High Notes, Vol 21 No 23, July 31 2020

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From the Principal

Governors Centre Update

On our site inspection tour this week, we were shown through a building that is nearly watertight. The cladding around the theatre is complete and the foyer side will be finished in the next week or two. The glazing (as in fitted windows) is 90% complete with only the area around the SGHS side stairway left to do, with also an access ramp area left open to take plant and building fit-out equipment into the theatre. The operable wall frame has been fitted into the examination/classroom and all the ceiling wiring run through. The toilets and green room are taking shape and the air-conditioning plant has been installed on the mezzanine floor. The lift is partially installed. The Project Control Group this week instructed that two stages of the audio-visual equipment for the classroom / examination room and the theatre for the contractor to supply and install. We need to transfer $425,000 from the SBHS Building Fund to complete the contract except for ‘plug and play’ items, white goods and occasional furniture for the foyer. Thank you to the many donors who contributed to our tax-deductible appeal before 30 June. Your years of support and patience will be rewarded before the end of this calendar year.

High Spirit?

I was saddened to discover that many students who were quite capable football players have chosen either not to play for the school or have not played at the level commensurate with their ability. As in life, it is easy to be passionately committed when you are winning. The test of character comes when you are faced with a very difficult challenge - how resilient and passionate are you then? High sprit is our institutional glue of shared tough experiences. We stick together knowing that our chances of success are slight in some sports, but nonetheless play as hard as we can because the challenge is very difficult, because sharing an experience with others builds individual character and because playing sport at our peak is beneficial for us biochemically. It also feels good when we make some progress. The talent we have in the senior cohort needs to be wrangled together to make us more competitive and to preserve the name and traditions of the school in the quest for excellence in a high standard environment which our GPS membership responsibilities dictate. I understand the desire to ‘play with my mates’, but competitive sport is not social sport. You owe it to yourself and to those courageous lads who could really use your help in first and second grade, to reconsider your decision.

Curriculum Audit

I have now completed the curriculum audit that I set myself as a goal for 2020. Our Strategic Plan (2018-2020) focussed on dispositional teaching through embedded ‘thinking routines’ within every program written for classes in Years 7 to 9. We are moving towards having PEWCC skills’ assessment included, too. My task was to read and summarise every program, identify where the ‘thinking routines’ were and provide a short commentary on each program. Every program was compliant in that they had the routines set into the program. Some programs described the implementation process fully. The summaries and my comments were returned to Head Teachers for their consideration. The point of the exercise was to engage every learner at a reflection point in a lesson, where there was no right or wrong answer but there was the need for self-exploration via a stimulus. As a school, we have made substantial progress 2018-2020 in incorporating dispositional teaching into our professional practice.

Parents On Site

Many parents are driving on site to drop off or pick up students. The School is content to facilitate this practice because we all realise the extra time and effort involved for families due to the pandemic. Notwithstanding that this is a voluntary gesture by the School, it does not confer visitation rights on parents, as these would be contrary to Department of Health COVID-19 regulations. Non-essential visits by outside adults are not permitted in schools during social distancing regulations and visitors’ registration requirements. Parents coming on site need to remain in their vehicles at all times. My staff have spoken to multiple parents who have been wandering around in the car park or using toilets in the UTS Gymnasium and even the boys’ toilets underneath the Great Hall. In the event of an incident, we would not know who you are or how to contact-trace you. If you really need to go to the toilet, come to the front office and follow the instructions for visitors. Once signed in we can assist you with access to a staff toilet. Your cooperation in keeping us all safe is requested again.

Traffic Flow Assistance

After trialling the assistance of parking attendants for two weeks, we have been able to establish that our assistance is only required on Tuesday afternoons. Mornings are now working well, and traffic flow attendants will be withdrawn from next Monday. We closed gate 2 entry on Tuesday and the backlog of vehicle was cleared within 10 minutes after the 3:15 bell. Our intention is to adopt this method each Tuesday for another couple of weeks. By closing gate 2 entry after 3:10 and by by diverting cars after 3:10 to the Junior Quad and Cutler Drive, we can free up congestion around the gate 2 exits. This worked well this week, speeding up the flow of exiting traffic. Be assured we are doing all we can to assist in the timely exit of all parents’ cars from the site in the afternoons.
Dr K A Jaggar

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