High Notes, Vol 16 No 3, February 13 2015

Attention: open in a new window. E-mail

From the Principal

High Talent
Heartiest congratulations to everyone in the 13A cricket team for their stunning performance against Newington last Saturday. The bamboozled Newington lads fell for a meagre total which was surpassed by our batsmen without loss. I received glowing reports of the bowling of Mahajan, Pellen and Senthil from both the gracious Newington coach and Mr Smith from High. Let’s build on our early success!

P & C Meeting - February
In my Principal’s report to the P & C meeting on Monday, I outlined the new planning and reporting process and signalled the end of the Annual School Report. Our last report in the old format will be published in March.

The new three-stage process involves: developing strategic directions, identifying improvement measures and implementing, monitoring and evaluating the plan. I indicated that High would not be engaging in wide community consultation about strategic directions because the school has a clear mission and vision for the future.

Quality is about reliably repeating an expected standard or formula. Just as SAO biscuits have remained the same since 1906 and the recipe for Vegemite is unaltered since 1922, so too High’s foundation as a preparatory school for university entrance and its pursuit of all-round excellence, have sustained and inspired us since 1883.

We have strong educational theory driving our endeavours. Gagné’s differentiated model of talent development drives the Junior School discourse of personal development. Ziegler’s notion of an actiotope - students interacting with their environment to pursue excellence – is overlaid on Gagné in the senior school, where the discourse is mainly concerned with personal academic achievement.

As a leader, I am attracted to Max Depree’s idea of ‘intercepting entropy’. We have a really good educational product which we don’t want to see compromised by complacency. We are afraid of becoming one of John Hattie’s ‘coasting schools’ – ones with good results but not a lot of value added or student growth. ‘Better is the enemy of good’.  Let’s be better. The DEC has adopted the approach of Simon Sinek (2009) Start With Why. Keep in balance a sharply focused ‘why’ we are doing it, with a collegially-derived ‘what’ we are going to do, to allow flexibility in ‘what’ individuals do to implement the plan. Our three pillars for 2015-17 are:

Maximising potential -our boys should be nurtured to become autonomous, engaged and successful learners, striving to maximise their potential in all areas of school life and as informed citizens.

Improving literacy – our boys need to read and write with more confidence, sophistication and skill.

Enhancing teaching – our teachers should polish their practice so that more of our boys can reach their learning goals and pursue excellence more vigorously.

Absence from after school Sport Training or Saturday Sport
I would like all students and parents to understand our Sports Policy. If a student is absent from after school sport training or Saturday Sport - parents need to email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with the boy’s details: student number, surname, first name, sport, team, reason for absence and dates for the absence.

Uncollected Reports
It is embarrassing that there are still reports uncollected from 2014. The students concerned have run out of opportunities to show they care about their learning. I have asked the Deputy Principals to pursue boys who haven’t collected their reports and to issue them with detentions until they comply with school policy.

Weights Room 2015 – Early bird discount
High’s weights room offers exceptional value for money. The room has appropriate equipment for preparing the bodies of teenage boys but just as important, it is constantly supervised. When handling weights, technique is vitally important and boys need to learn from the beginning in Year 7, the correct way to lift. Kurt Rich, our Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, is a well-credentialed and experienced trainer. His presence ensures that the boys are training safely and sensibly. So as well as getting weights, bars and machines, boys have a supervisor and adviser to help them during their workouts.

Costs for this service are held down to a minimum and reduced by boys taking out a full year’s membership. For 2015, a full year Weights Room membership costs just $218 for unlimited visits. Boys wishing to have full year membership must register and pay by February 27, 2015. Thereafter, boys using the Weights Room will be invoiced at $92 per term (=$368 for the year). Why is there so much difference? We want boys to train all year, so we make it easier for them to do. Also, we want to reduce the administrative costs of processing, recording and monitoring memberships on a term-by-term basis.

Dropping Off Students inside the Cleveland Street gates
Quite a number of parents drive boys to school. There is a drop off zone next to the tennis courts on Cleveland Street. Our policy is that parents should enter via gate 1, drop off their sons alongside the tennis court fence, then exit via gate 2, which allows both left and right hand turns. Driving in gate 2 directly involves negotiating the car park and having to turn around in an area busy with boys making their way to early morning lessons or down to The Flat to play before school starts. This practice is quite dangerous as drivers can’t always see the boys moving in front or behind them. Please make an effort to comply with our policy and drive in via gate 1 and exit directly at gate 2 turning left or right.
Dr K A Jaggar

Return to Index

Continue reading in PDF format

This complete issue of High Notes is available in PDF format.