High Notes, Vol 23 No 35, November 11 2022

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From the Principal

School Counsellors and Psychologists Recognition Day

This week on November 10, school communities celebrate the important work of School Counsellors and Psychologists. This day is intended to be a time to celebrate the contribution, collaboration and care that the counselling service staff  add to our school communities.  Because their work is confidential and carried out behind closed doors, School Counsellors do not have the public profile of other members of staff. They have a large caseload, often including very complex and time-consuming matters. They must interact with many departmental and community officers and stakeholders, requiring advanced communication, negotiation and liaison skills. They have to develop relationships with students who are traumatised or suffering from various mental illnesses. Their job is very important but unpublicised.  Thank you to our School Counsellors – Estelle Harman and Jan Noakes for all the work they do for our students’ wellbeing.


Interpreting Year 9 Reports – Semester 2

Students in Year 9 should have collected their yearly reports by the end of Week 5.  There are often violent fluctuations in rank order as a few marks can determine the difference between a D and a HD.  Many boys have really taken to their electives and have achieved well in Semester 2. Parents should be aware that boys who have decided to discontinue an elective after Year 9 for any reason, may have reduced their effort, with a negative impact on their overall result.  Also, those who will not continue core subjects (such as History or Geography) may lose motivation and not perform to their potential in those two subjects. Such actions can also result in large movements in the rank order.

Encourage your son to maintain a high standard in the core subjects, English, Mathematics and Science, as these are compulsory in Year 10.  An honest effort ought to be applied to all subjects while students are enrolled in them. ‘N’ awards may be issued in Year 9 for History and Geography students as these are Stage 5 compressed curriculum courses. Failure to resolve Stage 5 warning letters may result in denial of entry into Stage 6 courses.  

Many boys apply for entry into acceleration courses.  The procedure for entry is published on our website at sydneyboys-h.schools.nsw.gov.au/Sydney High Community /curriculum/ subject acceleration. Head Teachers consider applications and make recommendations to the Principal on the Individual Learning Plans signed off by parents and submitted by students.  Students need to be in the top 100 students to qualify for acceleration and the ‘online learning elective’(OLE). The rank order is one used for dux calculations and is calculated using marks, not points as for the HD-D-credit-PM-P system (6-5-3-2-1).  Mr Dowdell uses z-scores to track the contribution of the results of each subject to the overall rank.  

We expect to see the subject that a student wants to accelerate in close to the strongest that a student is undertaking in Year 9. Students who are denied entry to an acceleration course have a right of appeal if they consider they have met the criteria for entry and they have the strong support of the teacher who is currently teaching them in the subject. We accept around 60 boys into acceleration each year.  About 50 each year complete their HSC in their accelerated course. There is always a safety net for those who, for whatever reason, do not go on to complete the Stage 6 course.  

Mr Kay is assigning Year 9 students to their electives and to their acceleration and online courses this week, based upon their submitted preferences. Parents should peruse the learning behaviours profile on their son’s report. We expect at least ‘usually’ if not ‘consistently’ for these behaviours. We aggregate these learning behaviours to produce a list of those judged by teachers as having too frequent ‘sometimes’ or ‘rarely’ ratings. Year advisers are made aware of these students at our report meetings.  There is a high correlation between the names on the monitoring register for achievement and those on the learning behaviours list.

Cars travelling on school grounds

Parents and visitors to the school are reminded that they must travel at a safe speed (10km/h) whilst in the school grounds.  When entering from Cleveland Street by Gate 2 they should park rear to the buildings or tennis courts. Doing so will assist their vision when exiting through an area frequently busy with boys walking to and from the gymnasium. Parents are asked NOT to travel up Cutler Drive in the mornings.  Staff use that driveway from the east.  The designated area for drop off is between Gates 1 and 2. Parents and visitors should avoid using the Anzac Parade entrances to drop off their sons. If they have to come that way, they should come into the carpark before dropping off as halting in or near the gates blocks other traffic.  They should then proceed to exit by Gate 10.

Three-point turns in the bus bay area at the end of the gymnasium have posed serious risks to students coming up from The Flat, walking beside the Great Hall and the buses or walking along the path next to the tennis courts and coming down the stairs. The bus bay area is not a drop-off point for students.  Parents should drive in Gate 1, drop off their sons and drive out Gate 2, as per school policy.  Please be vigilant in the interests of the safety of our boys!
Dr K A Jaggar

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