High Notes, Vol 22 No 8, March 26 2021

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to our Year 11 and Year 12 volleyball teams who both won Division 1 gold medals at the All Schools Volleyball Championships at Olympic Park this week.

Tell Them from Me Surveys

There is a system-wide need for data about how students perceive aspects of their education. To maximise the spread of coverage the Department of Education has declared that school participation in ‘Tell Them From Me’ surveys is mandatory. The survey has provided very useful data for the Ontario Education system, one of the world’s leading systems. We agree that wide and broad data are likely to yield more meaningful insights but only if students perceive the survey as a genuine opportunity to have their voices heard.  In the last couple of weeks of this term, students will be responding to the shortened version of the TTFM survey in class. Different faculties are managing the process for each year group 7-11.  Year 12 has its own exit survey. I hope the school community values this opportunity to have a voice.

Literacy – Parents As Partners

One of the most significant influences on HSC success in courses with writing components is how much reading was undertaken by candidates during their formative years 5-15. Parents can help encourage reading at any time. It is good relaxation away from the demands of academic work. It builds comprehension skills and working vocabulary. It is enjoyable. Parents don’t always know what sources of reading that are available. Ms Crothers, our Junior Librarian, has been compiling Quick Read Lists. These titles are available in our school library for students to read or borrow. We have created a link so that parents can connect with this list and make suggestions to their sons: https://sbhs.co/bwq.

Given the recent spotlight on sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour, parents might like to look at a catalogue of wellbeing and self-help books and DVDs. The link is https://sbhs.co/bwb. It is important that we start having difficult conversations around the issues of respectful relationships and informed consent.

The School Improvement Plan 2021-2024

High has been engaging in a strategic planning process, led by DP Junior School, Jamie Kay, for three terms. All of our stakeholders were surveyed, and many meetings held. Ideas were crystallised and multiple drafts of aspects of the plan were written and discussed by staff teams. Our School Improvement Plan for 2021-24 was signed off by the Director, Educational Leadership on 16 March. Our vision statement focuses on pedagogy and meaningful programs. ‘We strive to be at the forefront of educational practice, pursuing excellence while contributing positively to the world as scholars, sportsmen, educators and leaders.’ Unlike our previous plans we have a more bi-directional emphasis. Ours is a collaborative vision which sets out aspirations, initiatives, strategies, targets and responsibilities for students and staff. We are held to the same high expectations, measured against our agreed values as benchmarks, as those we require from students. Our three strategic directions are: student growth and attainment; nurturing personal wellbeing and closer reading, clearer writing. Each strategic direction is informed by purpose, stated initiatives, improvement measures, success criteria and an accompanying evaluation plan.  The improvement measures have system negotiated targets specified for each year of the plan. The accompanying evaluation plan for each strategic direction sets out the evidence sources that will be used to analyse our progress towards our targets. Our School Improvement Plan has stretch targets that are demanding. During the next three years, we need to work together as a school community to support progress in each direction of the plan to nurture higher achieving, more involved and happier, students and staff.
Dr K A Jaggar

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