High Notes, Vol 23 No 13, May 13 2022

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From the Principal

High Talent

This week there have been a number of sporting success stories shared across our school community. Kane Shields (12R) has been selected to represent Australia at the Oceania Games for the 1500m in Mackay this June, at the same time that Ryan Chai (7S) will be competing at the NSW All Schools Swimming Championships. Congratulations gentlemen on such fantastic achievements. We wish you both all the best in your respective competitions.

Under 13s Rugby

Meanwhile, a fantastic success story from last weekend that has been the talk of the school this week is how the Year 7 under 13s rugby team celebrated a big win against Newington. Well done to the entire team on what was undoubtedly a satisfying victory, and we look forward to seeing your sporting development in the years ahead.

Year 12 Reports

Throughout this week I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the vast majority of Year 12 students to discuss their progress in the first six months of the HSC and how they plan to maximise their results for the remainder of their secondary studies. I have been consistently impressed with how each student has reflected on his results and study routines and articulated plans to reach his goals. It was great to see the boys being honest in their reflections and mapping out their next steps. We all look forward to seeing the Year 12s maximise their efforts in the lead up to their next assessments and the HSC itself.

Year 9 Reports

Next week I will be meeting with all boys in Year 9 to discuss their own educational progress. With fewer compulsory subjects (English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, PDHPE and Values Education) and the addition of two elective courses in their studies, given the newfound freedom to choose their pathway, students often start to really shine.

While we always encourage boys to have a mature approach to their studies, this becomes more important as they enter Stage 5. Not only do the skills and study routines developed in the junior school place students in good stead for success in their latter years of schooling, but Year 9 boys at High also complete all Stage 5 requirements for the mandatory History and Geography courses in the one year. These compacted courses provide an appropriate level of challenge for the boys, while also allowing them to pursue an additional elective in 2023.

Any Year 9 students who intend to pursue highly competitive electives with limited places next year, such as Robotics or accelerating in a Stage 6 course, will be evaluated against their performance across all assessments throughout 2022. Through reflecting on their results and approaches to learning, the boys will be able to build on their strengths and address any deficiencies in their learning to maximise their study options in Year 10.

Additionally, by this stage in their education the boys should be well on their way to independent learning. The ability to effectively manage their workload within an organised schedule that balances academic, co-curricular and social activities not only provides them with an excellent platform for the future, it also provides them with a sense of empowerment and achievement. Any students requiring assistance in these areas are ably supported by our wellbeing team to help develop these skills.

P & C Report

On a final note, at Monday’s P&C meeting we had the pleasure of hearing from Ms Cassandra Pride, our Head Teacher English. Ms Pride addressed the importance of English as a subject and how to better engage the boys in what is the only compulsory course for the HSC.

She went through the major challenges with boys studying English at Sydney High, how impactful the dedication of students to the subject can be on their success over time, as well as effective ways to study for English.

Many of the points Ms Pride raised were relevant to all aspects of our students’ academic development. In addition to the effective use of feedback, she introduced parents to Hermann Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve. As illustrated below, this illustrates the importance of ongoing revision for retention of information in the long term, which will ultimately develop more successful learners.

I want to thank Ms Pride for her presentation which provided a lot of invaluable information that was very warmly welcomed by all parents who logged in. I’m sure the parents will be looking forward to the next P&C meeting as various members of our school community continue to share their expertise.
Jamie Kay
Relieving Principal

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