High Notes, Vol 21 No 28, September 04 2020

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From the Principal

Purchase of Replacement School Bus

This week I signed a contract for the purchase of a second hand 51-seat Yutong bus. The P & C manages a sinking fund for buses. From the net proceeds of the School Canteen operations, each year $15,000 is invested to build up an amount for financing future bus purchases. The scheme was introduced many years ago by Geoff Andrews and it has helped finance the acquisition of the Higer Bus which replaced the Toyota Coaster, the 12-seat commuter bus and the previous 57-seat Mann bus.  Over the years, the costs of hiring buses to transport our students to their many commitments have risen markedly. Each week in summer, students are transported to rowing and sailing. Students travel around the city and intrastate for sporting events such as basketball, cricket and tennis knockouts, rowing regattas, debates and interschool visits. The convenience and safety of school-provided transport are important to us in maintaining the very high level of participation in co-curricular activities that our school has. We hope that this acquisition, a late model automatic with low kilometres on the clock, will serve the school for >10 years, as did the Mann bus before it. To lease an equivalent bus would cost c$35,000 per annum.

I want to thank the P & C for its contribution of $125,000 towards the purchase price of this much-needed vehicle and I hope the sinking fund scheme will be maintained in the future to fund our future transport needs as our other vehicles reach their end of life. Mr Marcos (HT Sport) has invested a great deal of time and effort during the last few months researching the bus market and negotiating with vendors. I want to thank him for his role in setting up this important purchase in what has been a  challenging year.

Recommencement of GPS Sport

I want to place on the record my thanks to Nigel Price, Executive Officer, and Mark Ticehurst, Chairman, for the huge amount of work they did last week during two days of tense negotiations with the Department of Health about the resumption of a full round of AAGPS fixtures last Saturday. There were many text messages, emails and phone calls to the offices of Ministers pleading our case. We had to reach an understanding about regions and make concessions in regard to splitting venues and limiting numbers. One of our strongest arguments was that compared to community sport, GPS sport was managed more tightly in terms of COVID-19 infection prevention. We have a track record of running events without spectators and investing in live streaming to facilitate a remote experience for family and friends interested in the GPS Association fixtures. The weekend’s round was a good start – most boys got a game or participated in their sport. So long as parents abide by the ‘drop and go’ policy and are not seen to be loitering around venues or ignoring requests not to try and stay to spectate, our chances are improved in our quest to continue playing competition sport. Our focus is firmly on providing sporting experiences for our Year 12 students in their last few weeks of school. I ask for your cooperation in making this outcome possible.

Technology Upgrades

The School provides student charging stations to support our BYOD policy. Laptops can be inserted into the 15-capacity machines and can be left charging securely. The service is entirely free. Due to the high demand for the rack located in the MacDonald Wing corridor, this week another station was installed in the corridor at the foot of the Andrews Library stairs in Killip Wing. Up to 30 students can now charge their laptops simultaneously. Another upgrade was made to the Boardroom. It now is equipped with a very large screen, camera and sound system coming up through the middle of the table. The wall infrastructure was obscured by two low and narrow mahogany cupboards. The Sydney High School Foundation Building Fund supplied the $19k needed for the project. We can now host hybrid meetings with people around the table and also on the big screen via Zoom.

Mr Dowdell’s Position Advertised

Although not an advocate of the ‘long goodbye’, Mr Dowdell, as ever, has put the needs of the school uppermost in his professional behaviour. In order for the timetable preparation to be accurate in Term 4, he has put in his separation papers early, thereby allowing his position to be advertised. His last day on duty will be January 27, 2021 but his last day of service will be in May 2021. Applications for the DP position close on 16 September. I will have more to say about Bob’s twenty years as Deputy Principal at High in the months to come but thank him now for this gesture. It will help planning for 2021 considerably, knowing the composition of the Senior Executive by the beginning of Term 4.
Dr K A Jaggar

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