High Notes, Vol 21 No 34, October 30 2020

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From the Principal

Examinations

We have been able to run Year 9 and Year 7 examinations concurrently with the HSC thus far. I would like to pay tribute to Mr Prorellis and his team of invigilators who have done a great job in providing COVID-compliant examination spaces. Thank you to the Old Boys and others who have helped to set up and knock down the gym multiple times with two areas for some examinations. UTS have been accommodating in allowing us time to clear away the desks and drop sheets before their hirers come in the evening. Many people have collaborated to make this critical time of the year work smoothly. Thank you all.

Community Involvement at High

As an education system, the Department of Education has a mission to ensure that every student is ‘known, valued and cared for’.  This ideal context is unattainable without a highly collaborative, accountable and supportive network and partnership structure.  At High we are no less in need of these effective partnerships in order to nurture scholar-sportsmen, provide opportunities for excellence and inculcate our agreed values of integrity, respect, compassion and dedication. If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes a lot of people to nurture growth in our students. As well as parents, we have 100+ Old Boys helping out in various ways. Our culture is dependant on this high level of involvement by our community. At this time of year, our constituent governance bodies re-calibrate for the next academic year.  The P & C declares positions vacant and office bearers and delegates are re-elected or replaced by election.  We need active parents to take an interest in our institutions so that the school can continue to be inclusive, collaborative, responsible and accountable to its stakeholders.

One outcome of our current pandemic is the greatly enhanced power of electronic communication and video conferencing.  We can accommodate parents wanting to help but unable to attend the school.  People with financial skills are in demand to act as honorary treasurers in our P & C, Canteen Sub-Committee and Incorporated Associations.  Most of their work can be done from home.  Others with legal, business management, architectural or construction backgrounds can offer valuable help on specific projects.

Generations of parents have been crucial in our development as a school.  Together with the SHSOBU, they have provided facilities enjoyed by current students.  The Governors Centre is the latest example.  The COLA, the Cec Rubie Library, the Outterside Centre, the McKay Playing Fields and Fairland Pavilion and the Sydney High Rifle Club premiers at Malabar – all were completed as a result of the work of partnerships between parents and Old Boys.  Since 1986 the Sydney High School Foundation Ltd has given legal expression to this partnership.  Its aim is to provide facilities and resources for the school. Its Board is comprised of P & C and SHSOBU delegates.

We are always seeking people to help.  Generosity of time has been the hallmark of our community’s response to the call for assistance to provide more opportunities for our students.  For 2021 and beyond, I am asking you to heed the call and do what you can.

Subject Acceleration

Subject acceleration has worked very well at High as a gifted education intervention for 15+ years. It is so customary that it is in danger of becoming seen as another elective. It is a privilege granted by the Principal to a qualifying group of students who profess great interest in a particular stage 6 area of study. They need a record of academic success generally and a high degree of accomplishment in the subject area in which they propose to accelerate. They also need to be conscientious autonomous learners. After the Preliminary Course there is a time of reckoning. Head Teachers are empowered to allow the intervention to continue to the HSC. Guiding questions for them are – is the student still in the top 100 on the rank order, and is the result gained above average in the class? Head Teachers have the power to accept students into the HSC Course, recommend awarding Preliminary Course but insisting that the weaker students discontinue the course, or not awarding Preliminary and giving the student a stage 5 mark.

At this time of year, Year 9 are asked to submit their applications for acceleration. These must be downloaded and completed before 6 November. Students should go to R:\School Admin\Acceleration\Acceleration Application (Individual Learning Plan).pdf to download the form and submit it to the Head Teacher of the subject in which they are applying to accelerate.
Dr K A Jaggar
Principal

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