High Notes, Vol 22 No 34, November 05 2021

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to Nicholas Arvanitellis (12T) for his selection into the ANU-AAMT National Mathematics Summer School. It is the oldest and most prestigious program of its type in Australia. Well done also to Joshua Li (7S) who won a gold medal in the Australian Informatics Olympiad (intermedia division). He has been invited to attend the Informatics School of Excellence for a workshop in December.

Restrictions Eased

As from Monday, 8 November, fully vaccinated extra-curricular providers, music tutors and restricted ensembles, chess, debating and coaches will be allowed on site. Some excursions may take place and assemblies outdoors are permitted. Activities must still be separated into cohorts and COVID-safe settings remain in place. Also, volunteers and providers will be allowed on site to support operations – e.g. High Store, Canteen. All adults on site must be fully vaccinated and mask-wearing rules indoors still apply. Measures announced for ventilation, cleaning and ‘cohorting’ remain in place.

Interpreting Year 7 Reports Semester 2

Next week, students in Year 7 will receive their reports from me after a brief chat about their progress. In Year 7, we do not provide ranks to students. We have an Academic Achievement List for high-performing students and a Student Monitoring Register for students performing below expected standards. We try to let students settle in and find their feet before making too many outcomes’ comparisons. We ask that you check your son’s progress in future-oriented earning skills – problem solving, evaluating, working with others, communicating ideas, creating and innovating. Some of these are reported each year in their own text box on the school reports. Faculties have an opportunity to report at least twice on one or more of the five ‘earning skills’ during the six reporting periods during Years 7-9. These skills will be needed in jobs of the future. You can understand more deeply about how your son is building his capacity in the discrete dispositions that we have targeted for development as a school. The idea is that you can track your son’s growth over his three years in the Junior School. These PEWCC skills are very contextual. Hypothetically, your son might be really good at ’working with others in English’ where he is confident and comfortable, but not so effective in mathematics where he is weaker, is reticent or defers to the strongest mathematician in the work group. Consequently, skill growth might not be a simple progression from 1 in Year 7 to 3, 4 or 5 in Year 9 (depending on the scale in the rubric for each subject). Your son’s progress might be uniform neither across the subjects, nor across the dispositions. We are reporting on growth in individual dispositions by comparing where a student was on the scale in Year 7 and then again in Year 9. A similar comparison may be made between measures reported in Year 8 and then again in Year 10. I look forward to an informed dialogue between parents and teachers on the individual student’s development of these important life skills. Go to www.sydneyboyshigh.com/curriculum/pewcc-reporting  reporting, for a full list of skill descriptors. Our challenge is to develop effective assessment tasks at all levels, in order to describe more accurately where your son stands in his development of these important life skills

Some students choose not to put much effort into one of the languages they do not intend to pursue in Year 8. While this is regrettable, it is also understandable. The consequence can be that the overall achievement level, as measured by our points system, might decline. Students have their second opportunity to choose a subject when they decide on their language/s for next year. Will they do one language or two? What are the commitments if they take offline classes? Will their other activities be affected? Please discuss language choices for Year 8 with your sons.

Resumption of GPS Sport

It is our intention to resume inter-school GPS sport on Saturdays under community sport guidelines. Our first set of fixtures will be arranged for next weekend, Saturday 13 November. Thereafter, we can fit another two rounds in – 20 and 27 November - before the end of the term for independent schools. It appears that unless indoor pool restrictions ease, we will not be able to train or compete in water polo. Fitness swimming will continue in the hope that restrictions may ease further before the end of term.
Dr K A Jaggar

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