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March 2011 - from the Principal

posted Apr 10, 2012, 5:39 PM by Eddie Woo
The year began with students concerned about the plight of others. All fund raising efforts, including Valentine’s Day celebrations, have gone to flood victims in Australia and earthquake victims in New Zealand. 

Maroon for a Day All of us have been shocked and moved by the devastation caused by the Queensland floods. Along with hundreds of other schools around NSW, our students wanted to lend a hand. So, on Thursday 17 February, we participated in Maroon for a Day. All the money collected went towards assisting Queensland public schools affected by the floods. The floods damaged more than 90 Queensland public schools. Six TAFE institutes and more than 80 government child care centres have also been affected. 

Retirement of Mr Ray Lees Thank you to Mr Lees for teaching students at James Ruse AHS for the 35 years. He has worked with five principals, scores of teachers and thousands of students. He leaves a strong legacy at the school, especially in economics. We wish Mr Lees all the best in the next stage of his life. The process to appoint a new Head Teacher has begun. We should know the result before the end of term. 

Promotion of Ms Kerrie Wratten Congratulations to Ms Wratten, who has been appointed via a merit selection process to the position of principal of Hurlstone Agricultural College. 

New Deputy Principal Congratulations to Ms Annetta St Louis, who has been appointed our new deputy principal. Ms St Louis’s view is that every day at James Ruse is magic and is looking forward to starting her new role in Term 2. We will start the process to fill the HT English vacancy in Term 2. Welcome to new staff In English we have Ms Sree Ragendra, Ms Emily Yong, Ms Margie Birbara . In Science we have Mr Peter Robbison and Mr Lou Biali. In Visual Arts we have Ms Narelle Kathryn. In HSIE we have Mr Nathan Drayson and Mr John Dunkerley. In Agriculture we have Mr Greg Bruce. Welcome to new instrumental staff We are very fortunate to welcome the following instrumental staff to support our band program; Mr Jon Collins (percussion); Mr Ed Diefes (Tuba); Mr Anthony Grimm (Bassoon); Mr Nathan Henshaw (saxophone/clarinet); Mr John Lewis (clarinet/saxophone); Ms Noelene Neidek (oboe); Ms Lisa Osmialowski (flute); Ms Christine Pringle (French horn); Ms Elena Suuronen (trombone/euphonium) and Mr Adam Tompkins (trumpet). They are all outstanding musicians and instrumental teachers. Our students are very fortunate. 

Congratulations to Mr Patrick Wong Mr Wong was successful in winning a place in a wonderful music program, the Centre for Musical Excellence Winter Piano Festival Academy in New York, with Watchung Arts Center (NJ), Rutgers University (NJ) & Steinway Hall (NY). He studied with teachers from Juilliard and Manhattan Music School in lessons, master classes and recitals for two weeks. This was an internationally competitive process with only 12 successful applicants. This was an amazing experience for Mr Wong. We look forward to him sharing all he learned with his students. 

Welcome to New Year 11 students Ms Connors, Ms McMillan and I had lunch with our new Year 11 students over several lunchtimes. It was interesting to talk to them about their expectations, their challenges and their dreams. Our year 11 newbies 2010 have organised a buddy system to support these students in their first year at our school. 

NSW Music representation Congratulations to Sheree Nguyen, who has been chosen for the NSW String Sinfonia Musical This year's musical will be The Boyfriend by Sandy Wilson, a musical comedy set in the 1920s. Rehearsals have commenced. Parent meetings At the Community of James Ruse meeting this term and at the Mothers’ club meeting Ms Connors reported on the HSC results, 2010, where the students both raised the bar (12 students with a top ATAR of 99.95; 74% of results over 90 ie a Band 6) and closed the gap between our top and lowest ATAR’s! At the Mother’s Club, Shi Ling Kou, one of our top achievers, described her goal achievement strategies and gave suggestions for parental support. Again, it was good to talk to parents, and to be able to answer questions. Our strength lies in the way parents and the school work together. Tuesday 8 March was International Women’s day. It wass the 100th anniversary of the first IWD celebration. International Women's Day (IWD) is a global event that celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. We focused on a range of classroom activities to mark the event, as well as participating in a range of external events such as Women in Science at Macquarie University, Women in Film at Parliament House and the UNIFEM IWD breakfast. Alexandra Au won the IWD speaking competition run by Baulkham Hill Council. Premier’s reception. Ms Mcmillan attended Parliament House on 8 March with Charmaine Lo, winner of the IWD poster, where Charmaine received her prize money ($500) and that of the school ($1000). They were in demand for photographs, and for conversations with the politicians. The press were interested in Charmaine saying her prize money would go to help fund her school Cambodian trip, where she would be working with our other students and teachers at the Shades for Aids orphanage. The school prize money will be put towards International Women’s Day celebrations next year. 

AMOC Mathematics Olympiad Selection School Congratulations to Nancy Fu (11), Victor Khou(11), Rachel Wong (10) and Jonathan Zheng (10) who have been invited to the selection school from 10 – 19 April at Macquarie. They will be competing for a place in the six member team to compete in Amsterdam in July. 

Computational Linguistics Congratulations to all of our seven teams who participated in the State finals. Two of our teams gained second and third place, and so will compete in the nationals. The winning team came from North Sydney GHS. Whichever team wins get to compete in Los Angeles. Well done to Benn Zhu, Monica Tay, Carmen Cheng, Bonita Gu (second) and to Kynan Ngai, Leo Huang, Kenneth Hui and Alice Li. All these students will now compete for the national title on 30 March. Global Student Challenge A James Ruse AHS team (WJB) has been identified as one of 30 finalists in the Global Student Challenge conducted by the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. Congratulations to Beryl Lin, William Lin and Johnny Huang, who will be off to Hong Kong for the week of 11 – 17 June 2011 to compete in the final stages of the competition. 

Informatics Olympiad School Congratulations to Leo Huang (11), Joshua Lau (10), and Evgeny Martynov (12) who have been accepted into the Informatics Training school from 10 – 20 April at Macquarie Uni. 

Australian Mathematical Olympiad: Congratulations to the following students. Gold Certificate: Nancy Fu Silver Certificate: Victor Khou, Rachel Wong, Allan Zhang. Bronze Certificate: Brian Gao, Chris Gu, Jonathan Zheng, Kevin Guo Invited participants: Babitha Selvananthan, Justin Wang, Karen Gong, Richard Kim, Ben Nam,, Kevin Shi, Patrick Oh, Patrick Song, Yang Song, Wilson Liu, Vivian Qin, Allan Lin, Judy Xu. 

UWS Scholarships Congratulations to Abishana Gnaneswaran and Romesh Rajaratnam (from Year 12 2010) who have both been awarded one of the five UWS Vice Chancellor’s Leadership Scholarships and the Aspire Future leaders program, valued at up to $50000. 

Dobell School Congratulations to Lena Li (who last year participated in the Digital Masterclass at UWS) and Eunice Lim. Both of their applications to the Dobell School at the National Art School have been successful. 

2011 Australian Junior Championships Congratulations to Mudith Jayadekara (9) who has qualified for the NSW Athletics Team at the Olympic Athletic Centre from 10 – 14 March. Mudith will be competing on the U16 100 m sprint on 14 March. He won a bronze medal in the NSW All Schools 2010 U14 100m sprint. 

International Table Tennis Congratulations to Erny Tsao who will represent Australia in Guam from 18th to 25th of April 2011 in the Oceania Cadet (U15) Boys Challenge and the Guam GJC (Global Junior Circuit) - Cadet (U15) Boys Team. Erny has competed in the NSW Youth (U21) Table Tennis Closed Championships . The Championships is a NSW State Youth (U21) qualifying tournament. Erny has won 3 Medals as follows: two silver medals in U21 Men's Singles and U21 Men's Doubles; and a gold Medal in U21 Mixed Doubles. Erny will probably represent NSW to play in the Australian Youth Championships in June this year. 

2011 National Junior Table Tennis Congratulations to Sarah Tan (8k) who has been selected in the 2011 National Junior Table Tennis Squad. She has been selected to represent Australia at the upcoming world Junior Circuit event due to be held in Dededo, Guam, from 18 – 25 April 2011. She is in the U/15 Girls team. 

Fresh Ink Young Writers Ensemble Congratulations to Alexandra Au of Year 11 who has successfully auditioned for this ensemble. The ensemble is a select group of gifted and talented writers from Year 10, 11 and 12 who meet once a week on Tuesdays (5.00 – 700pm) at the Australian Theatre for Young People at Walsh Bay throughout the school year. Alexandra is involved in a range of skills development workshops with specialist tutors from the performing arts industry. This will lead to a presentation of rehearsed readings from her work to be presented in June 2011. 

Value –adding and MySchool Despite my trying to explain to some journalists that NAPLAN is a very blunt instrument, some still don’t get it. NAPLAN was not structured to differentiate growth for the top 3 %. Our students are achieving at the very top end in Year 7; they again achieve at the very top end in Year 9. A different type of test would be able to measure this growth. We have our own tests that measure this growth. However, NAPLAN does not have questions that can show this growth, so growth is not shown on the website. All that is shown is that our students achieved the best in the country. Congratulations to Year 8 and 10, and to all our teachers. From its inception NAPLAN has not been able to discriminate at the top end. For selective schools, it is not a very useful measure to demonstrate either value adding, or for targeting students who need extra support. The media makes much of it, but selective high school principals have seen presentations from the Educational Measurement Directorate that the results have little validity for us. 

Larissa Treskin