High Notes, Vol 21 No 21, July 03 2020

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From the Principal

End of Term 2

This term was a very busy and stressful one, but it demonstrated to me the professionalism and collaborative disposition of our staff at High. There were many changes in time and space and varying working conditions, with updates every other day from DoE. The resilience, interfaculty cooperation and enterprise exhibited by our teachers, SAS and ground staff, shone through the fog of restrictions on our usual school operations. My congratulations and thanks are extended to you all. Enjoy your break.

Interpreting Semester 1 Reports

Our School Executive made the decision to issue reports by the end of Term 2. The Department of Education has granted leeway of time until August, but we wanted to get back into routine as quickly as possible. A to E grades do not have to be used for this reporting process. We have tried to do as many common assessment tasks as possible in Years 10-12 since we have been back at school this term, but there was not time for this to happen for the Junior School (Years 7-9). We have included comments on learning behaviours moderated by an agreed rubric – consistently, usually, sometimes, rarely, never. We have kept the subject profile assessments – highly developed, well developed, competent, developing and experiencing difficulty. Effort is judged as excellent, very good, good, satisfactory, needs to improve, unsatisfactory. We have removed the written comments of the subject teachers and the Year Advisers. We plan to establish a more responsive and evidence-driven communication protocol in 2021. The Principal’s comment will not be possible this semester, given reports for all years were due on 30 June  and will be available for parents to download from the parent or student portals by the evening of 3 July . As long as there are no further disruptions to our routines, I intend to resume my practice of reading and writing on all reports and having a chat with all students once the yearly reports are published.

Student Awards Scheme for 2020

Due to the disruption to school routines and available activities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Student Awards Scheme has had to be modified. Our rationale is that the equivalent of one term of school time was lost and therefore we are reducing all thresholds by 25%. For this year, the following qualification numbers apply. For bronze and silver awards 96 (v128); for gold awards 108 (v144); for platinum awards, plaques and trophies 120 (v160); and for McDonnell and Coates awards 150 (v200). Active and engaged students build up many points early as credits against future awards. For this year, to qualify to apply accumulated points, a student must earn a minimum of 60 points (for bronze, silver and gold), and 75 points for higher awards. So, Year 11 students aspiring to be elected as School Prefects, need to earn at least 75 points this year and to earn at least a platinum award.

Term 3 drop-off and pick-up arrangements

During Term 2, >100 extra vehicles have been moving in and out of our car park each morning and afternoon. In addition, construction vehicles need to transit the car park to access the Governors Centre site. The School will not be able to continue to supply the services of 4-5 traffic controllers each morning and afternoon in Term 3. We placed dividing barriers to direct traffic flow and painted guidelines on the asphalt to help parents judge where to stop and when to turn to make their exit. We have established routines for traffic flow that have cut down the peak entry and exit times from 30 minutes to fifteen by using the Junior Quad and gate 10 to move cars. Parents are staggering their arrival and pick up times to help ease the congestion. We have been sending SAS staff home at 1505 each afternoon to reduce the volume of traffic at 1515. The cost of these measures is unsustainable for an extended period of time. Students are back in routine. Training on Monday afternoon, sport on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, and chess and debating on Friday, help to stagger the departure times in the afternoons. Drop off availability in Moore Park near the light rail station has assisted some parents.

Students Bringing Credit To The School

I received the following email from a commuter this week. “Just a short email regarding the 3 boys travelling on the train which I joined at Glenfield Station at approx. 4:15 pm this afternoon. They were an absolute credit to themselves and your school – in fact the 3 boys were old school to say the least, they each gave up their seats as soon as adults or other passengers entered the carriage, and were even embarrassed when I congratulated them for doing so, and to top it all off, they were pleasant, polite, well behaved and well-mannered to boot. It was just such a refreshing change, and a pleasure to travel with them that I though the least I could do was to bring this to your attention.”  I want to add my congratulations to those students and their families who believe in doing the right thing, particularly when no one is looking over their shoulder.
Dr K A Jaggar

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