High Notes, Vol 21 No 2, February 07 2020

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From the Principal

Novel Coronavirus

The first full week of school has run smoothly thanks to the professionalism of our teaching and support staff and the impressive cooperation of our families. In an evolving epidemic context, government responses will be updated to meet the growth of the number of cases in our society. My heartfelt thanks are extended to the >60 families who put community safety concerns about their own self-interest and self-quarantined for the 14-day period required. Students in quarantine have access to as much online learning as possible. Joanna Chan, HT Wellbeing, and her team of 12 Year Advisers are reaching out to those students who are unable to return to school yet. I was proud of the way our school community responded to this threat to public health.

Fantastic Fundraising

Last year we had many projects in the pipeline – the Governors Centre, the basketball court backboard replacements, the Killip Wing power upgrade, the air conditioning of rooms, the ICT upgrade of teaching spaces with multiple whiteboards, smart projectors and the Bursary Program. Overall, parents donated $576,154 to help make High a better place. Our Old boys contributed $749,388. We enjoy outstanding support from our community in our quest to pursue excellence in all our endeavours. Thank you so much for your generosity and commitment in what was an unprecedented year for financial support.

Early Bird Discounts

For much of what we do, High is a self-help, self-funded school. It costs more because we do more! In order to help maintain all areas of the school we offer a substantial discount to parents who pay all their invoices in full before Friday, February, 28. It is not only a great demonstration by them of their commitment to the ethos of the school but also it’s an encouragement for others to follow their lead and it helps to create a critical mass of financial support for our programs. The annual cash contribution by the DOE finances less than one quarter of our co-curricular programs at High. The rest comes from the support of parents and the efforts made by School family volunteers, helping in fund raising. Having substantial funds early in the year allows us to make sure that capital works are completed in the holidays, orders are made promptly and that the boys get the maximum benefit out of equipment and services deployed for them this year.  Quality services, extra staff and high standards come at a price. A very large number of parents see the package as value for money and contribute in full.

The early bird discount is available for students who were invoiced in 2020 and doesn’t apply to students who were invoiced in October 2019 and subsequently came to Orientation Day in November and had the opportunity to pay everything on the day and obtain the discount.  Year 7, 8, 9 or 11 boys who were not made offers before Orientation Day are eligible for the discount. Students in Years 8-12 have the chance to make a saving by paying in full by Friday, February 28. 

Last year, more than half of our families saw the benefit of supporting the school in all of its activities early in the year and thereby earned the discount. Together they saved > $140,000. I thank them sincerely for their support. Let’s carry on High’s self-help culture to make sure we achieve our goals for your sons in 2020 and beyond!

Traffic Movement on School Grounds

Staff members complain quite often that car spaces in the Cleveland Street car parking area are unavailable in the mornings due to parents occupying the spaces waiting in their cars or blocking access to spaces. School policy is that parents are asked to enter from Cleveland St. via gate one and drop off boys at the end of the tennis courts and then proceed out through gate two. Cars driving through the car park and doing three-point turns near the bus bay and driving out again cause congestion and can prove hazardous to pedestrian traffic through the area. The safety of our students is paramount. Parents are asked to try to stay out of the car park area around the gym and to observe school policy concerning dropping off students.

Welcome to Year 7 Assembly, 2020

Reprinted below is my speech to the combined Welcome to Year 7 and summer sports assembly

"On behalf of everyone in our High community – teachers, support staff, IT staff, groundsmen, cleaners, coaches, Old Boys and volunteer parents - I extend a warm welcome to all new students this morning. We celebrate renewal each year by clapping in our Year 7 students and look forward to clapping Year 12 students out as young men in 2025, at our farewell assembly. We acknowledge and recognise your previous academic success, earning you a coveted place at High. You were offered enrolment after a rigorous ability test. We understand that each one of you is an academically gifted individual with a unique suite of natural abilities, skills and interests. Our task is to mould these abilities, interests and skills into talented performances, in several areas of school life.

"To the new students joining us in Years 8, 9 and 11, I offer you a special welcome from the High family. You were selected because of your all-round achievements in secondary school so far. You have demonstrated talent in a variety of activities or excellence in one and competence in others. We welcome you and expect you will grow as people and add value to the High culture. You have a great opportunity to establish yourselves at our school by getting involved quickly in the co-curricular program. I urge you not to waste time waiting and watching. You need to grasp every opportunity. Get organised and be prepared to work really hard. Set yourself incremental academic goals and strive to achieve them. Focus on your own academic growth. Many people are ready to help you. We have a school-wide BYOD policy. Information and communication technology is integrated into the daily life of our school. Use your device and your researching privileges responsibly. Master the possibilities of the CANVAS system. Look after the security of your device. Our IT Centre is where you can go for help.

"Our teachers will be endeavouring to work closely with you to find out more about your preferred learning styles and individual needs. We will be trying to improve your learning. We will be fussy about focus in order to get more out of each lesson. We will need you to pay attention in class, take notes and participate positively in activities. We need you to discipline yourself to stay on task. We want you to relate respectfully to everyone at all times. We will expect excellence from you, not just adequate work. We care about compliance – do all the work that is set for you. Our teachers will concentrate on consistency in completing tasks in class and at home to the required standard. We are dedicated trustees of our reputation and success at High. Together, if we work hard and help each other, we can maintain and enhance our excellent outcomes.

"I expect that you will all adopt our all-rounder culture and take advantage of activities at High.  We want you to work hard, train hard and play hard. We will also expect you to give some of your time and effort back into school and community service. I expect all students to involve themselves in co-curricular activities - the Student Awards Scheme identifies the main ones available. Sport is a very important part of life at High. Our traditional involvement in GPS and CHS competitions makes us unique.

"Sport training is offered at High on at least two afternoons. Membership of our weights room is excellent value for money. My strong expectation is that you will play competition sports on Saturdays. Participating in GPS competition is an integral component of our ethos. We focus on team sports for educational reasons – group cooperation, team building, goal setting, collaboration, time management, grit development, managing loss, resilience and motivation skills – these are most necessary in modern work contexts. We are trying to nurture future earning skills: problem solving and critical thinking, evaluating information, working in teams, communicating ideas and fostering creativity and innovation. You will have an assessment of these skills in various contexts included in your semester reports in the Junior School. For each boy we want to build positive emotions about High, engagement with High programs, respectful relationships with everyone, meaning in all we do and a sense of accomplishment for sustained effort. At school and in class show your teachers, peers, all staff members and volunteers in activities the respect they deserve. Ask them for help. Be responsible for your own learning. The pursuit of excellence is a lifelong discipline. Let’s pursue our goals hard but have fun, too. I wish you all a happy and prosperous experience at High."
Dr K A Jaggar

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