Report: P&C meeting 12th Feb 2013

Principal’s Report

Dr Curry is very appreciative of the increasing numbers of parents attending the P&C meetings, noting that a good working relationship between parents and the school is beneficial to both.

He is thrilled with the splendid results awarded to our 2012 HSC candidates, which places the school 11th in the state rankings.

The school orchestra is very lucky to have conductor Richard Gill, the music director of the Victorian Opera, on the podium for the first concert for the year.  Mr. Gill is an exceptional educator and a staunch supporter of the Con High School.

Relations with the recently appointed Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Professor Karl Kramer, are excellent.   Prof Kramer was instrumental in bringing Christopher Azzara, Professor of Music Education and Affiliate Faculty of Jazz Studies at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester to visit the school during the week of March 18 2013.

Christopher Azzara will attend classes to discuss classroom work with teachers and students, especially regarding education standards.  Dr Curry is looking forward to discussing Mr Azzara’s extensive research into ways of identifying children with the aptitude and abilities who would thrive in a selective music school like the Conservatorium High School.  Christopher Azzara is also a top notch jazz pianist and improviser.

Treasurer’s Report

Kathy Drayton tabled the financial report. Full report kept on file. Of note:

  • P&C finances are looking very healthy. $40,743.45 in investment acct, $19,400.90 in chq acct. The P&C earned $29,355.45 after operating costs and spent $16,805.45 on two new instruments for the school in 2012.
  • As part of a Fuji Buy Back Scheme, the school was reimbursed $12,000 for their old photocopier. The School has given this money back to the P&C as they provided the funds to purchase the new one in 2011.
  • Last year saw the need to buy a new BBQ and after much consultation and research a high quality catering BBQ was purchased with the view to it playing a heavy role in raising funds through Café Cantata for a long time to come. The Café has seen a marked increase in revenue since introducing Sausage Sizzles in the second half of 2012. The Cafe’s profits for the year increased by approx $5,000 when compared to funds raised in 2011. Kathy Drayton needs the assistance of a parent or two to properly assemble the bbq before the first Saturday café in April. RT offered up her husband who works in the city.
  • Helpful profits last year came from the Uniform shop, the voluntary levy and membership from parents, and Café Cantata.
  • A Double Bass is next on the wish list and Dr Curry mentioned the possibility of purchasing a synthetic instrument rather than the traditional and expensive wooden one.  He has seen and heard a cello made from carbon-fibre material.  It is not only economical (allowing the purchase of other, much needed instruments) and hard wearing, but also sounds beautiful.
  • Dr Curry also took this opportunity to announce that the CHS had recently purchased a brand new Fazioli piano from Italy, offering an excellent opportunity for students to play an exceptionally fine instrument, and also for ex-students to inspire our current pianists with.

Changes for the Conservatorium High School in 2013

  1. Small ensembles program
    The High School has now purchased a variety of new instruments and equipment to launch an updated version of Chamber Music for Years 8 and 9. It is called ‘Small Ensembles’ and sees a move away from a program that involved primarily classical music and a little jazz at times, to one that will encourage the children to explore a wide variety of new styles of music with new instruments. The purchases include an electric guitar, a bass, amplifiers, ukuleles, an electric drum kit etc. This is aimed at extending the students’ repertoire as well as better developing their group ensembles skills before they move into more challenging chamber music.
  2. New Music education Lectureship appointment in Sydney Conservatorium of Music
    The school is pleased by the appointment of James Humberstone to a Music Education Lectureship in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.  Mr Humberstone is a quality performer and educator who has also worked in the Sibelius IT department and has done excellent research into music education.  While the University employs him, some exciting collaborations have already been planned with the High School and both the children and the teachers will benefit enormously from his expertise, energy and research initiatives.
  3. School timetabling changes
    The school has long struggled with the issue of tutor availability in the students’ lunch hour and has this year reorganised the timetable to accommodate three separate lunchtimes. Years 7-8, years 9-10 and years 11-12 will all enjoy different lunchtimes, allowing greater flexibility for lessons with tutors. An added benefit is the availability of the SCM Bistro to the high school students, as they will now arrive in manageable numbers. It has been made clear to the students that the school still takes very seriously its obligation to restrict access to ‘red label’ foods and for ease of enforcement of this policy hot chips (and chewing gum, soft drinks, lollies etc) will certainly be (and have already been) confiscated. There are plenty of affordable (on presentation of their student cards) and healthy options available to the children.Q: For year 7 students unaccustomed to the idea, is it common to have lessons in lunch hour?Ian Barker:  Yes, all students do it and it is the reason for lunch ‘hour’ as opposed to 40 mins like other schools and also the reason for multiple lunches which has been a huge challenge for timetabling. Another parent voiced appreciation for the school offering Extension Mathematics classes at lunchtime. Dr Curry pointed out that the new lunch timetabling reflected the schools determination to do whatever it takes to resist pressure to revert to lessons during school lesson times.
  4. School requests
    RC requests the P&C to continue to provide funds to cover half the cost of a house advisor.  The house advisors have an invaluable role at the school, easing the job of the School Counselor, Ros Isles, by dealing with many issues before they escalate into a counsellor issue.  The P&C funds approx $3000 a year for the staff member. The department only provides funding for 2 house advisors. It was regrettably discovered that funding needed to include back-pay for 2012.Q: Can the outdoor area be improved for students?IB has looked into seating outside as well as a sail cover for bad weather. The linoleum area outside the canteen is also unattractive and while students are not to eat there, it currently becomes necessary in bad weather.The P&C would be interested in discussing quality tables and seating in the indoor canteen area, for customers of Café Cantata and also for students to use when eating dinner boxes before concerts.Q: Could there be a yr 12 area there?IB: How to best to use such areas effectively in the school is a pertinent issue, but currently there is not a designated room for yr 12. It has been tried in the past but not without serious problems, not least of which include losing an active classroom in such a space-challenged school as this one. The new uniform room was considered for yr 12, but the pressing needs of the shop gave it precedence, especially as yr 12 can use the University café and are also free to use the AMP building down the road.

    Q: Is the Cafe just for P&C now? Are there no more breakfasts there?

  • RC: Ewan Simpson’s book on last 75 yrs of Con High is in preparation. This could do with a section on the history of the CHS P&C.
  • LC: Hopefully there is a parent historian at the school who would be interested in this task. Call for parent to be placed in the Newsletter.
  • RC informed the meeting that due to a salary deferment scheme he would be taking leave in 2017 during which time Ian Barker would be Acting School Principal, seeing Dr Curry return in 2018 for the school’s centenary celebrations. This exciting event would require active parent participation.
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