High Notes, Vol 16 No 34, October 30 2015

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From the Principal

High Talent
Vishal Karnamadakala (Year 11) had his HSC visual arts body of work selected for possible exhibition in  ARTEXPRESS. Great job, Vishal! Congratulations to Tim Palmer (7T)  whose team entry into the iAwards Computing Technology and Communication Competition was selected by APICTA to represent Australia in Sri Lanka at the Asia Pacific competition.  APICTA – Asia Pacific ICT Alliance- is an alliance of national ICT organisations representing their respective economies  to build and enhance a mutually cooperative network to promote ICT, enhance technology innovations, capability and adoption, and encourage the development of indigenous ICT solutions for the global market.

Tell Them From Me Survey – Students: Social-Emotional Outcomes
The Tell Them From Me Survey response at High was 228 boys or a 19% sample size. It was disappointing, but understandable, given we have asked for several surveys to be done in the last 12 months. It is difficult for the Executive to draw many firm conclusions about school climate from such a sample. The NSW norm was derived from 75,000 responses.  In measures of social-emotional outcomes, High’s culture is very healthy.  ‘Student participation in sports’ 96% which was 1.85 times the NSW government schools norm of 52% for boys.  ‘Student participation in extracurricular activities’ (67%) was three times the norm for boys.  ‘Students with a positive sense of belong’ (85%) was 16% higher than the boys’ norm.  ‘Students with positive relationships’ (82%) was around the NSW boys’ norm of 77%.  ‘Students who value schooling outcomes’ (77%) (v 73%).  ‘Students who regularly truant’ 3% (10%).Truancy is defined as skipping classes or arriving late or missing days at school without a reason. ‘Students with positive homework behaviours’ 84% (v 50%).  ‘Students with positive behaviour at school’ 91% (87%).  ‘Intellectual engagement composite’ (64%) (v 48%).  ‘Students who are interested and motivated’ 41% (v 29%).  Teachers will need to reflect on this measure which the school would like to improve.  Effort (trying hard to succeed) 75% (v 65%).  Matrix of challenge and skills:  High skills/high challenge (72%) (v 42%) high skills/low challenge 12% (v 11%), low skills/high challenge 13% (v 4%) and low skills/low challenge 3% (v 7%).  The results of this matrix probably reveal that the scope of our underachievement task at High. Optimism:  ‘high levels of optimism’ 61% ‘medium’ 29% ‘low’ 9%. Happiness: ‘high levels of happiness’ 40% ‘medium’ 46% ‘low’ 14%.  It seems our school climate might benefit from applying some of the strategies from the positive psychology movement.  Academic self-concept: ‘high’ 88%’ medium 11% ‘low’ 1%.  Given the number of late entry students at High, this is a pleasing snapshot.

Light Rail Update
At our last meeting with ALTRAC on 14 October, we were very pleased to see that the site compound on Moore Park West was significantly smaller than we had first been led to expect. A 2.4m hoarding will be erected around the work site, thereby minimising noise and dust pollution. Our emergency muster point can still be MPW. There will be significant changes to Anzac Parade during construction of the light rail tunnel. It will be closed outside the school and diverted through Moore Park East. Buses on Anzac Parade will be affected and new arrangement will need to be negotiated. Piling for the bridge over the eastern distributor is scheduled for the Christmas holidays. The pedestrian bridge over Anzac Parade to the light rail station is being redesigned and will be released for comment by SBHS and SGHS once it is completed.  ALTRAC is sensitive to our needs for peace and quiet during examination periods and has pledged to liaise with our schools’ planners to minimise disruption to both the schools and the schedule of works.

Resource Allocation Model Funding
In 2012, the NSW Government announced its Local Schools, Local Decisions (LSLD) reform for NSW public schools. This reform places students at the centre of school decision making. It gives principals and school communities a greater say over how they use the available resources to best meet the needs of their students. To enable the shift of resources to the school level, a Resource Allocation Model (RAM) has been developed. The RAM provides a simpler, fairer and more transparent distribution of government school funding and changes the way resources are managed in our school system.  On 21 October 2015, the NSW Premier the Hon Mike Baird MP and the Minister for Education the Hon Adrian Piccoli announced the next phase of the RAM implementation.  In 2016, $113 million in additional funding has been allocated to NSW public schools through the RAM. These additional funds have been allocated in a way consistent with the recommendations of the Gonski Review.

In 2016, NSW public schools will receive a base allocation for staff professional learning and funding for each student using a new methodology. Schools will continue to receive equity loadings for socio-economic background, Aboriginal background, English language proficiency and low level adjustment for disability.  High was allocated $132,689 for its equity loading. This used to be Student Assistance Funding and transitional equity funding. At least $80,000 is new funding. Our indicative annual entitlement of $574,751 has been boosted by a per capita grant of $81,981. This additional financial assistance is most welcome. We shall have more funds to drive our Strategic Plan in 2016-17.
Dr K A Jaggar

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