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Principal's Newsletter, Week 5, Term 1, 2014

posted Feb 28, 2014, 10:47 PM by Unknown user

Principal’s Report


Our school community experienced the loss of two of our community members this week. Mr Richard Hoskin, son of Mr Jim Hoskin, founding Principal of JRAHS, passed away on February 19th. Mr Hoskin highly valued the school and his father’s legacy to education and was an annual presenter of one of our Dux awards at Awards Day. Mr Mal Scanes, Deputy of JRAHS between 1977 and 1980, passed away earlier this week. Mr Scanes became Principal of Blacktown Boys High School after his time at JRAHS. Mr Scanes was a talented Geographer and passionate Social Science teacher and donated our annual prize for Economics. We have passed on our sympathy and thoughts to both families.


Nominations for the Sydney Hills Youth Awards are open. To apply students must visit Nominations close 4pm Thursday 6th March 2014. All students have been emailed the brochure.


Thank you to Year 12 and their parents for attending the Information Night on Tuesday night. Ruth Fordyce, clinical psychologist and ex-student, Gabriel Wong, school counsellor and Melissa Jovanovic, our new school counsellor on Tuesday presented for us. The presentations gave practical strategies to ensure the complete success of students in their final year at school. Thank you to Ms St Louis, Mrs Mayers and Mr Neil Pakes, Year 12 Advisor, for attending.


On Wednesday, Year 8 participated in their first High Resolves Module, Collective Action. Our Year 10 High Resolves team were fabulous leaders on the day. Students reported that they had a wonderful day. Thank you Ms Jen Burgess for your organisation of the day and our entire High Resolves Leadership program.


It was fabulous to welcome back Niroshan Jeyakumar and Sing Young Chen (High Achievers of 2013) to our Mothers’ Club meeting. Leo Tan, father of Sharon Tan and Asiya Ha, mother of Saleem and Hakeem were awarded certificates to acknowledge their 13 years of service to the school, serving far beyond the graduation of their children. We have so many parents that so generously donate their time and energy to ensuring the school is a better place.


The parents of Year 12 2014 generously donated a large sum of money to support the students of the school. We have ordered tiered seating to be built beside the basketball courts. Hopefully it will arrive soon.


Last Friday a number of students were given the opportunity to meet Australia's 2011 Nobel Prize winner for Physics, Professor Brian Schmidt at UWS. Thank you to Mrs Pooviah, Mr Pitt and Mr Gengiah for organising this amazing experience.


Mrs Sheila Pooviah also spoke at our Mothers’ Club meeting, explaining the need for our Robotics club to reach out to our community for advice and assistance. Parents that have expertise in the fields of engineering, architecture, design or robotics might be willing to provide support through email if students need advice. If you would like to help please contact Mrs Pooviah through the school email.


At the Mothers’ Club meeting I discussed the changes that are occurring in the 2014 curriculum at JRAHS. I will attach the document for your information.


Our Year 7 Welcome BBQ and Information night will be held on Thursday, 6th March at 5pm. It will be great to meet our new families at this event. Our Year 11 Peer Support Leaders will entertain Year 7 students and their siblings while the Information Session occurs in the hall at 6pm.


Our Prefects continue to raise school spirit and our annual Dodgeball competition has begun.


The zone swimming carnival is held next week on Tuesday and Wednesday. We wish our competitors well. These events are very important for individual students but also for the reputation of the school. JRAHS often wins at zone level due to our talented swimmers and high level of participation. It is important that we nurture all the talents of our gifted swimmers. We wish then a wonderful experience at zone.


On March 18th at 7pm we have invited a guest speaker to the CoJR meeting to share our new study skills program (Elevate Education) and outline strategies on how parents can assist their students develop positive and effective study habits. We are implementing our new study skills program for all years, with particular skills needed being identified for each year. Year 12 have already participated in the program and the evaluations were very favourable.


Upcoming Events:

Tuesday 4th March       Zone Swimming

Wednesday 5th March  Zone Swimming

Thursday 6th March     Year 11 Crossroads Excursion to Ryda – this is a mandatory event for HSC                                                       accreditation.

                                    Year 7 Information Night and BBQ: 5- 7.30pm

Friday 7th March          French Australian Invitational Olympiad

                                    International Women’s Day

                                    Amnesty International Bake Sale

Monday 10th March      Brain Bee Round 1

Friday 14th March        Year 10 Agriculture Excursion

                                    Year 11 Brainstorm productions incursion

Saturday 15th and 16th  Duke of Edinburgh Silver Hike

Week 8B                      Year 10 Work experience, Year 7 Camp and HSC Assessments

Tuesday March 18th      Community of James Ruse meeting 7pm

                                    Guest Speaker – Elevate Education, our study skills program.

Wishing everyone a rewarding week 6B


Thank you

Megan Connors



Curriculum Changes in 2014



The new Australian curriculum is being implemented for Years 7& 9 this year. The new curriculum now requires the mandatory inclusion of many aspects of English that were taught in a more ad hoc manner; for example the inclusion of more Australian and Aboriginal material, a greater focus on engaging with the  literature of our Asian and Pacific neighbours and more explicit teaching of grammar and language. It is aimed at helping students develop a greater sense of social awareness and engagement with the world. Learning and assessment is still outcomes based and our half and yearly examinations for 7-10 will not change.


We have purchased a considerable number of new texts to this end and staff have had release days to write programmes that reflect the new requirements. This will continue throughout year.


Ms Adrienne Steele

Relieving Head Teacher English


Mathematics New Curriculum


The two major changes in the mathematics curriculum are the embedding of both cross-curriculum and general capabilities into the curriculum as well as including working mathematically in an integrated way.


Much of the content has remained the same. The organisation of content into multiple stages 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 rather than year levels has been retained. All James Ruse students complete up to the 5.3 level of mathematics. Content is now organised into 3 strands Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, Statistics and Probability.  Sub strands replace topics to better reflect the continuum of learning.  Working mathematically which comprises Communicating, Problem Solving, Reasoning, Understanding and Fluency is embedded into each sub strand. There has been some new material added and some content moved from Stage 4 to Stage 3. With the implementation of Primary only optional this year we will continue to teach some of these Stage 3 topics. The new topics are transformations in the Cartesian plane and Venn Diagrams in Stage 4 and bivariate data analysis into Stage 5. All programs and syllabus links can be found on the school intranet.


Ms Heather Weber

Head Teacher Mathematics


Science New Curriculum


The Australian Curriculum in Science provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of important science concepts and processes, the practices used to develop scientific knowledge, of science’s contribution to our culture and society, and its applications in our lives.


It has three interrelated strands: Science Understanding, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Inquiry Skills. Together, the three strands provide students with understanding, knowledge and skills through which they can develop a scientific view of the world. Students are challenged to explore science, its concepts, nature and uses through clearly described inquiry processes.


Science Understanding

Science understanding is evident when a person selects and integrates appropriate science knowledge to explain and predict phenomena and applies that knowledge to new situations. Science knowledge refers to facts, concepts, principles, laws, theories and models that have been established by scientists over time.


Science as a Human Endeavour

This strand highlights the development of science as a unique way of knowing and doing, and the role of science in contemporary decision making and problem solving.


Science Inquiry Skills

Science inquiry involves identifying and posing questions; planning, conducting and reflecting on investigations; processing, analysing and interpreting evidence; and communicating findings. This strand is concerned with evaluating claims, investigating ideas, solving problems, drawing valid conclusions and developing evidence-based arguments.


Relationship between the strands

In the practice of science, the three strands are closely integrated. The work of scientists reflects the nature and development of science, is built around scientific inquiry and seeks to respond to and influence society’s needs.


The new curriculum emphasizes 21st century thinking and learning skills and recognizes the importance of technology in the development of scientific knowledge and understanding. It aims for students to develop an ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions about current and future applications of science while taking into account ethical and social implications of decisions.


Ms Sheila Pooviah

Head Teacher Science

History and the Australian Curriculum – The Main Changes


History is now recognised as a core subject to be studied by all students across Australia, alongside English, Maths and Science. Prior to the introduction of this curriculum, History was only a mandatory course in NSW.


Whilst there is some continuity with the previous NSW History syllabus, there are also significant changes in relation to the content, skills and concepts that will be taught.


There is more content that needs to be taught in the Stage 4 Australian Curriculum. There are now 6 depth studies, which have been structured in a way that will ensure that students receive a broad education in global ancient and medieval History. All students complete the introductory topic ‘Investigating the Ancient Past’ which covers important historical skills and concepts. Then they proceed to study a range of elective options. The syllabus is structured in a way that requires teachers to explore the history of a range of diverse societies from several continents. Previously, it was possible for teachers to only focus on one or two regions of the world. At James Ruse, students will be studying Ancient Greece, Ancient China, Medieval Europe, The Spanish conquest of the Americas and Japan under the Shoguns. 


The content for Stage 5 has seen major change. Previously students studied 20th century Australian History only in Years 9 and 10. Now the curriculum has been broadened, with schools having much greater flexibility to teach electives of their own choosing. Four depth studies must be taught in Stage 5, two of which are compulsory: Australians at War and Rights and Freedoms. These compulsory topics will be taught in Year 9 at James Ruse. They are similar to what had been taught in the previous syllabus, but they cover the content in greater depth. The Rights and Freedoms topic has been expanded to include movements outside of Australia. In Year 10 two further elective depth studies will be taught commencing in 2015. At James Ruse students will study Chinese History from 1750 to 1918 and the Cold War.


A new feature of the Australian Curriculum is the introduction of ‘Overviews’. Each overview is taught for about 2 weeks and provides a context in which the depth studies can be placed. Students will be able to better understand how the depth study they are learning fits into broader historical developments in global history.


There are also concepts and skills that need to be embedded throughout the course.  Some of these, such as ‘Research’, ‘Explanation and Communication’ and ‘Analysis and use of Sources’ have always been an integral part of History teaching. However the new curriculum mandates the explicit teaching of additional concepts such as ‘Empathetic Understanding’ and ‘Contestability’ which had not been required in the previous syllabus. 


There is a much stronger emphasis in this new curriculum that students are not only to know about the past, but they are also to develop the skills that will enable them to think critically, empathise with different peoples,  and communicate effectively in a range of forms.


Mr Frank Federico

Head Teacher Human Society and Environment


The New HSC Prescriptions for English – starts in October 2014 for the present Year 11

The new HSC Area of Study, Electives and Texts will be implemented from Term 4 this year for students sitting for the HSC 2015. Staff welcome these changes which have been deliberated on for some time because of the potential impact of the Australian Curriculum. Finally the decision was made to maintain the current structure of the English courses. Students will continue to study an Area of Study: Discovery replaces Belonging and a variety of new texts have been prescribed. Students will also continue to study 3 modules. The changes to the modules are minimal. The focus of Module A remains the same: Comparative Study of Text and Context, however some of the texts have changed.  The focus of Module B remains: Critical Study of Text, and there are also a few changes to the prescribed texts. Module C retains its focus on Representation and Text however there are numerous changes to the texts prescribed for this module which offer some very interesting and exciting choices.


The English staff have been reading and viewing a number of the new texts so we can make a decision on the pattern of study students will follow. Staff have attended numerous inservices to help them make the best decisions on text selection.


The Extension 1 course electives basically remain the same. However we intend changing the Elective we study at James Ruse. We have done “Navigating the Global” for some 5 years now and look forward to the new elective “Romanticism”.  Changes have been made for students studying Extension 1 in Year 11 2014 who will follow a pattern of study to prepare them for this new elective.


Extension 2 remains the same.


Ms Adrienne Steele

Relieving Head Teacher English



SRC Voting

On Monday all students voted for their SRC representatives. Each class will have a captain and vice-captain for the year. Those students then form the SRC.  The year 11 students then are nominated for the senior executive positions. That is President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Minutes secretary. As well as bringing up new ideas and projects for the school and raising money for many charities, the SRC plan a whole week of activities for the last day of term 2. It is always an exciting week based on a theme. In the past we have had pirates and their shenanigans and also secret agents and their missions for a week of fun.


2014 Senior Executive for the SRC

President                      Brendan Ma

Vice President              Leo Tan

Treasurer                     Bob He

Secretary                     Conny Tran

Minutes Secretary       Stephanie Wu


SRC 2014





Daniel Chen

Amy Nee Lee


Francis Yang

Edwin Xu


Matthew Shu

Jocelyn Hon


Tony Kim

Tracey Le


Martin Zeng

Michael Kim


Daniel Selvadurai

Jack Yu


Natalie Chui

Amanda Lee


Wayne Wong

Anirudh Chennapragada





Winston Woong

Fayanne Cui


Andy Cai

Marina Cao


Sanchit Gupta

Simon Jing


Annie Lin

Michael Budiarto


Michael Yoon

Dylam Vom





Jeffrey Khoo

Raymond Cheng


Joel Jensen

Bridget Huang


Darius Zhu

Yoshua Selvadurai


Jin Yoon

Aaron Lawrence


Sriganesh Thavalingam

Joanne Liu





Leo Tan

Sarah Cui


Brendan Ma

Stephanie Wu


Patrick Song

Annette Onodi


Conny Tran

Andy Wang


Becky Chen

Roger Guo


Bob He

Wiley Ye





Abishek Goyal

Vincent Liang


Jackson Zou

David Chen


Yue Yue Miao

Roderick Choi


Christina lee

Kuhan Perumynar


Michelle Xu

William Liang


Allan Lin

Chenchen Bao





Annetta St Louis

Deputy Principal