High Notes, Vol 23 No 9, April 01 2022

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From the Principal

High Talent

Firstly, congratulations to Paul Fang (12S), Owen Seong (12E), Edward Ly (11M) and Dimitrios Logothesis (11E) who were part of the Sydney East Rep Volleyball team that won the 2022 NSW Inter Regional Carnival held at Nowra last week, defeating Sydney North in the Final in straight sets. Edward Ly has also been selected in the NSW CHS Volleyball team to play the Quad Volleyball Series next term.

Meanwhile, Kester Jan (7S), Ryan Chai (7S), Mark Yan (8F), Jiazi Chen (8T), Jinu Shin (9S), David Kim (10E), Ross Zhou (11R), Jaden Yi (11T) Jaden Luu (11M) and Adam Davies (12R) gained selection in the GPS swim team. Jiazi Chen was also awarded the GPS swimmer of the season, a fantastic achievement!

Well done to all of these boys on their incredible results. They truly exemplify High Spirit, demonstrating our ethos of the scholar-sportsman.

Strategic Improvement Plan 2022-5

The pursuit of excellence in sporting endeavours is a large part of the school’s vision, a core component of developing a community of scholars, sportsmen, educators and leaders who can contribute positively to the world. It’s when we challenge ourselves that true growth occurs and through pursuing a wide range of co-curricular experiences including sporting competitions, the school has been developing well-rounded young men for 139 years. Sydney High has always strived to be at the forefront of educational practice and there are many ways this continues to be evident today.

Our 2022-25 Strategic Improvement Plan focuses on a wide range of initiatives the school is implementing using evidence-based practices to develop the whole student. With the Year 12 assessment period commencing this week (held as our first set of assessments in the Governors Centre) and upcoming assessments for all years, it’s timely to examine some of the educational practices evidence shows are most effective in maximising student outcomes.

According to research findings by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) published in their What Works Best: 2020 Update, feedback students receive on their work is one of the most powerful influences on student achievement. To embed the importance of feedback and how it can be used to improve student learning, in 2019 a team of Sydney High teachers, in collaboration with staff across all faculties developed our whole-school feedback policy.

Students are initially only provided feedback on their formal assessments, commonly referred to as summative tasks, and must reflect on this and set goals for their future studies prior to receiving their results. This engages students more effectively in what they did well and areas for improvement than receiving their results at the same time. However, it’s important to note that feedback on formative assessments - tasks intended to develop skills in preparation for summative tasks - is just as important.

Students are encouraged to value all assigned tasks throughout their time at High, dedicating themselves to the task at hand and utilising the feedback provided, whether by teachers or their peers. It’s through this ongoing process of application, feedback and further application that students can reach their full potential.

A common misconception is that practice makes perfect when in fact, practice makes permanent. Without adhering to the guidance of the experienced teachers at their disposal, students can cement habits that become very difficult to break. The completion of fewer practice responses but utilising the feedback provided before attempting another will pay far more dividends for students than sending multiple responses for feedback with the same errors throughout each. Doing so will simultaneously demonstrate to their teachers, who put a lot of time and energy into providing quality feedback, that their efforts are valued.

Students are therefore encouraged to complete all tasks provided for them by their teachers to the best of their ability and take heed of the feedback provided. In the upcoming semester reports, all teachers will be reporting on how effectively students engage with feedback and use this in their studies, so all students would be wise to consistently reflect on their studies and utilise teacher comments.

And remember that just because students are able to reach out to teachers outside of work hours through Canvas or emails, responses outside of work hours including over the weekend is not something to be expected. For the wellbeing of teachers, the use of emails and messaging at irregular times is something the school executive actively discourages. Teachers require their rest to be able to support students in their studies so realistic expectations of teachers is essential for everyone to thrive. With self-regulation against criteria and self-reflection highly effective ways to also enhance student growth, students should consider this as an additional tool to reach their potential.

In summary, through consistent application and effective use of feedback, students can not only see ongoing success, but develop positive feelings from ongoing growth that provides motivation for continued effort and engagement. We look forward to seeing everyone applying these principles in the future and reaping the reward of their efforts.
Jamie Kay
Relieving Principal

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