From the principal’s desk
Regular readers of The Auracle may be forgiven for experiencing déjà vu when reading this edition of From the principal’s desk.
In August and September, I reported with great pride on awards won by our school in 2018: the Secretary’s School Achievement Award for Stages 4 and 5 Science; and the Technology 4 Learning (T4L) Award for Productivity and Collaboration.
Once again, I have the pleasure of announcing further recognition of our school’s achievements.
The Premier’s Awards for Public Service recognise excellence in the delivery of public services to the NSW community by the public sector, not-for-profit organisations and private businesses. In 2018, the Premier’s Awards had twelve categories to showcase achievements and progress towards the NSW Premier’s priorities.
In early September, I was thrilled to be given the news that Aurora College had been nominated by the NSW Department of Education to receive a Premier’s Award in the category of Improving Education Results. Soon after, our school was announced as a finalist for the award.
Kathy Klados (Deputy Principal), Virginia Cluff (Head Teacher Science) and I were joined at the Award Ceremony at Sydney Town Hall on 7 November by Sharon Ford (our Director, Educational Leadership) and Mike Tom (Leader, Rural and Distance Education). From a field of outstanding finalists, Aurora College was announced the co-winner of the Premier’s Award for Public Service.
Reflecting on all that has been achieved in the short history of our award-winning school, we were reminded once again of the wisdom of the African proverb, It takes a village to raise a child. The Aurora team was very happy to accept this prestigious award on behalf of our teachers, students, parents, partner schools, and organisations and individuals who support the many programs that Aurora delivers across the state.
In a letter of congratulations, The Hon. Rob Stokes, MP, Minister for Education, wrote:
“I would like to personally acknowledge your team’s dedication to providing exceptional levels of service and innovation and to making a real difference in the New South Wales public education system.”
In the category of Improving Education Results, Peter Rouse and his staff at Canley Vale High School shared the honours for the team award, and Dr Brad Russell (Director, Educational Leadership, Albury Principals Network) received the individual award. Congratulations to all finalists and fellow award winners.
Recently, Kate Thompson (Head Teacher Teaching and Learning) was the very deserving recipient of the Metropolitan North Operational Directorate Executive Director’s Award for her leadership of Aurora’s HSC Study Days Program.
Of course, HSC study days are an important part of students’ preparation for their HSC examinations. Unlike students in metropolitan areas and some larger regional centres, students in rural and remote communities have few choices available to them to revise with subject specialists, highly experienced teachers and HSC markers. From a successful trial in 2016, the program has grown and is now well established as an important event on schools’ calendars.
The 2018 program included 72 presentations across study days for 11 HSC courses. This year, 3676 students and teachers from 260 schools joined us in our virtual learning environment to receive expert HSC examination advice and up-to-date information on course content.
Kate’s nomination for the Executive Director’s Award described how her work encapsulates the values of excellence, equity, accountability and service. Judges of the award acknowledged how the HSC Study Days Program supports a number of goals of the department’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, including goal (10), that “Our education system reduces the impact of disadvantage”.
Kate’s exceptional planning, communication and organisation skills is reflected in the evaluation by participating schools. The 2018 teacher survey results indicated that:
Planning is already underway for the 2019 HSC Study Days Program. Interested schools should visit www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/events/hsc-study-days/ for further information. Congratulations, Kate!
Accolades of this type are obviously received with gratitude and pride. Equally so, I am always grateful and proud to hear from students and parents when they take the time to express their thanks for a job well done. Our second Residential School of the year was one such occasion when many members of our community felt compelled to congratulate the Aurora staff for their hard work and dedication to our students.
With her permission, I share with you part of an email from Judith Pedler, mother of Callum and Laura Weppler (Griffith High School):
“Rob and I are very proud of both Callum and Laura, and they both came back from Residential Camps oozing and bubbling with stories of what they did and the things their Aurora friends said and did, and that their teachers said and did. Time must expand somewhat over Res: I don’t know how you cram everything in! Mr Robertson might need to start training someone up to carry on his cartwheels, though.
Rob and I are very lucky in that our kids tell us quite a bit about what goes on in class, so we get to hear all sorts of snippets. We are vastly impressed with the marvellous teachers you have on your staff – their dedication is awesome and their enthusiasm is inspiring – please thank all of them. And Mr Hillsley is a nine-day wonder.”
Thank you, Judith. (Note to self: Develop a succession plan for cartwheeling duties.)
I know I speak for all the staff when I say it is a pleasure to work with the bright lights of Aurora. I was reminded of this on countless occasions at the Residential School, including at the presentation assembly. As has been the case at each of the eight camps we have run, the assembly was a joyful occasion with every award winner receiving a big cheer and heart-felt applause from their peers and teachers.
The feeling of community on show at the assembly and throughout the Residential School was palpable. Of all that has been achieved in establishing NSW’s first virtual school, our greatest achievement has been to create and sustain a sense of belonging. Congratulations, one and all!
Enjoy reading another great edition of The Auracle, e-newsletter of the multi-award winning Aurora College.
Chris Robertson | Principal
Aurora students and staff once again had an enjoyable week at the Residential School in Canberra.
The first Residential School next year will be held in Term 1 from Monday 4 March 2019 to Friday 8 March 2019 at the Katoomba Christian Convention Centre. In an ideal location right next to Scenic World, the conference centre is nestled amongst 13 hectares of mountainous bushland on the edge of the Blue Mountains National Park in Katoomba.
What is depression?
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There are a range of effective treatments and health professionals who can help you on the road to recovery. There are also plenty of things you can do for yourself to recover and stay well. The important thing is finding the right treatment and the right health professional for your needs.
Attendance of students in Term 4
The NSW Department of Education requires all students to attend school until Wednesday 19 December, the last day of teaching for Term 4 2018. Prior to this date, students in all year groups will be engaged in meaningful work based on the curriculum and syllabus requirements.
If parents are seeking permission for their child to be absent from school for a period of time, the current Exemption from school – procedures should be followed and permission sort from your home school. A copy of this documentation should then be forwarded to Aurora College.
Assessments for students in Term 4
As we progress through Term 4, many assessments will be completed by students that will contribute to their yearly results for 2018. Students must ensure they are well prepared for these assessments and that they give their best effort. Students who require extra assistance with their study routines should contact our Learning and Support Teacher, Alana Ragen-Harrison.
Preparations for 2019
We continue to work with our partner schools in preparation for 2019. With our support, this term our partners will:
Further information can be viewed by all community members on the Partner School Information page of our website.
Kathy Klados | Deputy Principal
HSC study days
The 2018 HSC Study Day Program was a great success, receiving very positive feedback from participating schools.
This year, 3676 students and teachers from 260 schools connected to 72 presentations across 11 subjects. The program was delivered by a range of subject experts and highly experienced teachers and HSC markers. Click here to view a full report.
Planning is well underway for the 2019 program. HSC classes in government schools are again invited to join us in our virtual learning environment to receive expert examination advice and up to date information on course content.
Interested schools should visit www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/events/hsc-study-days/ for further information.
Kate Thompson | Head Teacher Teaching and Learning
Residential school report
During Week 3, 193 students and 40 staff gathered in Canberra for our 2nd Residential School of the year.
Overall, 99% of students enjoyed the residential with some of the things they liked most including: glice skating; karting; bike riding; visits to the CSRIO and Questacon; maker space workshops; hearing from author Will Kostakis; the trivia night and most importantly; connecting with their friends and making new friends.
Following are some of the comments from the student survey:
Sharleen Mulawin | R/Head Teacher, Teaching and Learning
Stage 3 opportunity class
A new adventure for Aurora College has commenced with the launch in Week 1 of this term of our first Opportunity Class.
It’s been an exciting start with 48 students across 4 classes. Lisa Pearson and Jessica Kennedy-Williams, the Stage 3 teachers, have been guiding students through Adobe Connect, OneNote and Microsoft TEAMS.
Engaging in STEM lessons, creating a movie reflecting their personal space, a masterclass with Sarah Larsen from ABC’s Behind the News (BTN) and navigating the wonderful online library have been highlights in these first few weeks.
So far this term, it has been our pleasure to visit students at Bermagui, Bodalla, Broulee, Eden, Merimbula, Milton, Tathra, Sutton, Temora, Temora West, Griffith East and Beelbangara public schools. Other trips are in the planning for later this term and early next term.
In the weeks ahead we will welcome Rob Hollows from the CSIRO to present a masterclass on Space, Dr Ruth Phillips to discuss ‘Supporting Your Gifted Child’ in our first parent webinar and some exciting STEM lessons around Space Junk.
We thank the Aurora College Coordinators (ACCs) from our partner primary schools who have supported this new virtual learning space for our Year 5 students.
Serena McLean | Assistant Principal
This year, five Aurora College students showed great perseverance and developed their problem-solving skills by tackling the enrichment stage of the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians (MCYA). Enrichment is offered at several levels, each named after a famous mathematician.
Genevieve Bland (Year 7, Parkes High School) and Amelie Robinson (Year 8, Melville High School) both attempted eight problems at the Dirichlet Level and were awarded credit certificates.
Charlie Winter (Year 8, Nowra High School) attempted 12 problems at the Euler Level and received a participation certificate.
Zoe Jenkins (Year 9, Tenterfield High School) tackled the 12 problems that make up the Gauss Level and received another credit certificate.
Amber Ahsan (Year 10, Dubbo College South Campus) attempted all 16 problems at the very difficult Noether Level and was awarded a credit certificate for reaching the 62nd percentile. Amber also created history by being the first Aurora College student to sit the four-hour Australian Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad (AIMO) paper, gaining a participation certificate.
The MCYA is an annual three-stage – Challenge, Enrichment and AIMO – program conducted by the Australian Mathematics Trust and is supported by the Australian Government. It attracts many of the top mathematicians from schools around the nation. Congratulations on a job well done.
Ian Whiteway | Mathematics Teacher
Spotlight on … Cassandra Kaloudis
Where was your previous teaching appointment?
Before I started teaching at Aurora I was part of the English Faculty at Kingsgrove High School which is roughly between the Canterbury-Bankstown and St George areas of Sydney. I started as a casual there before transitioning to a full time role.
What is your local community like?
I currently live in a suburb called Picnic Point which is near the suburbs of Revesby and East Hills. It’s quite a green and leafy area as it is located very close to the Georges River National Park. The river is behind my house and you often see (and hear) people going out on boats and jetski’s. It is generally quite peaceful, apart from bush fire season when it can get quite tense being next to all that bushland!
What’s your favourite subject to teach?
I really enjoy teaching English which I have done for most of my teaching career. I am also qualified to teach Society and Culture but have not had the opportunity to do so yet. History is probably my second favourite subject simply because I find both Ancient and Modern history fascinating.
What do you like about teaching at Aurora?
There are so many great opportunities to explore interesting topics and unique texts at Aurora. The students are genuinely interested and want to learn about the way the world works. As a teacher, it feels rewarding to be able to facilitate new ways of thinking and get students involved in exciting activities and discussions. Aurora enables like-minded students to connect in a way that is new and exciting.
What are your other interests?
I’m a bit of a foodie and love cooking and going out to new restaurants, cafés and food festivals. I enjoy reading and am currently working my way through all of Stephen King’s books. I love watching many different Netflix series and documentaries. I spend a lot of time driving so I listen to podcasts to keep me occupied and entertained. History, film or true-crime podcasts are my favourites.
Cassandra Kaloudis| English Teacher
Cano Mocs and Docs Short Film Festival
Congratulations to two of our Aurora students from Canowindra High School who both won first prize in their sections of the Cano Mocs and Docs Short Film Festival.
Jackson Stacey (Year 8) won Best Junior Documentary with “Quick Science about Dogs”, a humorous look at the characteristics of his pet dog Charlie; and
Iris Cuddy (Year 8), with her siblings Raph and Nina, won Best Junior Mockumentary with their film “Griseo Latro”.
Nerida Cuddy (mother of Iris, Raph and Nina) reports “There was a good prize for each section, making it quite exciting! The signature item/theme for this year’s contest was “fossil” and this was incorporated strongly into Griseo Latro, which is a scientific explanation of a new species of ‘living fossil’ that has emerged in the last 25 yrs in Australia. The kids began making the film while we were on our 6 week trip to Western Australia in the middle of the year. It’s a lot of fun!”
Caltex Best All Rounder Award 2018
Jordyn Chapple is Aurora College’s recipient of the 2018 Caltex Best All Rounder Award. Jordyn joins a select group of secondary students to win this prestigious award for excellence in her studies, sports and work in the community.
The Caltex Best All Rounder Award has been presented to thousands of final-year students around the country across its 33-year history. In supporting this award, Caltex seeks to acknowledge the all-round contribution that each student makes to their school and their community.
Australian Defence Force (ADF) Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award
Congratulations to Luke D’Ettorre (Year 10, Willyama High School) who received the ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork award. Luke was presented with his award by Lieutenant Morgan from the Royal Australian Navy at the Residential School assembly in recognition for the leadership and teamwork that he has demonstrated at Aurora College and in his wider community.
The ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Awards started in 2006. They are an important initiative by the ADF and are designed to encourage senior students to actively participate in the life of their schools and local communities.
In addition to recognising leadership and teamwork, the award recognises students who display strong values such as, doing one’s best, showing respect for others and “mateship” characteristics that Australian society values. Congratulations, Luke!
M3 Mathematics Challenge
On 23 October, Stage 4 students from Gulgong High School, Jack Meredith (Year 8), Joshua Doherty, Patrick Butlin and Tayissa Lucas participated in the M3 Mathematics Challenge.
This Challenge was introduced three years ago by Mudgee Rotary to promote mathematics in our community. Students completed a variety of individual and team challenges throughout the day and were successful in coming first on the day.
Both Joshua Doherty and Patrick Butlin will be joining Aurora College next year.
On the 22 October 2018, 93 students between years 7-10 from all around NSW were invited, by the ACYP (the office of the Advocate for Children and Young People) and the YMCA, to the NSW parliament building for Children’s Week. There, they participated in a whole day event where they partook in advocacy training, speech writing, public speaking and they had a chance to talk to five members of the current NSW parliament. The organising parties ensured that cost was not a barricade and so organised many young people’s transportation.
The MPs who came along were Andrew Fraser, Paul Green, Taylor Martin, Courtney Houssos and Alex Greenwich. They talked about their time as a representative of the people, what they do, their experiences and what they are passionate about.
Previously, during the selection process, participants got to choose a topic, of which they would speak about for one minute in the parliament. They got to choose from the different themes of the NSW strategic plan, put in place by the ACYP to improve the lives of children and young people. These themes are: safe, connect, respect, opportunity, wellbeing, and voice. The idea is that participants would speak about topics they view as important, and what they are passionate about.
After lunch, those who chose to present their speech got the chance to deliver their speeches in the Legislative Assembly Chamber, watched by the ACYP, the YMCA, attending members of the public and MPs Greg Warren and Chris Gulaptis, who acted as Speaker during the session. The presentations were all recorded.
I was chosen to represent the electorate of Wagga Wagga, one of the 93 electorates represented that day. The topic I chose to speak about was ‘connect’, as it is related to my experiences at Aurora College. I spoke about our school and talked about how it has connected all students, helped us meet more people and make new friends. I also talked about the lack of physical social interactions, yet we are more connected than ever now, with social media ruling our lives.
All in all, it was a fun day, and I enjoyed meeting some of the people who make decisions on behalf of us. Also, presenting a speech in the NSW parliament was awesome too!
Harry Bottero (Year 9, Tumut High School)
This year we have 12 students from Years 7-11 that have participated in our e-Mentoring program. These sessions have been engaging and worthwhile for the students as highlighted in some of their feedback below.
Students from Years 7-11 are invited to participate in our e-Mentoring program for 2019.
Further information about the e-Mentoring Program is available on the school website under learn with us.
Sharleen Mulawin | R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning
Will Kostakis inspires in Canberra
Will Kostakis certainly inspired our students at our recent Residential in Canberra.
Will shared his passion for telling stories, the process he undertakes as a writer and how he creates characters in his novels. Students were delighted by the stories he told of his Yia, and how his own life experiences are entwined in his story telling.
Will resonated with our Stage 4 and 5 students, as he talked about his road to success and his self-belief that saw him publish works while still in high school. In conjunction with Will’s presentations to our students, we had a pop-up bookshop in operation.
Our students are encouraged to write their own stories and develop their skills as authors. We have in-school opportunities for this as well as external competitions that students can enter throughout the year which are promoted via TEAMs and Facebook. I am also happy to read their stories and provide feedback.
Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC)
Students who participated in the Premier’s Reading Challenge 2018 will soon be receiving their certificates at their home schools.
A number of our students have also been accepted to join the PRC Advisory Council, to help shape future PRC reading lists. I am very excited by this initiative from the PRC team to give students a clear voice.
I look forward to seeing the new books on the PRC list very soon, as we prepare for the 2019 PRC.
Books Verse Movies – Residential Competition
I suspect it was never in doubt – but Aurora College students overwhelmingly supported the view that books are better than their movies!
The following students contributed thoughtful pieces to support their point of view and were presented with prizes at the Residential School: Eva Morton (Year 7, Orange High School); Heidi Parkin (Year 7, Parkes High School); Genevieve Bland (Year 7, Parkes High School); Sienna Condie (Year 7, Ulladulla High School); Emily Neems (Year 7, Parkes High School); and Danielle Goodrick (Year 7, Parkes High School). All students who participated, in any aspect of the competition, have been allocated an Astra award.
We welcomed our OC students in Stage 3 to our digital library earlier this term. I am enjoying visiting their lessons to see the amazing learning that is occurring, along with supporting them to loan out resources for leisure reading from our digital library collection.
If you would like to request a resource for our digital library, please just email me the details you know, I am happy to find out if a digital version is available.
Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian
Student work samples
Throughout Term 3, our Years 7 to 10 students worked on progressive assessment tasks. These incorporated 3 topics for each year group and involved a variety of assessment types.
All year groups were tasked with providing evidence of their learning in Topic Summaries for at least one topic.
Year 7 demonstrated their understanding of angle relationships formed when a set of parallel lines is cut by a transversal by producing vodcasts.
Year 8 did an online topic test for Collecting and Representing Data.
Year 9 students were problem solving using Trigonometry and Bearings. They had to calculate the best possible direction to land a plane at their chosen airport.
Year 10 students did an old-fashioned pen and paper test on Trigonometry in their home schools.
Below are some samples of this excellent work.
Harry Bottero (Year 9, Tumut High School) – Trigonometry and Bearings Task
Jackson Stacey (Year 8, Canowindra High School) – Topic summary for Area and Surface Area
Leah Watson (Year 10, Billabong High School) – Topic Summary for Linear Relationships
Two vodcasts that won prizes at our residential assembly are shown below.
Heath Bethe (Year 7, Wade High School)
Julia Delos Reyes (Year 7, Dubbo College South)
Kathy Howard| Head Teacher Mathematics
Year 8 Science Fair
Students in Year 8 had the opportunity to showcase their research skills and findings at our Residential School in Canberra.
Take a moment to see their marvellous work.
Virginia Cluff | Head Teacher Science
English at Residential
Year 9 students have been studying Indigenous Perspectives as one of their units of work and as such went to the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) to complement this study and look at the representation of Indigenous Australians in film. This experience was extremely educational and eye-opening for students to see how this representation has changed over time.
Most students in Stage 4 participated in a guided tour of Reconciliation Place to view the inspiring artworks and the stories behind them. Reconciliation Place was designed in recognition of the importance of the shared history of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. This activity will complement further studies in English.
Year 7 were engaged in a Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare Quiz as well as mask making activity as preparation for their upcoming assessment task.
Year 8 also enjoyed looking a Shakespeare’s Villains, also in preparation for their assessment task.
Enjoy a slide show of photos demonstrating these activities.
Carolyn McMurtrie | Head Teacher English, HSIE & Languages
Connect locally, learn globally
Hello there! I come from Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains. ‘Windy Jindy’ as we locals call it, is a tourist town. It goes from a population of 3,000 in Summer to 30,000 in Winter.
We are known mainly for our Ski fields and Snowsports which are pretty major in Winter. Mountain Biking has also always been a popular activity in Jindabyne and that industry has been booming over the last year or so.
One of my favourite things to do is go to the gym. I started going about 2 years ago because I needed to do rehab after having torn my meniscus skiing. Since then I have torn my meniscus again and bruised the bones in my knee joint. Out of the last 24 months I have spent 8 on crutches! It has been a long and very tough road but there is a big silver lining now that I am fitter and stronger than ever!
I am super interested in photography and drawing and my favourite subjects are English and Art. An interesting thing that I can do that most normal people can’t is lick my elbow. Go on, try it!! Did you get it??
Recently, I did work experience at Taronga Zoo!! I was stationed in the Veterinary Hospital and I learned so much! It was a once in a lifetime experience and I enjoyed it immensely!
Aurora has been such an amazing and valuable experience for me! As much as it has been quite hard being part of the first year to go all the way through Aurora and help them ‘iron out all the kinks’, it has most certainly been worth it! I have made so many great friends and our year has a very strong connection so leaving them this year will be incredibly hard. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of Aurora for these last four years.
After leaving school I would like to pursue a career in Zoology, specifically Animal behaviour. I have a really strong passion for animals, especially big cats! My favourite animal is a tiger. An animal related career has been my lifelong dream but who knows? Maybe I’ll end up doing something else?
That’s all from me! Thank you Aurora for such great moments : )
Samantha (Year 10, Jindabyne Central School)
eSafety program for primary schools
Aurora College will continue our collaborations with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner in 2019.
Our next event is to promote Safer Internet Day (SID). Students in Years 4, 5 and 6 from NSW Public Schools are invited to attend an online session, Your digital super power: Using the 4Rs to create positive online communities.
These classes are scheduled for Tuesday 5 February at 11:30 am and Thursday 7 February at 9:30 am (repeated).
Schools are able to register for one of these sessions through our school website.
Sharleen Mulawin | R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning
Recently, Aurora College invested in a range of equipment that enables us to livestream presentations on YouTube. This equipment was used to great effect over the past two weeks in the ‘meet and greet’ sessions for new (2019) students and their parents.
The video below shows the set-up and use of our recording studio.
We would like to have a custom URL for our YouTube channel, but we are short the required subscribers. If you have a YouTube account, please subscribe to our channel at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFw_1hOonJn5ngjA8zqT9pQ
Ben Hillsley | Learning Technologies Support Officer
|Aurora College: C/- Mowbray Public School635 Mowbray Road LANE COVE NORTH NSW 2066Phone: 1300 287 629; Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite: www.aurora.nsw.edu.au; Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuroraCollegeAU|