High Notes, Vol 21 No 39, December 04 2020

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From the Principal

High Talent

Well done to Justin Lee Nonis (11R) whose Design and Technology project has been selected for possible inclusion in the SHAPE exhibition of exemplary HSC Major Projects. Our Open chess team is representing the state again in the JCL Nationals. Our players are Justin Wayne-Lowe (12S), Kerwin Ma (11M), Ryan Lee (11E), Jack Keating (10R), Toby Huey (8S) and Jason Pan (8R). SBHS will  be debating in the state final of the Premier’s Challenge (Karl Cramp) competition against Sydney Girls. The students involved are Anson Chan (11T), Harry Wu (11R), Ashwin Rao (11M), Roshan Hossain (11F), Thomas Zheng (11T) and Auguste McNally (11T). Congratulations on making the state final lads. Lucas Adamson (7T) was selected in the Manly Warringah Basketball U16 years representative team. Congratulations, Lucas!

Harassment or Bullying

Students and their parents should be aware that the school has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on homophobic harassment, sexist or racist slurs, bullying or teasing. At High we are proudly anti-discriminatory. Our Anti-Bullying team developed a solid policy on what victims, ‘upstanders’ and teachers can do to combat bullying and reduce bullying behaviours in our school. There is a quick reference guide - ‘Responding to Bullying at Sydney Boys High’ - posted in every classroom. No individual should be discriminated against by virtue of his sexual identity, race, religion, philosophical or political views or cultural custom. We promote ourselves as a band of academic brothers and must put our actions where our words are. Students who discriminate against others, verbally, physically, in writing, on social media, or online, can expect strong negative consequences. Any defence based on the idea that teenage discourse customarily encompasses the use of homophobic language to the extent that it has lost its original meaning, will be disregarded. The essence of the problem is in repetition of discriminatory words or phrases and multiple perpetrators repeating them. Perpetrators and victims will engage in a restorative mediation process called ‘The Method of Shared Concern’. ‘Upstanders’ will be acknowledged by the Deputy Principal, Junior School.  Reasoned argument, measured discourse and healthy debate are good for organisations. However, there is no place for harassment, discriminatory comments or racial or religious denigration or taunts. It starts with the way we speak – our tone and choice of words. ‘A word spoken, or a stone thrown, can never be retrieved’. Let us all be more respectful towards one another!

Interpreting Year 8 Reports – Semester 2

When coming to the end of Year 8, some boys do not put much effort into subjects they do not intend to continue. This behaviour is regrettable but understandable. Parents should realise that such lack of interest in one or two subjects can result in big fluctuations in overall ranks. Such fluctuations will be reflected in comments on reports by teachers and by the Principal. From one perspective, parents can appreciate better what sort of learner their son is not. It is better not to persist in a discipline that does not excite you. For other students, doing well in the Yearly examination is their objective. They can turn around their cruising first semester with much more self-disciplined effort in the second half of the year. Elective choice going into Year 9 is very important. Students need to follow their interests in a low-stakes choice environment. Some boys change both electives again in Year 10! We offer a wide range of electives for students to experience different learning contexts, with varying content and required skill sets. Information Processes and Technology is offered in Year 9 as an accelerating subject and students need to apply using the appropriate form. They need to have their parents’ permission and the faculty Head Teacher’s support. Also, they have to have an overall rank in the top 100 of the cohort at the end of the year. By the end of Year 8, the generalist focus for secondary education is completed. Stage 5 is characterised by learner exploration and enlargement of perspective. Of course, the core subjects are important, and students need to be held accountable for their satisfactory progress. Discuss your son's report from the two perspectives – core and future electives.

Scholarship Applications

Applications for scholarships have now closed. The Principal has assessed the applications, consulted with the Senior Executive and the successful applicants have been be notified by letter. Thank you to 20 students who applied. All were worthy. Decision-making was difficult. Congratulations to those receiving scholarships and encouragement awards. I encourage more students in Year 9 who have a track record in school and community service to consider applying for the Sir Roden and Lady Cutler Foundation Scholarship next year.
Dr K A Jaggar
Principal

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