High Notes, Vol 21 No 8, March 20 2020

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From the Principal

High Talent

Commiserations to our first-grade tennis team, beaten only by the weather to finish second to King’s despite being one set up in each of the doubles against them before rain ended play. Kings didn’t play the strong Scots team and halved the points, while High halved the points with Joeys, where a 9-0 result was expected. Consequently, Kings finished two points ahead on the table. Congratulations to our second-grade tennis team who were GPS premiers, even after having to supply a player to first grade for most of the season after Stepan Sytnyk broke his hand early in the competition. Well done Dean Casarotto (11T), Blair Zong (11E) Lawrence Zhuang (11T) Julian Zheng-Lin (11E), Ronald Lim (11E,) Jo Kawahashi (10E) and Harry Lao (9M). Everyone stepped up, showing the depth of our tennis program.

In the last first grade basketball game of the GPS season, Adam Gordon (12T) set a school record for rebounds (27) and was second in productivity (52) to an all-time record of 58.8 set by current Sydney Kings player, Craig Moller. Eoin Fitz-Gerald (12R) and Kwabena Brefo (12M) were judged MVPs in a strong season for High as equal second in the GPS competition. Congratulations to Oliver Yang (12T) and Billy Nguyen (11M) who were selected into the NSW CHS Volleyball team to play CIS and CCC.

At the shortened Head of the River program this week, our first VIII improved 55 seconds on their first regatta effort to post a time of 6.39.06, which was 9.33% off the winner’s time by Scots. The second VIII finished in 6.56.01 which was 12.11% away from the winner’s time. It was very pleasing to see High competitors in the first three fours’ races – the first time since 2010. The live streaming facility made it possible for a wide audience to watch the event, despite no spectators being at the course due to COVID-19 restrictions.

COVID-19 Update

Current advice is available on our website which is updated as new information is received. As at the time of writing, the school is still operational. We are preparing strongly for the possibility of school closures and a move to home-based online learning. Staff will be relying on the capabilities of CANVAS as a learning management system. Supplementary platforms such as Google Meet are being trialled. Staff were trained on Tuesday afternoon in the asynchronous and synchronous delivery tools for CANVAS. We are endeavouring to establish if any staff or students are without internet connection and at present unable to access our online learning platforms. We have a plan to bridge the technology gap where necessary. On Wednesday Faculty Leads were given hands on training in CANVAS tools by our CANVAS Coordinator, Brett Jackson. On Friday, faculty meetings will finalise preparations for an online learning future. Rather than run full cohort trials, we are asking staff to try to include absent students in their real time lessons by logging on during classes. Our skill levels will grow with practice during lessons.

We are practising social distancing where possible in the libraries and in training sessions and cancelling a range of events, competitions, sports, meetings, assemblies and gatherings, in the interests of public health. We have supplied additional hand sanitising stations and are replenishing soap dispenser in toilets daily. We have stock on order, thanks to the generous donation of money by parents. However, the supply chain has blockages and delivery time is uncertain. Donations of product have helped keep our front office sanitised. The wider High community is demonstrating its connectedness to school life through rallying around to move out of our comfort zone and adapt to new ways of doing things for the wellbeing of our students.

Tell Them From Me Survey

The online survey of student opinions about school life has opened. I encourage parents to talk to their sons about the importance of using an opportunity to express their views and influence possible change. The survey gives students a voice in our development of policies and processes. It is very simple to access and easy to complete. This year there are several questions designed specifically for our school. The survey has been extended, due to the disruptions occurring from COVID-19 and will now close on May 29.

Cars Travelling On School Grounds   

There is a very high volume of traffic before and after school of late as parents drive to and from school. Parents and visitors to the school are reminded that they must travel at a safe speed (10KMphr) whilst in the school grounds. When entering from Cleveland Street by Gate 2 they should park rear to the buildings or tennis courts. Parents are asked NOT to travel up Cutler Drive in the mornings. Staff use that driveway from the east. The designated area for drop off is between Gates 1 and 2. Parents and visitors should avoid using the Anzac Parade entrances to drop off their sons. If they have to come that way they should come into the carpark before dropping off as halting in or near the gates blocks other traffic. They should then proceed to exit by Gate 10.  Additional signage has been purchased and will be installed shortly, to demonstrate to drivers where not to go.

Three-point turns in the bus bay area at the end of the gymnasium have posed serious risks to students coming up from The Flat, walking beside the Great Hall and the buses or walking along the path next to the tennis courts and coming down the stairs. The bus bay area is not a drop-off point for students. Parents should drive in gate 1, drop off their sons and drive out gate 2, as per school policy. Please be vigilant in the interests of the safety of our boys!
Dr K A Jaggar

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