High Notes, Vol 5 No 1, January 30 2004

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From the Principal
Vale Mr Frank Jordan
National Meningococcal C Vaccination Program

From the Principal

Welcome back to Term 1 2004
Welcome to all our new staff, students and parents. I hope you will acclimatise quickly and easily at High. Welcome back to our 2003 students, staff and families. Quite a few staff changes occurred over the vacation. Ms Mary Boukatos joins the English Faculty. Mr Hugh Howey replaces Mr Tiedgen in Social Science. Ms Angela Ward replaces Mr Harnett in mathematics. Mr René Scheibel joins the LOTE department as a part time teacher. Ms Jocelyn Brewer joins us as a part time Social Science teacher. Due to a life threatening illness, Ms Sueann Plenkovich will not be returning to the Art Department for some time. Ms Claire R----- has kindly agreed to help us out until Sueann returns. Mr Tom Dolan will be Acting Head Teacher Social Science for three terms. Mr Graham Moody is replacing Mr Day who is on extended long service leave.

HSC Results 2003
The HSC results from last year were up to standard with some very good results at the 99 UAI level. At 15% of reported UAIs, the 99 group was the best result for 6 years. UAIs above 90 were on the six-year average of 114. In percentage terms the cohort result for 90 UAIs was slightly below average at 66.7%. Reported UAIs below 80 were less than 2%. Some results were conservatively stated due to the fact that many boys chose courses that had qualifying UAIs less than those scored by them. In terms of university entrance, 95.37% of the cohort gained entry to the 5 major metropolitan universities. This result was slightly above the 9 year average of 94%.We know of 172 university offers and 1 TAFE placement. There was a big increase in science related courses at 16% (average 10%) and law/combined law was slightly higher at 11% (average 10%). There were fewer students in the commercial area at 26% (average 30%), engineering 13% (average 15%) and Arts 7% (average 8%). Irrespective of the League Tables, High results have demonstrated a very pleasing consistency in terms of university entrance. Students continue to be encouraged and supported in their attempts to tackle courses with high cognitive demands. I am confident that our staff are improving their pedagogy in approaching the new HSC and that our boys are coping well with the changes.

High Hopes for 2004
The quality of the public education system is back in the news. The familiar assertions are made about values that are promulgated more explicitly in private schools. The 'aspirational' families of Australia are assumed to be more demanding and more discerning. They want good discipline in the school their children go to. They appreciate strong leadership by the executive. They desire values education to be a transparent feature of the learning environment at their children's schools. They expect the individual learning and emotional needs of their children to be addressed through policy and action. They want good facilities and resources.

As a high profile selective school and as an acknowledged alternative to quality private education, High needs to be seen to be addressing these educational concerns. To say that we teach the value of the pursuit of all round excellence is not enough. We need to have more than slogans. Why do we want boys to broaden their life experiences while at our school? We believe they will develop the vision, range of experience, resilience, flexibility, tolerance and breadth of understanding to make their places as leaders in our society. How does the promotion of such a pursuit work in practice? We provide the opportunities for gifted boys to challenge themselves in academics, sports, public speaking and debating, music, chess, leadership, charity work, school service, citizenship and outdoor education. We have bedded down a 7-10 program of 'character' or 'values' education to focus attention on 'emotional intelligence' and the development of a moral sense in our boys. We need to treat this part of our curriculum as seriously as any other. We are focussing on promoting access to a unique combination of opportunities for every boy. We aim to produce multidimensional people with variegated skills and interests.

Educational provision is being differentiated. The inexorable trend is towards a personalised program for all. Cohort progression will fracture further over the next few years. The influence of on-line learning, packaged courses on interactive CD, subject acceleration, secondary-tertiary interface courses and individual support programs, will be felt more keenly during the course of our next strategic plan. We aim to let the boys demonstrate their initiative and creativity wherever possible. We need to try and break down the group mentality in respect of achievement. Boys should be exhorted to be the best that they can be, even in the face of peer pressure not to be. Luckily, our culture is academic and competitive, so most boys see the value in reaching their potential. Nevertheless, we still struggle against significant underachievement propensities in a minority of our boys. We need to spotlight individual responsibility for learning as a foundation for culture modification.

In 2003 our goal was to improve Band 6 HSC performance. The comparative data suggest that we performed quite well in that endeavour. Over the next three years we will build upon that good work. For 2004 we will turn to the elimination of Band 3 performance. We will try to follow up on every student who fails to submit any set task. We have a sophisticated system of student welfare support - we will use it to intervene early. Counselling, letters home, referrals to RISC - triangulated approaches will be employed so as not to let problems become exacerbated. All our boys are able. We will endeavour to make sure that we have done all we can to push them to pursue personal best achievement. We still have to achieve the goal of no UAI below 80 at High. We are getting closer each year.

Communication is the issue in schools. This year we will have the capacity to communicate with students, parents and ourselves as never before. Information and communication technology is a tool. We need to improve our expertise in its use but we will always decide when, why, where and how we will employ this device. We will try to communicate better with each other this year by using better the systems and procedures that are already in place. We will try to solve the inevitable training / rehearsals / morning classes clashes by full, frank and timely communication.

Sports administration is one of the things that sets us apart from other public schools. The introduction of our two sports afternoons, the additional involvement of staff members with expertise in particular sports, the employment of additional personnel in coordinating roles, the re-establishment of the groundsman's position at McKay, the focus on training staff members as coaches and the allocation of increased resources and fund raising opportunities, should combine to establish a stronger base for our future sports performances.

Debating and public speaking make us well known among state schools. We have established a promising pool of debaters and speakers. More personnel are required, particularly to establish public speaking as an independent group within the school. Our music programs need your support. Promote involvement in performance music. Our Outdoor Education program was well supported by staff last year. We want to bed down a 7-10 camping program as a foundation for more Duke of Edinburgh achievements in the senior school.

Facilities are important in the mix of reasons for parents making choices. We are developing the tennis courts this year. We will erect the Sir Roden Cutler Memorial Gates this year to honour the generosity of our donors. We have some more work to do on the grounds. We need funds for new cricket nets and a new basketball court. Your help in supporting the Australian Sports Foundation donation scheme would be appreciated.

Our overriding goal is to celebrate our 125th year in 2008 by occupying a new or extended Library. Your donations to the Centenary Building Fund will help to realise this vision.

High Talent
It was great to see 26 of our students will receive Premier's Awards for All-Round Excellence (10 units @90) next week. This was a big increase on last year (15). Recipients will be: Pat Bazin, Albert Bielinko, Paul Bui,Tony Chen, Wilson Chong, Sahan Dasanayaka, Hugh James, Bo Jing, Hugh Kim, Max Kletski, Andrew Lau, David Li, John Lin, Lam Nguyen, Tim Olshansky, Jojo Paul, Royston Ponraj, Yeou-Herng Shaw, Mark Thambyrajah, Grant Wrighter, Opal Wu, Wen Wu, Tian Xiao, Han Xu, James Ye and Andy Zhao. Congratulations to all those boys. Sahan Dasanayaka was first in the state in Engineering Science. Congratulations also to our UNSW Co-op Scholarship winners: Anthony Leong (Accounting), Bo Jing (Actuarial Studies), Maksim Kletski (Actuarial Studies), Krishna Ramarathinam (Business Information Technology) and Daniel Comben (Computer Science).
Dr K Jaggar
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Vale Mr Frank Jordan

It is with the greatest regret that I have to announce the tragic passing yesterday of our Year 11 Adviser, Rugby Coach and Mathematics Teacher, Frank Jordan. Frank was a dedicated, valued member of staff and a caring, committed person. He will be remembered as a private, kindly man with a good heart and a great love for his family. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his family, friends and colleagues.
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National Meningococcal C Vaccination Program

Our school is participating in this important vaccination program which will ensure that all school children in Australia, who have parental or caregiver consent, are vaccinated against the disease.

A team of specially trained registered nurses will be visiting our school on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th February to administer the vaccine.

During the next week all boys will be issued with a Parent Information Kit which contains full details of the program and a Consent Form.

If you would like your son to be vaccinated against the Meningococcal C disease you must complete the Consent Form in the kit and return it to the school by Monday 9th February. Collection boxes for the completed forms will be located in the foyer of the Main Building near the office.

NSW Health has prepared a Fact Sheet about the program in ten community languages. If you would like a copy of one of these or if you have a query about the program, please contact Mr Beringer.
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