High Notes, Vol 17 No 19, June 24 2016

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From the Principal

High Talent
At the Fencing National Schools Teams Championship in Brisbane our Sabre Team (Garry Huang (12), James Siu (10), Kinzey Rahardja (10), Lincoln Hui (10)) won gold for the third consecutive year. Our Epee A Team: (John Tian (11), Peter Lin (12), James Ye (12), Arthur Chao (12)) broke through to win a gold medal. Indicating our depth in this discipline, High’s Epee B Team (William Zeng (10), Roy Zheng (10), Kentaro Takahata (12)) won a bronze medal. Congratulations to all our competitors and to Mr Dat Huynh who managed the team at the Championships.

June is EOFY Time
If you have intended to make a tax deductible donation to our SHS Building Fund or to the SBHS Library Fund or to the SBHS Scholarship Fund, or to our ASF Project but haven’t yet done so, I invite you to make that donation, as I have done, before the end of the financial year. There are so many great achievements coming from the boys in a diverse range of endeavours. In order to consolidate, maintain or improve our services to them, they would really benefit from your financial support. There is only one week left to make a difference in this financial year. I ask for your help to make High strong.

Refugee Week June 19-25
In our privileged and peaceful society, it behoves us to take time out occasionally to consider the plight of the unfortunate, none more deserving of our sympathy than the millions of refugees displaced, disposessed and destitute as a result of domestic or international conflict. Various activities, such as Act For Peace’s Ration Challenge, are aimed at raising awareness, particularly among young people, about the plight of refugees.

The School Excellence Framework- Part 3
The third area of the Framework is leading.  In element 1, ‘leadership’, in schools that excel, “the school leadership team supports a culture of high expectations and community engagement, resulting in sustained and measurable whole school improvement.”  We rated ourselves as excelling in this element.  Many staff have purposeful leadership roles based on their professional expertise.  As well, they use their professional skills in autonomous MIC roles in sports and co-curricular activities.  The school community is committed to the scholar-sportsman ideal and to the maximising of opportunities for excellence.  The school has incrementally increased its average ATAR including its increased population of locally selected students.  Our school is recognised as excellent and responsive by our community. We have many collaborative and governance structures:  P & C, School Council, Sydney High School Foundation, Old Boys Union, Parent Support Groups for >15 sports and co-curricular activities, parent representatives on the Student Wellbeing Committee and the Libraries Committee, Parent Year Groups and Gardening Committee.

High enrols students representing > 150 postcodes and >95% of its students reside outside a 5km radius from the school.  Our community is more demographic than geographic and is very diverse.  In our area we have agreements with St Marks Church, the Sydney Swans, Centennial & Moore Park Trust, Double Bay Sailing Club, Woollahra Sailing Club, the NSW Rifle Shooting Association, Indeep Tennis, University of Technology, Sydney and SISC.  We have a partnership agreement with UNSW to offer practicum placements for up to ten students each cycle. We have an agreement with Sir Roden & Lady Cutler Foundation to operate a medical appointments pick-me-up service.  We have agreements with local cricket associations to rent our covered cricket nets.  We run outreach programs at Cleveland Street IEC, Bourke Street Public School, Vincentia House and Kirra Kids Centre. We have a strong presence in charitable organisations as volunteer collectors having raised more than $1,000,000 during my principalship.  For all that, we could be more proactive in establishing relationships with the local media and we have work to do to make our vision more visible.

In element 2, ‘school planning, implementation and reporting’, in schools that excel, “the school plan is at the core of continuous improvement efforts, with the school’s vision and strategic directions evident in its main activity.”  We rate ourselves as excelling in this element.  Our School Plan incorporates evidence-based strategy and innovative thinking.  Its overarching theory is the IPEC model, a gathering of ‘intelligences’ to be developed:  academic IQ, physical PQ, emotional EQ and cultural CQ.  In the Junior School 7-9 the driving model is Gagné’s differentiated model of talent development.  In the Senior School 10-12, Ziegler’s actiotope model of interactive talent development is overlaid on Gagné to reflect the growing autonomy of learners and their more sophisticated relationships with teachers.

High has valued its traditions and its recipe for success in the same way as quality brands like SAO and vegemite have.  Simon Sinek’s ‘Start With Why’ urges organisations to look within themselves to discover their core values and driving purposes.  Since 1883 our objective has been to prepare students well for university.  Since 1886 our students have wanted to get involved in non-academic activities which they organised for themselves.  In 2016 we pursue the highest possible academic outcomes while maintaining life balance by providing our students with a plethora of opportunities for excellence.  Our community expects us to do both well.  Our structural governance through P & C and School Council makes collaboration usual practice.  Data gathering tools such as TTFM surveys and Year 12 exit surveys have broadened our understanding of where strategic school improvements need to be made.

Element 3, ‘school resources’, in schools that excel, “school resources are strategically used to achieve improved student outcomes.”  We rated ourselves as ‘sustaining and growing’ here.  We do have long-term planning integrated with school planning and implementation.  Our Site Development Plan 2011-2020 and our Long Term Financial Trends documents put perspectives on our resource allocations for specific purposes.  Funds available have increased by 500% during my principalship.  Even so, resources have to be carefully managed to balance the budget each year.  In addition, trusts to the value of $350,000 have been established for strategic purposes.  Money has been targeted for gifted education programs and academic competitions.  The school has established a Development Office to manage relationships with the wider school community.  The school publishes a newsletter each week (High Notes), a periodical marketing pamphlet (High Flyer), a detailed compendium of school activities (The Record) and the Annual School Report.

The use of school facilities is optimised with the UTS SBHS gymnasium, the tennis courts licensed to InDeep, regular hiring of the Great Hall, the COLA nets and the school grounds (principally for event parking). The High Store is licensed to Sydney High School Foundation.  We work our assets pretty well.  We cannot claim to have integrated and documented leadership development, succession and workforce planning within our drive for whole-school improvement.

For element 4, ‘management practices and processes’, in schools that excel, “management systems, structures and processes underpin ongoing school improvement and the professional effectiveness of all school members”.  We rated ourselves as excelling.  Our practices and processes are responsive to school community feedback.  Apart from oversight of school practices by our school governance bodies (P & C, SBH School Council) a large number of school organisations have input opportunities into co-curricular activities.  Parent surveys, SMS texts, website, Facebook, High Notes, The Record, School Plan and Site Development Plan, provide platforms for parents with particular views to engage with the school.  Information evenings are regularly held to explain HSC results, to discuss the acceleration intervention, to outline courses 11-12 and electives 9 & 10 and to orientate new parents into the school culture.  We are very transparent.  Our policies and processes are located on the website, accessed via a parental portal or written about in High Notes.  Our intranet has an organisation chart; our website has a ‘live’ calendar which is updated daily and on Saturday mornings.  Our results are published on the website and analysed in PowerPoint presentations.  We have online feedback opportunities for parents and they are surveyed annually. Our Performance and Development practices are effective, well-documented and have a nearly perfect compliance rate.
Dr K A Jaggar

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