High Notes, Vol 22 No 25, August 20 2021

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to David Zhou (12T) and Blair Zong (12E) who were awarded Sydney East Blues in Volleyball.

P&C Donations

I want to extend my thanks to the SBHS P&C Association for its recent strong financial support for the school.  It made a significant investment of $23k to assist with staff training in positive psychology and choice theory. Mr Kay is driving this project to have a critical mass of teachers trained extensively in this relationship management methodology. Another donation of $15k was made towards the bus replacement program.  High owns five vehicles which need to be replaced at the end of their useful lives.  For >15 years we have been running a sinking fund within the P&C to build the capital capacity to replace any one of our three buses, should the need arise.  The target of the fund is at least $200k. The school responded to the awareness raised in society about the necessity for consent education to be both more rigorous and to recur in a spiral format throughout high school.  I published our ‘respectful relationships education’ program earlier in the year, budgeting up to $20k for necessary new resources.  The P&C have seen the value in this initiative and contributed $20k towards it.

The two basketball courts have just had all their ring netting replaced but the surfaces are worn severely and require immediate refurbishment.  The P&C contributed $10k towards that project to be undertaken once the Governors Centre remediation work is finalized. It is always important in selective schools to pay close attention to underachievement.  Interventions targeted at underachieving students add value to outcomes.  The P&C has donated $3k towards that plan. Literacy is a fundamental pillar of our Strategic Improvement Plan.  As a feature of that Plan, a literacy expert will be invited to hold workshops with staff to build their capacity in methods to improve the literacy growth of our students in a differentiated manner.  Funds of $2k have been advanced to help fund this professional development opportunity. It will soon be World Teachers Day.  In commemoration of that event, the P&C have donated $1,000 towards the purchase of a staff common room coffee machine for the amenity of our hard-working people. In total $64k has been donated in a targeted manner to help fund a desirable variety of projects.  On behalf of the High community, I thank the SBHS P&C Association for their generosity.

Online Learning – Week 6

This week we continued our full-time synchronous lessons with reduced direct contact time to 45 minutes per period. Staff and students are still feeling overworked. For students, they sense they are getting more homework than usual and feel they are never really off-line due to more screen time required to do homework . Due to the relentless nature of working with CANVAS conferences, zoom or Microsoft teams, teachers are feeling overworked by the constant daily demands of being online and then backing up to mark online submissions at night. In short, everyone is getting too much screen time. The staff will discuss strategies to alleviate some of this ongoing stress for teachers and students. This week, the Year 10 into 11 subject selection evening, conducted by Mr Kay and Dr Pinninington-Wilson was very well attended, generating many questions. Staff are offering individual short interviews to offer guidance and advice to Year 10 students during the stage 6 subject selection process over the next couple of weeks. Many boys have booked in already.

Year 12 Vaccinations

 The vaccination campaign for Year 12 students residing in the level 4 LGAs wrapped up this week. We are still supplying updated names and mobile phone numbers for students who have been unable to book a time. I guess the DoE passes on the lists to Health NSW who then contact the numbers by text. Regrettably, the program will not apply to 15-year-old students sitting for the HSC, affecting one of our students. Representations are being made to the Education Minister on their behalf. Given the influx of Pfizer doses and the Moderna vaccine soon to come online, we think that vaccinations for all HSC students as a priority is the logical and necessary next step.

NAPLAN Results

The NAPLAN tests provide a snapshot in time for performances in Year 7 and Year 9. Until the student-by- student analysis is done, we can at least provide information on growth in skill levels between Year 7 and Year 9. These comparisons are not completely valid as there are only 180 students in the Year 7 cohort against 208 in Year 9. For writing, the average growth is from high band 8 to mid-band 9. For reading, average growth remains in band 9 moving from the middle to the high range. (That result would suggest that we need more explicit teaching and testing of content comprehension). Grammar and punctuation stayed in Band 10, indicating a low ceiling on the test. Spelling moved from mid Band 9 to high Band 9, indicating a need for more structured spelling practice. Numeracy started in band 10 and hit the band 10 ceiling by Year 9. Our main interest in these results lies in NAPLAN growth, positive or negative, for individuals. A more detailed analysis of the results will be undertaken  next term.
Dr K A Jaggar

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