The Auracle – Vol. 24, April 2018

 

From the Principal’s desk

Aurora College continues to attract the attention of the wider education community for our innovative approaches to curriculum delivery. On 21 March, staff at the coordinating office hosted a delegation of educators from Canada. Our northern hemisphere colleagues were visiting from Manitoba, a province bordered by Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west.

The delegation comprised seven district supervisors who work with rural schools in a landscape of lakes and rivers, mountains, forests and prairies stretching from the northern Arctic tundra to Hudson Bay in the east and the farmlands of the south. The delegates were keen to learn how Aurora is connecting students and teachers in rural and remote NSW and to hear about the many opportunities we offer. The group was very impressed with what they saw and departed with many ideas which they hope to implement in their own part of the world.

Earlier this week, we also had the pleasure of a visit by Murat Dizdar, Deputy Secretary School Operations and Performance, NSW Department of Education. Murat spent Tuesday morning talking with students and staff about our work and listening to our plans for the future. Following his visit, Murat very kindly tweeted the following message:

“Pleasure to visit @AuroraCollegeAU this morning to speak with Chris Robertson & his staff. Enjoyed hearing how we cater for our gifted & talented students who live in rural & remote areas across NSW. I observed a Yr 7 science class & took a virtual tour of the school. Inspiring!”

Murat Dizdar (facing the camera) with our Director Public Schools, Sharon Ford (right) and staff at the coordinating office.

As reported previously, a significant component of our plans for the future is the virtual opportunity class pilot. Aurora is currently receiving expressions of interest from primary schools in rural and remote NSW to take part in this ground-breaking program.

The pilot will establish three hubs in rural and remote NSW and will commence in Semester 2, 2018 and conclude at the end of the 2019 school year. Interested schools and/or groups of schools wishing to be part of the pilot should complete and submit an expression of interest by Friday 4 May 2018. For further information, visit http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/teach/opportunity-class-pilot/.

The Aurora College State Reference Group (SRG) undertakes ongoing consultation, development and review of the Aurora College model. Members include the college’s senior executive and representatives from the teaching staff, primary and secondary school principals, and senior officers of the Department. Your parent representatives on the SRG are Andrew Strachan (andrew@blueribbon.net.au) and Genie McMullen (geniemc_us@yahoo.com).

The brief of this reference group is to provide strategic advice to the Executive Directors, Learning and Leadership, Wagga, Tamworth and Connected Communities with respect to Aurora College, to improve learning outcomes for participating students and to inform future delivery of the curriculum. The SRG meets each month via video conference. A full-day face-to-face meeting of the group will take place in Sydney on Friday 11 May.

At the meeting in Sydney, the group will review the results of recent surveys of all key stakeholders. This data will help inform the future directions of the college, including in relation to the Stage 6 Enrolment Policy. On behalf of the SRG, I would like to thank you for your input into this process. In the next edition of The Auracle, we will provide a summary of your feedback.

The surveys also provide our school with invaluable base-line data for the planning cycle 2018-2020. Throughout 2017, our school and every other NSW public school, was engaged in an ongoing process of planning, self-assessment, reporting and validation. Supporting all NSW public schools in this process, the School Excellence Framework provides a clear description of the key elements of high-quality practice across the three domains of learning, teaching and leading.

The School Excellence Framework underpins the approach in NSW public schools to school planning and reporting. School planning focuses on three key areas for improvement to ensure a measurable difference to the ongoing growth and development of the school. The Aurora College School Plan 2018-2020 describes the purpose of three strategic directions for our school:

  • to develop a learning environment that promotes a culture of high expectations and which informs, guides and nurtures all students so they may achieve their goals and aspirations
  • to ensure a challenging, engaging and responsive learning environment underpinned by high quality, collaborative planning, programming, assessing and reporting practices, which maximise the potential of every learner
  • to ensure best practice teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy skills, so that all students may access the widest possible curriculum and participate fully in society.

The Aurora College School Plan 2018-2020 and Annual School Report 2017 can be viewed on our website at http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/school-excellence/.

Are you following Aurora on Facebook? If not, you are missing out on regular updates about all that is happening in our school. To stay in the loop, go to http://www.facebook.com/AuroraCollegeAU

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Chris Robertson

Principal

Deputy’s report

Residential school

Our first residential school for 2018 was held from Monday 5 March to Friday 9 March at Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, Narrabeen. Students and staff travelled from all parts of the state to enjoy a wide range of curricula and extra-curricula activities.

An educational and fun-filled program included student’s participating in a range of activities. Year 7 and 8 visited Taronga Zoo and took part in a special program run by Sport and Recreation allowing them to select from a range of activities, these included sailing, rock climbing, archery and many more. Years 9 and 10 participated in sport and recreation activities such as paddle boarding, abseiling and high ropes, followed by an interactive tour of the State Library and the Sydney Observatory. On Thursday, Years 9 and 10 and our senior students visited ANSTO and took a guided tour of this fascinating facility. Our senior students also had the opportunity to participate in Chemistry or Physics practical sessions over two days at Sydney University.

Planning for our second residential school program is well underway. It will be held in Canberra from Monday 29 October to Friday 2 November. Details will be forwarded to parents and students early in Term 3.

Reports

Interim reports will be issued via email and the Sentral parent portal (https://aurora.sentral.com.au/portal) on Friday 6 April. This interim report describes how your child has begun the new academic year, identifying areas in which he or she might require further attention or support. It is also an opportunity to make contact with teachers in each subject about student progress.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s progress or well-being, please contact the coordinating office by phone on 1300 287 629 or email auroracoll-h.school@det.nsw.edu.au.

Coordinator of the term

Ms Laura Mills is our nominated ‘star Aurora College Coordinator’ this term. As a new Aurora Coordinator, she has shown herself to be very proactive and has taken the initiative to implement processes that support Aurora students at Nowra High School, which has one of our largest Aurora cohorts in the state.

Along with her duties as Aurora College Coordinator, Laura is also the science practical coordinator for Nowra High. Laura has excelled at completing timetable plans and forwarding relevant documentation. Thank you for doing a great job, Laura!

Assessment handbooks and Scope and Sequences

Assessment handbooks and scope and sequences are now available in Sentral via the parent portal link. This will allow parents to further support their children by accessing timelines for formal assessment tasks and topic outlines of specific subjects.

Technology update

A reminder that students should be connecting to their virtual classrooms on a Department of Education computer supplied by their home school. The following guides are for health and safety issues related to laptop use:

A parent’s guide to spinal health and laptop safety

Safe laptop use for students 

Please contact Ben Hillsley by telephone on 1300 610 733 or email AuroraCollegeITSupport@det.nsw.edu.au for further information or assistance with technical issues.

What’s coming up next term?

  • Term 2 Aurora lessons begin Tuesday 1/5/18
  • Year 12 academic reports issued by 14/5/18
  • Year 11 academic reports issued by 8/6/18
  • Year 7-10 academic reports issued by 25/6/18

Virginia Cluff

R/Deputy Principal

Back to top

National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence – eSafety collaborations

National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence 2018

During March, we again partnered with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to host two webinars in our virtual learning environment for the National Day of Action Against Bully and Violence.

For this event, we were joined by 15,650 students from 258 government primary schools from across rural and remote NSW. The National Day of Action Against Bully and Violence followed an earlier collaboration celebrating Safer Internet Day at which we hosted 19,783 students from over 316 schools.

Aurora College is exploring other programs we can run with the eSafety Commissioner.

Further information for parents, students, and educators about eSafety and how to have safe and positive experiences online is available on the eSafety website.

Bullying resources for students and parents

Students who have seen or experienced bullying should contact the school for support or access strategies from the department’s Anti-bullying website.

Parents who have a child involved with bullying can also access guides from the same website.

Sharleen Mulawin

R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

Back to top

Residential report

Our first residential school in 2018 was a great success with 227 students travelling to the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, Narrabeen. A range of exciting activities took place during the week with the highlight for most students and teachers being seeing their friends and peers in real life!!

Click here to view an infographic on the Term 1 Residential School.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sharleen Mulawin

R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

Back to top

Faculty news

Scientific

Is it unbelievable that we are at the end of our first school term? Well, here is the past, present and future news from our science faculty.

We had an incredible amount of fun during our residential in Sydney. Teachers and students had the opportunity to enjoy and share activities from lessons to wonderful excursions.

Jordyn Chapple (Year 10, Parkes High School) shares her experience at ANSTO:

The nuclear reactor at ANSTO

On Thursday 8 March, Years 9-12 travelled by bus to Lucas Heights to visit Australia’s only nuclear reactor. Before going onto the site, I knew very little about the nuclear reactor and its functions. I was very surprised to learn that the site is used for research, and does not actually produce energy for power.

OPAL is the name of the nuclear reactor. OPAL stands for Open Pool Australian Light Water Reactor, and one of its main roles is to produce vital nuclear medicine that is used everyday across hospitals in Australia and overseas. The rector is relatively small and sits at the bottom of a 13 metre deep pool of water to safely absorb any radiation.

Inside the OPAL, nuclear fission takes place. Fission is the splitting of atoms, which produces neutrons that can be used for many purposes. Uranium is used in OPAL, and the fission happens like a chain reaction, so that when one atom splits, there is another one that then does the same thing. The reaction is very controlled and multiple safety mechanisms are in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

There was a room called the neutron guide hall, full of machines that are named after Australian animals. The machines use neutron beams that come from the OPAL reactor. The machines were high intensity and high-resolution power diffractometers. WOMBAT is a high intensity power diffractometer, which can measure light elements when there are heavy ones present. ECHIDNA is a high-resolution power diffractometer that can determine the structure of new materials. 

After a day of guided tours through the site, we got to go into the discovery centre which gave us a fun way to look at the amount of radiation in objects such as uranium glass, and even ourselves.

An opportunity exists later in the year at the Big Ideas Forum,  for Year 10 students to go to ANSTO for a week and have their ‘Big Idea’ explored. For further information, visit http://www.ansto.gov.au/Events/BigIdeas/index.htm

I really enjoyed myself and it was a great place to go for the day.

VALID 2017 results

Congratulations all our 2017 Year 10 students (and science teachers) on their outstanding VALID results. VALID is a standardised online science test in which students apply their scientific knowledge in everyday situations. Our results show that 68% of our students achieved the highest level band compared with only 8% of the state and 43% of students in all the selective high schools in NSW. Congratulations again and keep up the excellent learning and work ethic that all of you display.

ANCQ

A Google form was sent to all our students to enrol in the ANCQ, an international chemistry competition. If you would like to participate, please enrol by the end of this month (April). Aurora College is paying for all student entries. Here is the link to the enrolment form if you have misplaced our email.

Helpful advice on assessments

Assessments are on the way for Years 7, 9 and 10. Theses are published in the STILE platform. Take a few minutes to read the following advice:

  • Read the marking criteria before you submit your assessment, so you don’t miss anything and loose marks.
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute!
  • Ask questions in class to clarify your understanding about what is expected.
  • Extend your responses using valid references.

Our HSC senior students are in exam week. We wish them all the best. A higher achievement is a clear reflection of dedication and hard work, not only ‘good brains’, so maintain a positive attitude towards your learning.

Science practicals

We sincerely thank all the science teachers in our partner schools for teaching working scientifically skills to our students. A reminder that the discussion questions and conclusion of all experiments must be entered in STILE for the Aurora College class teachers to mark. Your practical marks are part of the portfolio assessment which is due next term.

Australian Brain Bee Challenge 

This year, three Aurora College students Jordyn Chapple (Year 10, Parkes High School), Ayla Hausen (Year 10, Kyogle High School) and Nutthinee Sirising (Year 10, Kyogle High School) entered the Australian Brain Bee Challenge and we wish them luck in Round 1.

The Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) is a competition for high school students in Year 10 in which they learn about the brain and its functions, learn about neuroscience research, find out about careers in neuroscience and dispel misconceptions about neurological and mental illnesses.

The program was started in Australia in 2006 to address a number of deficiencies in the public’s perception of science in general, and neuroscience in particular. The ABBC provides current and accurate information on the latest advances in neuroscience research, its value to the community, and promote careers in science and technology.

Round 1 is held during Brain Awareness Week. Students study the book Neuroscience: Science of the Brain. An Introduction for Young Students by The British Neuroscience Association (BNA) and European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB). They then complete an online quiz in their schools under exam conditions to determine their knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the brain.

The legacy of Stephen Hawking (article adapted from New Scientist, March 2018)

Stephen Hawking (died aged 76) holds an iconic status not only in the scientific community but also in the media which had amplified his life due to his disability and that often overshadowed his scientific legacy. His genre-defining book, A Brief History of Time, has sold more than 10 million copies since its publication in 1988 and has been translated into more than 35 languages.

Professor Hawking appeared on many television programs. He had a charming and blunt sense of humour and an intrepid attitude. However, his legacy has a paradox, for the man who discovered what might prove to be the key clue to the theory of everything.

Hawking’s equation

The Bekenstein-Hawking entropy equation is the one Hawking asked to have engraved on his tombstone. It represents the combination of physical disciplines because it contains:

  • Newton’s constant, which clearly relates to gravity
  • Planck’s constant, which betrays quantum mechanics at play
  • the speed of light, the talisman of Einstein’s relativity
  • the Boltzmann constant, the representative of thermodynamics.

The presence of these diverse constants coded the theory of everything, in which all physics is unified. Furthermore, it strongly corroborated Hawking’s original idea that understanding black holes would be the key to unlocking that deeper theory.

So, a paradox is born in analysing how information in and out of a black hole behaves. If black holes can radiate, they will eventually evaporate and disappear. So what happens to all the information that fell in? Does it vanish too? If so, it will violate a central rule of quantum mechanics. On the other hand, if it escapes from the black hole, it will violate Einstein’s theory of relativity.

With the discovery of black hole radiation, Hawking had pit the ultimate laws of physics against one another. But Hawking argued that when a black hole radiates away its mass, it takes all of its information with it – despite the fact that quantum mechanics expressly forbids information loss. Soon other physicists would pick sides, for or against this idea, in a debate that continues to this day. Indeed, many feel that information loss is the most pressing obstacle in understanding quantum gravity.

Stephen Hawking’s mind was one of a kind, after Einstein. His legacy in theoretical physics was remarkable and today many scientists still analyse his ideas and formulas and try to prove them. He was a father of three kids, a husband and a good friend to many. His family remembered him as a lovely dad, and in his own words: “It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’”

Challenge for triple ASTRAs!!

Solve the riddle below and send your solution to Dr Rudmann and win THREE ASTRAs!!! First 10 students with the right answers win! The time is ticking, so move your neurons!

Paul McKay, an ancient cultures researcher,  was observing a manuscript that he discovered in Petra (see image to the right). He noticed that some symbols were missing. Help him to complete the logical sequence.

Paper plane competition

Here is another challenge – the paper plane competition! Send me an email if you would like to participate. For details, visit: http://www.paperplanes.youngscientist.com.au

Finally, the science faculty would like to wish you a well-deserved, safe and relaxed holiday. We are looking forward to a successful Term 2.

Dr Silvia Rudmann

R/Head Teacher Science 

Back to top

WordFlyers for EnglishWordflyers logo

This year, students in Years 7, 8, & 9 have access to WordFlyers, which is an interactive English program designed to build essential literacy and higher-order thinking skills.

Students can access WordFlyers at home by visiting www.wordflyers.com.au and click on ‘Student’ to log in. Further information is available in the parent introduction letter.

Carolyn McMurtire

Head Teacher English, HSIE & Languages

Back to top

Masterclasses

We recently delivered two masterclasses to Year 7 and 8 students. Both were presented by knowledgeable members of Taronga Zoo. The content focussed on tiger wellbeing, enclosure design and conservation management with a focus on genetics (both globally and locally).

96% of students said it was a valuable experience to hear from and ask questions of an expert, whilst 86% of students said it deepened their knowledge in the subject area.

Below are a few comments from ourstudents:
• “All of it was awesome.” – Jordan
• “Brilliant, just brilliant!” – Heath
• “I particularly liked having the combination of an erudite speaker and the slides, to double our information intake.” – Grace
• “Learning about the tiger studbooks was very interesting. Overall, I liked learning about breeding systems, genetics, and vaccinations.” – Mac

Kate Thompson
Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

Back to top

Parent webinars

As part of involving parents in their child’s learning at Aurora College, we provide webinars on a variety of topics. Keep an eye on the Sentral calendar for scheduled sessions, but an email with the details is also circulated to parents prior to the event.

It is encouraging to see a growth in numbers of parents interested in the sessions this year, as we value that connection.

Details for the next webinar are below:
• Topic: Supporting your gifted child – guest/expert speaker from UNSW and Aldea Education
• Date: Thursday 31st May
• Time: 7-8pm

Please register your interest here by Thursday 24th May.

Kate Thompson
Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

Back to top

Spotlight on … Mahez Tariq

Mahez and Bandit

Where was your previous teaching appointment?
I was born and brought up in the Fiji Islands and my first teaching appointment was at a high school on its North Island. After 4 years of teaching there, my husband and I migrated to Australia in 1998. I enrolled at the University of New England, Armidale, in 2000 and graduated from there in 2004 with a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) and a Bachelor of Science (Major Biology, in the areas of genetics, physiology and biochemistry). The same year I joined St Clair High School, which is located in Western Sydney and had been there until last year. At St Clair High School, I taught various subjects but my main areas were science and mathematics. This is my first year at Aurora College where I am teaching science and mathematics and am absolutely loving it!

What is your local community like (in Sydney)?
I live in Colebee, which is a pretty new suburb in Western Sydney. It is an estate that is built around a world standard golf course which was designed by the great Greg “Shark” Norman. It is a very quiet and family orientated suburb but, neighbors the rapidly developing area of Marsden Park. As a result, lots of big name chains like Aldi, IKEA, Bunnings, Lindt Factory Outlet and many more, are at my doorstep if I ever feel like indulging in a bit of a shopping spree. It also borders a reserve where we have a family of albino (white) deer, a lot of rabbits, red foxes, geese, and ducks and yeah some not so friendly snakes as well, so it is always a pleasant atmosphere to go and do your daily evening walk in.

What’s your favourite subject to teach?
I am very passionate about science and am always trying to get my students interested in its application in their everyday life by talking about the latest that is happening in the world with regards to science. After 13 years of regularly teaching mathematics, I have also grown fond of the subject and love teaching it as well.

What do you like about teaching at Aurora?

The reason I applied for a position at Aurora was because reading about the innovative methods it was using to facilitate the learning of students really fascinated me. I am absolutely thrilled at the opportunity Aurora has provided me with,  learning the new digital platforms via which I can impart learning.

It is also very exciting to be able to teach gifted students who not only value education but also usually have far greater knowledge of the content they study, compared to the students I was used to teaching. I am constantly learning something new from my students and this motivates me to look for strategies that will help me to design lessons that challenges their outstanding cognitive abilities.

What are your other interests?

I love my Bollywood movies and also love listening to music, reading, gardening, spending time with my family and my two and half year old Siberian Husky, and cooking. I am a nature loving person and whenever I find the opportunity I love going for nature walks. I don’t watch too much TV but whenever I do, I like watching NCIS or any other crime shows, and the National Geographic and the Discovery channels.

Mahezabeen Tariq
Mathematics and Science Teacher

Back to top

Bright lights

Jonah Menzies (Year 9, Maclean High School) attended the North Coast Golf Championships on Tuesday 13 March 2018, in Yamba.

Jonah will be attending another tournament, the NSW Combined Schools Golf Championship, in May for Years 7, 8 and 9 students in Forster.

Good luck, Jonah!

Back to top

Library report

Premier’s Reading Challenge is OPEN and NEW “list books” have been purchased!

Students have been emailed a reading log and a link to the Challenge Booklist.

Not all titles are available digitally, so Aurora College students are encouraged to check our library, their home school library and any public (town) libraries to borrow books to read.To complete the challenge, students must read 15 books from the list and 5 books of their personal choice.

The challenge closes in August. Further details will be included in future newsletters and emailed to students in Years 7-9.

Trends in Young Adult Literature

Stage 4 students were treated to an amazing hour with Paul McDonald from The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft. Paul spoke in detail about books that are trending right now and gave us a sneak peek at books just about to be released. Our students asked insightful questions and displayed a very wide reading palate. Again, the pop-up bookshop proved very popular with our students (and staff!)

State Library of NSW

Stage 5 and 6 students spent a few hours touring the State Library of NSW and exploring e-resources. We were taken through restricted areas to view a number of special items in the library’s collection as well as a visit to the Shakespeare room.

Students at Aurora College are encouraged to join the State Library of NSW to access a plethora of digital resources. This is a free service for all NSW residents.

Awards

Ella Dennis and Iris Cuddy our Borrowing Stars of 2017

Pictured here are our Borrowing Stars of 2017: Ella Dennis (Jindabyne Central School) and Iris Cuddy (Canowindra High School). They were presented with gift vouchers to spend at the pop-up bookshop during our recent Residential camp.

Students that participated in the “who dunnit” murder mystery at Residential Camp have been awarded Astra’s for their efforts. Many students were correct in identifying the guilty party (Miss Elliott) and some were bold enough to suggest that there was a mastermind (Mrs McMurtrie) behind the mystery!

Well done to all those students that participated, and thanks to the staff that allowed me to include them in the fun.

OLIVER Upgrade over the term break

Our library software provider is upgrading over the holidays and there will be some changes to the look and location of links on our OLIVER homepage. I will be visiting Year 7-10 English classes early in Term 2 to run through the changes. Senior students will be offered times to meet in my Adobe classroom to run through the changes to our library.

Kaylene Taylor

Teacher Librarian

Kaylene.g.taylor@det.nsw.edu.au

Back to top

Student work samples

Year 7 English – Narratives

Be swept away with the following narratives by our talented students in  7ENG1.

  • Sleeping Soccer Star by Jaslyn Mackenzie (Year 7, Ulladulla High School) is a fractured fairytale which students have been working on in class
  • Stroke by Campbell Padman (Year 7, Moryua High School) is a cultural narrative that was submitted for an assessment task.

Year 8 science – Electrical devices in clothing

Year 8 students are learning about electrical circuits and the application to everyday situations. One of the tasks, students were given, was to create an electrical device in clothing.

Check out Lillie Davies (Year 8, Orange High School) top that detects strain.

Mathematics

This term, students in Year 7 have mastered Algebra and explored Perimeter. Below are some work samples by Genevieve Bland (Year 7, Parkes High School) and Richard Gaut (Year 7, Parkes High School)

Year 8 have been exploring Linear Relationships this term. They covered Stage 4 content at the start of the term and are now delving into the most advanced content from Stage 5.

Julia Dunn (Year 8, Parkes High School) demonstrates using a formula to calculate the gradient of an interval.

Gabriel Anderson (Year 8, Ulladulla High School) used graphs on the Cartesian Plane, Pythagoras’ Theorem and GeoGebra software to calculate the distance between two points.

Work sample

Gabriel’s calculation of the distance between two points

Students also used “How Good Am I” activities to see how good they are at finding the midpoint, distance and gradient of intervals in the Cartesian Plane.

Alyssa Townsend’s (Year 8, Deniliquin High school) work sample demonstrates How Good Am I

Year 9 learned about irrational numbers, known as Surds. Harry Bottero (Year 9, Tumut High School) demonstrates “rationalising denominators”

Year 10 studied Data at the start of the term and moved on to some complex algebra. Tynan Matthews’ (Year 10, Parkes High School) work shows him checking how good he is at factorising monic quadrilateral trinomials.

Kathy Howard,

Head Teacher Mathematics.

Back to top

Connect locally, learn globally

Julia at home in Dubbo

My name is Julia Delos Reyes and I live in Dubbo. I’m 12 years old, turning 13 on 1 July. I’m in Year 7 and I attend two schools — the first one being my homeschool, Dubbo College South Campus, and the second one being a virtual school, Aurora College.

My homeschool, Dubbo College South Campus, is one of the three campuses of Dubbo College. The other two being Delroy Campus and Senior Campus, which is for Years 11 and 12. It has approximately 760 students in it; around 170 of them being in Year 7.

Being in my homeschool and Aurora College at the same time can bring some challenges but nonetheless, it’s a great opportunity. What I especially like about Aurora is the fact that you’re communicating with people from across New South Wales. The reason I chose Aurora to study is simple. I saw an opportunity for me to enrol in a more advanced school and I took it. I couldn’t go to a boarding school since I felt I wasn’t ready yet.

The experience in Aurora so far has been great! I’m looking forward to other things that are to come soon. The best thing about being a part of Aurora is having opportunities you wouldn’t normally get in your local school. Things such as masterclasses, mentoring and meeting teachers and students all across NSW.

A few weeks ago, we had our first residential in Sydney! It was a lot of fun. Being able to meet my teachers and classmates in person was truly an amazing experience. I was also able to make other friends from other classes. The trip to the zoo allowed me to observe animals that we don’t have here in our zoo. The many activities at the residential school were fun and I can’t wait to see the program for the next residential in Canberra. My favourite part of the  residential was seeing my classmates and making new friends there. I look forward to seeing them at the next one and doing fun things all over again!

Rhino statue in the street.

Rhino statue in Dubbo’s CBD.

Dubbo has 36,000 people residing in it. Different sports events are held in Dubbo and it leads to the connections of some highways in New South Wales. With the farmers’ markets, the cafés, and the shopping centres, cinemas and theatres, maybe Dubbo has all these people from the many events and attractions it holds.

Our main attraction is the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. What makes this zoo no ordinary zoo are the rhinos. There are three special and rare species of rhino: the Black Rhino; Great One-horned Rhino; and the White Rhino. All throughout Dubbo, although mainly in the CBD, there are statues of rhinos and each of them has a different and unique design. Check them out if you visit!

When I’m not in school, I usually stay at home and help around the house. Some things I like doing are writing stories or poems, and reading and listening to different types of music. Sadly, I am not much of a social person, but I’ll try my best to get along with everyone in Aurora. Although science isn’t my favourite subject, there is a particular branch of it that piques my interest, that is psychology. I hope to be able to study this when I leave high school and maybe even become a clinical neuropsychologist.

Being in Year 7 opens up more opportunities for me and I hope to be able to make the best of it for my future.

Julia Delos Reyes

Year 7, Dubbo College South Campus

Back to top

Supporting student wellbeing

With holidays approaching we need to be mindful that they can take students away from friends and their usual school supports.

These changes in routine can sometimes cause young people to feel stress, isolated and alone. Parent support is very important during the school holidays.

Headspace has provided a short guide for parents Supporting your young person during the holidays which is available for you to download.

Dorothy Wakelin

School Counsellor

Back to top

Wellbeing webinar for parents 

Black Dog Institute is running a free webinar event Navigating your teen’s mental health for parents and careers during Youth Week.

To register, send an email to community@blackdog.org.au

For further information view the poster here.

This is an external event which is not hosted by Aurora College.

Sharleen Mulawin

R/ Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

Back to top

Life after Aurora

Katana loving university life

Although it has been less than six months since I graduated Year 12 at Aurora College, I feel like my life has changed drastically in this time.

Two months ago, I packed all of my things into a little car and moved to Wollongong in order to commence a Bachelor of Primary Education degree. Moving from a country town into a large coastal city was scary, to say the least, but now as I look back at what I have achieved in my first month of University, I am extremely glad I made the sea change.

University is extremely rewarding, but can also be very demanding. I believe, however, that Aurora has given me a great advantage when it comes to dealing with this. Not only did I get the opportunity to take some great subjects that make my course easier for myself, but I also learned to be an independent learner and take control of my own learning. This skill is invaluable to me now. After all, those long readings don’t just read themselves!

While I’m not doing those pesky readings, I enjoy visiting the beautiful beaches, doing art projects and going hiking with old Aurora friends. I won’t lie, we did get lost in the bush the first time we tried hiking. I guess online schooling can’t teach you a good sense of direction! I also love to get myself involved around campus: Watching every Shrek movie? Student Accommodation Waffle Night? An unhealthy amount of Cards Against Humanity? Count me in!

The great thing about moving towns to attend University is the amazing new people you meet. After I graduate my Bachelor of Primary Education I hope to become a classroom teacher somewhere near the coast or continue my studies and focus on enriching science education to upper primary school.

Katana Murphy (2017 Year 12, Blayney High School)

Back to top

Professional Learning

Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg

Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg

On Tuesday 3rd April, Aurora College hosted Australia’s leading child and adolescent psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg  for a professional learning session on supporting adolescent wellbeing.

Over 220 staff from rural and remote schools in NSW participated in the course, which contributed 2.5 hours towards their professional accreditation and maintenance hours. Feedback indicated that:

  • 99% of participants rated the session as excellent, very good or good.
  • 92% of participants thought the content was extremely helpful or very helpful
  • 94% of participants are likely to participate in future professional learning events hosted by Aurora College
  • 91% of participants felt their confidence in youth mental health had increased as a result of this session

Qualitative feedback about the most significant thing participants learned included:

  • “Given the complexity and scope of the problems, hearing specific, realistic steps/suggestions that we can implement tomorrow in our classrooms was invaluable.”
  • “How to build resilience in young people by being a supportive encouraging role model.”
  • “The impact of a charismatic adult in a student’s life…it is easy to feel that the problem is too big, but good to be inspired about just how much we can help by being a good example and caring about kids”

Overall, the responses were extremely positive, and we look forward to building further connections with rural and remote schools via professional learning events.

A range of resources were recommended by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg to better support the youth we all take care of. These are listed below.

  • Youtube video by the Australian Psychological Society with tips on how to manage everyday stress, 1min 41 secs in length
  • Smiling mind app – a free app about mindfulness, managing stress and emotions. It was developed by a not-for-profit organisation. Dr Carr-Gregg is an ambassador for this organisation.
  • Mood Gym – an online self-help tool to practise skills that prevent and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. It was developed by ANU and has been around for 20 years and has been scientifically tested multiple times.
  • The Brave Program – an online program to help prevent and treat anxiety. There are two programs, one for children and one for teens.
  • ReachOut toolbox – after a 2-question quiz, apps are recommended for you depending on your responses.
  • Good Thinking (book) by Sarah Edelman and Louise Remond – is written for a youth audience and is about managing stress and emotions, RRP $29.99.

Kate Thompson,

Head Teacher, Teaching and Learning

Back to top

Anti-Racism Contact Officer (ARCO)

I am the ARCO for Aurora College, which means I have completed the appropriate training to help facilitate the resolution for any complaints of racism. Each school should have a designated ARCO who you can contact if you have any complaints of racism. Complaints are dealt with in accordance with the Departments’ Complaints Handling Policy. 

What is racism?

“Racism can take many forms, such as jokes or comments that cause offence or hurt, sometimes unintentionally; name-calling or verbal abuse; harassment or intimidation, or commentary in the media or online that inflames hostility towards certain groups.

At its most serious, racism can result in acts of physical abuse and violence.

Racism can directly or indirectly exclude people from accessing services or participating in employment, education, sport and social activities.

It can also occur at a systemic or institutional level through policies, conditions or practices that disadvantage certain groups.

It often manifests through unconscious bias or prejudice.

On a structural level, racism serves to perpetuate inequalities in access to power, resources and opportunities across racial and ethnic groups.

The belief that a particular race or ethnicity is inferior or superior to others is sometimes used to justify such inequalities.”

— Australian Human Rights Commission, National Anti-Racism Strategy
July 2012, page 4

If you have any complaints of racism, please feel free to contact me at the Aurora College Coordinating office or via email sharleen.mulawin@det.nsw.edu.au

Sharleen Mulawin

R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

Back to top

Tip from a techie

World backup day

On March 31, the world celebrated World Backup Day for the eighth year. Since 2011, we have taken this day to either start a backup regime, or check our current backup regime is working.

Backing up your data is important because you never know when you are going to need it. Backups do not just protect you from computer crashes or failures, but also those things you cannot predict.

What would you do if you lost everything? from Sam Mularczyk on Vimeo.

In 2009, a disgruntled ex-employee of an Internet Service Provider in the USA deleted data from his ex-employers systems, including a full season of a children’s television program that the creators were storing there. The ISPs backup system was not working properly, and the creators were not able to repair the lost files, leaving them with a 2-year project that had come to an abrupt end. (Source: https://www.computerworld.com/article/2507607/security0/lawsuit-claims-fired-data-center-worker-wiped-out-tv-show.html)

In 1998, while working on Toy Story 2, the sequel to the breakout hit for Pixar, nearly 90% of the files used to create the movie was accidentally deleted. When the missing files were restored from backup, everything seemed to be back to normal, until they discovered their backup system was not working properly, and no one had noticed. In the end, the only way the movie was recovered was because one of their staff had taken a copy home to work on. (Source: https://thenextweb.com/media/2012/05/21/how-pixars-toy-story-2-was-deleted-twice-once-by-technology-and-again-for-its-own-good/)

Backup plans should follow the 3-2-1-0 countdown approach:

  • Three – the number of copies you should keep of your files.
  • Two – the number of different storage devices you should keep your files on.
  • One – the minimum number of copies you should keep ‘off-site’.
  • Zero – the number of errors you should have in your backup system.

All DoE staff and students have access to the Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage system through the portal. You can use this to backup your schoolwork and related files, and count this as your ‘off-site’ backup. You should also keep a copy on an external drive or thumb drive, and keep it somewhere safe at home. The third copy is what is on your computer right now. It is important to backup regularly (every day to the cloud, since this can be easily done through the OneDrive client in Windows 10, and maybe once a week to your external drive), and to check your backup regularly. Hard drives and thumb drives can fail, and cloud services can be unavailable.

What if I need help or more information?

If you need any help please contact us at:

Ben Hillsley

Learning Technologies Support Officer

Back to top

From the engine room

We have had a very busy start to the school year – moving, residential camp and training, to name but a few.

Remember our new address is c/- Mowbray Public School, 635 Mowbray Road, LANE COVE NORTH NSW 2066.

Our telephone number is freecall 1800 287 629.

If your contact details have changed i.e. address, telephone number, please email auroracoll-h.school@det.nsw.edu.au with your new details.

We wish our students and families happy holidays.

Denise Deaves
School Administrative Manager

Back to top

Aurora College: C/- Mowbray Public School
635 Mowbray Road LANE COVE NORTH NSW 2066
Phone: 1300 287 629; Email: auroracoll-h.school@det.nsw.edu.au
Website: www.aurora.nsw.edu.au; Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuroraCollegeAU
Print Friendly, PDF & Email