognised as beneficial by 76% and 62% expressed support for our three training sessions for A & B teams’ sports policy. Regrettably, less than 10% of parents took up the invitation to have their say about various aspects of school life. Nevertheless, with 113 responses we have a representative sample of parental opinion. The senior executive team read through and discussed all the comments offered by respondents.

We feel that valuable suggestions were offered. These will inform our future planning. The two school added questions allowed in the survey targeted the effectiveness of communication between the school and parents and the level and adequacy of school support for students. The three most popular modes of communication were – emails, school newsletters and the school website. Many parents wanted to email teachers directly. Teachers have a right not to supply emails to parents but parents can always email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,edu.au and refer the matter – attention, Ms X or Mr Y. Parents were attached to parent–teacher nights and very disappointed if teachers were unavailable on the evening. Again, initial contact after the event can be set up through the school email account.

Generally, parents were happy with the level of support for their sons. However, they wanted a longer transition period for newly arriving students and an early intervention by email if their sons were falling behind in their work. Thank you to all respondents. Your comments, both positive and negative, are welcome. We need parental feedback to help us improve our policies and practices.
Dr K A Jaggar

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