High Notes, Vol 22 No 29, September 17 2021

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From the Principal

End of Term 3

During another challenging term I have been very impressed by the professionalism and dedication of staff, most of whom have been working from home for an extended period of time. They have upskilled in the technological applications required for remote learning. They have adapted their programming and practice to accommodate the moving goal posts of the HSC examinations. They have interacted intensively with students via video conferencing, email, phone and text. The stresses have been great, but everyone has come through successfully. Thank you all for a very productive term.

Replacement Pontoon

Our new pontoon will be delivered and installed within 7 days. This will come as great news to all rowers and their families. Thanks to the Sydney High School Foundation’s sinking fund, money for the replacement has been set aside for financing this project – another great reason to pay your annual Building Fund contribution. 

Our rowing staff have had to work with only one pontoon since January 2019, so this new pontoon will help to rebuild the depth of our rowing program. Our warm thanks go to Alex Feldman (SHS-2003) for his patient and meticulous management of what was a very complex and time-consuming project.

Science Demountable Update

Final drawings have been approved and tenders for construction and installation will be called soon. The work- flow plan has a timeline of occupancy by late January 2022. In the interests of mutual protection, COVID-Safe construction practices in schools require a separate compound for the workers, so that they do not interact with anyone on the site. As a consequence, the contractors will need their own entrance and cordoned off construction site. This will mean Gate 9 will be out of action for most of Term 4, as will the Killip Wing exit nearest Gate 9. Sections of the roadway and playground will be enclosed for the work site.

Returning on Site in October-November

Year 12 students have had a chance to book appointments to receive Pfizer vaccinations. Now 12–15-year-olds can book in. All staff on site will need to be double vaccinated. Our strong expectation is that nobody comes on site without double vaccination by 8 November. Mask wearing will be compulsory indoors and out. Cohort separation will be required. Our start and finish times will be staggered. Parents will be directed through Gate 2 and down onto The Flat to pick up and drop off students, then will be asked to exit via Gate 3 and turn left on Cleveland Street.

External Validation Report to P & C / School Council on 13-14.9.21

A successful external validation process was completed. Evaluators were impressed by many of the policies, processes and opportunities offered at High. Our self-assessment on all elements was confirmed, although the assessors felt that we were quite hard on ourselves in some elements. There were three groups of elements assessed against the School Excellence Framework - Learning, Teaching and Leading.

In the Learning Elements of the School Excellence Framework, we were ‘excelling’ in wellbeing and curriculum.  In the elements of learning culture, assessment, reporting and student performance measures, we were self-rated as ‘sustaining and growing!  In the Teaching Elements, we judged ourselves to be ‘sustaining and growing’ in effective classroom practices; data skills use; professional standards and learning and development. In the Leading Elements we were confirmed as ‘excelling’ in educational leadership; school planning, implementation and reporting; and school resources.  Our management practices were rated as sustaining and growing. For each of the elements, the senior executive team developed a series of actions that would be necessary in order for our school to move from ‘sustaining and growing’ to ‘excelling’ or where we excelled, steps that would be necessary for us to maintain that rating. We have established a blueprint for action for the next four years so that we can maintain a trajectory of continuous improvement so that more of our elements will be rated as ‘excelling’ in the next external validation in 2025. The process was worth doing to make sure that we reflect critically on our own practice from time to time and devise strategies for improvement.  The objective always is to structure conditions of teaching and learning that will result in better outcomes for our students.

Last week we also had a ‘deep dive’ into the NAPLAN results for the school for Year 7 and 9.  We are formulating action plans at the school, faculty, year cohort, class and individual level.  We need to tackle weaknesses in writing in particular.  More of what we intend to do will be published during Term 4.
Dr K A Jaggar

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