The Auracle – Volume 15, February 2017


Vol. 15, February 2017
In this issue:

Aurora College

3B Smalls Road
Ryde NSW 2112

Phone: 1300 287 629
Fax: 02 9886 7525

From the Principal’s desk

Locations of schools sharing: students (blue markers); students and teachers (green markers); and teachers (orange markers) in 2017.

Welcome to Aurora College v3.0.

In 2017, we share 210 students with 68 government schools across rural and remote NSW.  This year, our 36 classroom teachers are shared with 23 other schools, including a number in the greater metropolitan area of Sydney. The map at right shows the growing reach of Aurora College across our state.

Of course, a special greeting goes to the students joining our school for the first time in 2017. Aside from our Year 7 cohort, we have new students joining our school in each of the other year groups. On behalf of the whole Aurora community, we welcome each of you to your new school.

I am pleased to welcome 15 new members of the teaching staff this year. Michael McKenzie, Tanya Williams, Owen Brown, Kathy Howard, Deborah Royston, Sandra Sievers, Alana Ragen-Harrison, Tali Chew, Christianna Elliott, Susan Powel, Marea Taylor, Heather O’Brien, Karen Bellamy, Wendy Murwood and Dorothy Wakelin each bring very valuable skills and experiences to our school. I would also like to thank our returning teachers for the assistance they have given their new colleagues throughout the summer break and in the first weeks of this term.

At the end of the 2016 school year, interviews were conducted for three full-time Head Teacher positions at our school. I am pleased to report that Virginia Cluff (Head Teacher, Science), Carolyn McMurtrie (Head Teacher, English) and Kathy Howard (Head Teacher, Mathematics) were each successful in this process. Unlike our other permanent positions at the coordinating office in Sydney, these three Head Teachers will be located in their current locations in Dunedoo, Cobar and Bathurst.  Aurora College is already better for having each of you join the permanent staff and I look forward to working with you into the future.

As I write this article, staff in the coordinating office are working frantically on final preparations for our first Residential School of the year. This ‘res’ promises to be every bit as enjoyable and rewarding for our students and staff as the highly regarded previous events. Parents and friends of our school can stay in touch with all that is happening during the week by ‘following’ us on Facebook

On Friday 3 February, staff at the coordinating office were happy to host a visit by Mark Scott (Secretary, NSW Department of Education). Mark said that he had heard a lot about our school since taking up his position as the head of the department. During his visit, Mark joined 10SCI1 for a lesson by Virginia Cluff on the work of the 2017 Australian of the Year, Professor Alan Mackay Sim. Mark was pleased to see first-hand how our school operates and he clearly relished the opportunity to speak with a number of our students in the virtual learning environment.

Following the Secretary’s visit, I was honoured to join him in a strategic discussion on Thursday 23 February on the challenges presented by the big technological, demographic and social shifts which are occurring around the globe and the implications of these shifts for education reform. I can report that there was great interest in our school from the key thinkers from industry and business that were present and I am confident that new and beneficial partnerships for our students and staff will develop from the meeting.

I would like to thank our partner schools for the excellent job they have done in accommodating our ‘shared enrolments’ and preparing for the year ahead. We continue to work with a very small number of schools to improve the alignment of their timetables. If you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact either Kathy Klados or myself at or by telephone on 1300 287 629. If you would feel more comfortable speaking with one of your parent representatives on our State Reference Group, please contact either Andrew Strachan ( or Genie McMullen (

Finally, I would like to invite expressions of interest to fill a very important role in our school, Parent Representative on the 2017 Selective Schools Panel. The role requires the Parent Representative to attend two meetings via video conference to consider applications for enrolment in our school in 2018. The first meeting (early June) considers applications for Year 7 and the second (late July) considers applications to join Years 8, 9 and 10. If you are interested in donating your time to this role, please ‘drop me a line’ at

Chris Robertson


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Deputy’s report

Welcome back to all our students and families. I hope you have had an enjoyable holiday break. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new students, parents and coordinators to Aurora College. I am sure you will quickly come to love this school and feel part of this wider community. I look forward to working with all of you.

Assessment handbooks

Assessment handbooks for Years 7 to 11 were distributed via email to all students and their Aurora College Coordinators on Monday 15 February. The handbooks can also be accessed through the parent and student Sentral portals or via Moodle in the student space under ‘Assessment’ or by clicking on this link (logon required).

Residential school

Our first residential school in 2017 is being held for all Year 7 to 10 students and Year 11 and 12 agriculture, chemistry and physics students from 27 February to 3 March. The venue is the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, Wakehurst Parkway, Narrabeen. It is located on the northern beaches, only 25 kilometres from the centre of Sydney, surrounded by natural bushland with magnificent views of Narrabeen Lake, and with world-class sports training grounds and facilities. A range of exciting activities are scheduled for our students, including;

  • a special program to build students sense of self, LEAP (Year 7)
  • an Elevate study skills masterclass (Year 7)
  • a Bell Shakespeare masterclass (Years 7 – 10)
  • an excursion to Narrabeen Rock Platform (Years 7 and 8)
  • a surf awareness and skills lesson at Long Reef (Years 7 and 8)
  • a mentoring activity with our industry partners (Year 8)
  • a program to develop skills in problem solving and cooperation whilst reinforcing the importance of physical activity and wellbeing, ROAR (Years 8, 9 and 10)
  • an excursion to the Museum of Human Disease at the University of New South Wales (Years 9 and 10)
  • the Future Leaders Program (Years 11 and 12)

Aurora College Coordinator (ACC)

In each of the schools that we currently partner with, Aurora College funds the release of a teacher to fill the role of Aurora College Coordinator (ACC). The ACC adds an important layer of support for the educational, social and emotional needs of our students.

The role of the ACC is similar to that of a Year Advisor. The role has an administrative component, but the main focus is the pastoral care of our shared enrolments. The ACC is also the key contact person for Aurora College teachers, students and parents.

The ACC in your ‘home school’ is responsible for:

  • facilitating the exchange and dissemination of information between Aurora, the home school, students and parents
  • monitoring the well-being of your child and reporting any concerns to Aurora College and the home school
  • monitoring and reporting student attendance to the coordinating office at
  • assisting Aurora College to develop and implement appropriate support strategies, including individual student learning plans
  • coordinating the completion and return of Illness and Misadventure forms to the relevant Aurora College Head Teacher
  • printing and distributing allocated Aurora College merit awards and reports to students.

More information regarding the role of the Aurora College Coordinator can be found on our school website

Year 7 Orientation Program

This year, we have introduced the Year 7 Orientation Program to support Year 7 students through topics which include:

  • integrated timetables
  • technology applications – including Microsoft OneNote, Moodle, student emails and portal access
  • assessment schedules
  • cyber-safety
  • time management and organisational skills.

This will be further enhanced by the Study Skills Kick Start Program that Elevate will deliver as a masterclass at our Residential School. The masterclass will focus on dynamic reading, note taking, independent learning and team building activities to improve student study techniques, increase motivation, build confidence, and lift exam performance. Masterclasses will also be delivered to students and parents by mental health organisations such as Beyond Blue and Reach Out on topics including resilience and wellbeing.

What’s coming up this year?

  • The first residential school runs from Monday 27 February to Friday 3 March 2017
  • Interim reports will be issued Friday 31 March
  • A parent information session about supporting gifted and talented students is scheduled for Thursday 16 March from 4:30-5:30 pm (further information to come).

Kathy Klados

Deputy Principal

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Mental health support

Hello, Aurora College students and families. There are a lot of support sites on offer that promote resilience and wellbeing, including several e-mental health options.

If you have any questions, I will be available to talk to students about these at the Residential School. Most of these websites have helpful information for parents too.

I invite you to explore the following websites for students:

Further information for parents, carers and teachers will be available in the next edition of The Auracle. Please contact me if you would like information about a topic that hasn’t been listed above.

Dorothy Wakelin

School Counsellor

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Community liasons

I would like to welcome Kaylene Taylor (Teacher librarian), as an additional Community Liaison Officer (CLO) in 2017. Kaylene has been working with Aurora College for over 12 months as our Teacher librarian and the ACC at Eden Marine High School. With her experience and knowledge of the various roles within our school, Kaylene is the perfect addition to our Community Liaison team.

Aurora College students at Jindabyne Central School

In her new role, Kaylene had the pleasure of visiting Jindabyne Central School in the Snowy Mountains of NSW. She was welcomed by the Aurora students who were all getting very excited to join us for the first Residential School in Sydney. Our new and returning students in Years 8, 9 & 10 are pictured here in their Aurora College learning space in their home school library.

Mrs Taylor has also been active in the virtual learning environment over the past few weeks, assisting with the Year 7 Orientation program and visiting Mathematics classes to introduce herself and explain the role of the CLO to students.

The role of the CLO is primarily to focus on supporting our partner schools, parents and students. This includes:

  • establishing and promoting Aurora College in the community
  • visiting partner schools to meet with parents, ACCs and science practical coordinators to discuss student concerns which may involve technology, learning spaces, and learning support needs
  • participating in and supporting home school presentation days, orientation programs, information sessions, and parent ‘meet and greets’.

As the newly appointed Head Teacher of Science and in my role as CLO, I have enjoyed working with all three faculties and supporting new staff and students to navigate the on-line learning platforms.

In week 4, I spoke at the UNSW Ignite the Spark, Fuel the Fire conference on Innovative Differentiation. I was honoured and excited to be a part of this conference. I spoke about the unique way in which Aurora is able to plan content collaboratively on an array of on-line platforms, allowing core and extension content to be prepared in a timely manner by the team of teachers on each year group. This then allows us to have time to take those materials and concepts and adapt them to the individual learning needs of our class. A great time saving and individualised learning preparation technique!

I have a couple of trips to schools planned for the weeks following the residential and am looking forward to meeting students, staff and parents as well as community members. As always, if anyone would particularly like a visit from myself or Kaylene as the CLO I would love to hear from you and can incorporate you in the travel schedule. Please also remember as I visit the schools that I am very happy to offer professional learning in the online and/or cloud based Microsoft Office 365 or Google G suite of applications.

Virginia Cluff

Head Teacher Science & Community Liaison Officer

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Tip from a techie

Student device 2017

The student device for new enrolments in 2017 is the Lenovo 11e Yoga laptop. This is a device that has been designed with students in mind. It features:

  • Intel Core i3 2.3Ghz processor
  • 11.6” HD multi-touch screen
  • 4Gb RAM
  • 128Gb SSD Hard drive
  • Dual Band AC Wireless
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Pen Pro
  • Windows 10 Home
  • For more information, you can view the device page on

What about software?

The device comes with Windows 10 installed. Most of the applications you will use in your studies with Aurora College are online, however, you can install the following programs:

  • Office 2016 – The full Office suite, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access and others, can be installed from the Student Portal. This is free for all DoE students to install on up to 5 computers at once.
  • iSee VC – This is a virtual 3d environment that includes our virtual playground so students can interact with each other during recess and lunch. You can download the software from the iSee website:
  • LearningField/VitalSource eLibrary – This is the platform we use for digital textbooks. You can install the application which allows you to read the textbooks without an internet connection from the website:

How do I get one?

This device is available for all new enrolments in 2017 to borrow from Aurora College. If you would like to borrow the device, you must first read and sign the Bring Your Own Device policy, and the Student Technology Loan Agreement documents. You can download a copy of these forms from our website at It is very important that you understand that you will be liable for any damage to the device and may incur a cost for any repairs needed over the life of the device.

When these documents have been signed and returned to the Aurora office, we will arrange for the laptop to be delivered to your school.

What if I need help or more information?

If you need any help setting up or using the laptop, please contact me in one of the following ways:


A reminder to all students that you have access to the LearningField digital textbook library. This service provides students with access to a wide range of textbooks to use in their Aurora College subjects. If you have not yet logged in to LearningField to see what they offer, please contact me.

Ben Hillsley

Learning Technology Support Officer

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Library report

Welcome to another fantastic year for our Aurora College digital library.

Top borrowers

Top borrowers for Term 4, 2016 were Adara Henby, Travis Nemec, Nigella Stevenson, Roshan Caldwell, Jessica Fuller, Aiden Hegarty, Jonah Menzies, Molly Oquist and Kustiani Tuckerman.

Top borrowers for 2016 were Roshan Caldwell, Nigella Stevenson, Adara Henby, Madeleine Ross, Aiden Hegarty, Kahli Henley and Jaimee Soo.

Astra awards have been issued to all these students.

Summer reading challenge

Over the summer, we ran the Summer Reading Challenge. A number of very enthusiastic students participated and their reviews will be added to OLIVER, our school library system. Some students will be presented with prizes at the Residential School for their outstanding participation in the challenge. All participants will be awarded an Astra.


The team at Good Reading Magazine publishes a funky, interactive and youth focused online magazine called SpineOut. Students at Aurora College are encouraged to interact with SpineOut via the OLIVER homepage in their student portal. SpineOut is a place where students can express their ideas and thoughts and share their creativity in words, art, film or music.


Visiting us at the Residential School on 2 March, is The Children’s Bookshop from Beecroft. They will be providing a pop-up book shop for students to purchase reading materials for their own personal use. A separate email has been sent to students and families about payment options, should they wish to take advantage of this onsite opportunity.

Ex Libris Aurora

Ex Libris Aurora is the library newsletter that is emailed directly to students and staff. The newsletter promotes our new and existing digital resources. Keep an eye out for the next edition of Ex Libris Aurora which will be published after the Residential School.

Digital resources

Aurora College students have access to a wide range of digital subscription services. Access is via OLIVER in their student portal. Throughout the semester, I will be demonstrating the features of these providers and supporting students to use these tools for their core class work and for FUN.

Recommending resources is as easy as sending me an email ( with a subject, book title or author’s name. This is our school library, so student and staff contributions are most welcome.

Looking forward to supporting student reading and learning at Aurora College in 2017.

Kaylene Taylor

Teacher Librarian

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From the engine room

The Department of Education is undergoing a number of changes including a new finance system with schools no longer possessing individual bank accounts. We have been allocated Group 5 for training which will commence in March 2017. As a consequence of this change, from May 2017 we will no longer be able to accept direct deposits. The reason for this change is due to the impossible task of identifying payments and allocating them to the correct school. You can still pay by credit card either online via our website through our secure “Make a Payment” option, credit card payment by form/telephone or cheque.

Residential Camp Term 1 2017 payments are due Friday 24 February 2017.

At the end of 2016, we said farewell to our School Administrative Assistant, Jane Taranto. Jane’s husband was transferred to Melbourne. Jane and her family were originally from Melbourne and had been residing in Sydney for 12 years. Although Jane was with us a short time, she was an invaluable member of staff and we will miss her.

Georgia Brown has thankfully taken up the helm and we are extremely thankful.

How to replace a School Travel Pass or School Opal card lost over the holidays

To report a lost, stolen or damaged rural/regional school travel pass, please contact the relevant transport operator for information about the replacement procedure.

To report a lost, stolen or damaged School Opal card, go to Your lost, stolen or damaged card will be cancelled immediately and a new card will be sent within 8 to 10 working days.

Proof of entitlement for school students

Students who are over 16 (or look over 16) can access concession fares by obtaining a Proof of Age or NSW Senior Secondary Student concession card. These cards are usually issued to students by their home school.

Which card is right for my child?

Proof of Age cards:

NSW Senior Secondary Student concession card:

Information for parents, guardians and students can be found online at Electronic copies of brochures and flyers are also available to download from the Useful Forms and Information pages on the school transport scheme website at

When travelling on public transport:

  • be mindful of safety
  • respect transport staff, transport property and fellow travelers
  • offer your seat to paying customers
  • always travel with a valid ticket
  • tap on and tap off every time you are travelling in Opal areas.

The Student Code of Conduct is available at

Denise Deaves

School Administrative Manager

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A message from our technology sponsor, Microsoft


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Aurora College; 3b Smalls Road, Ryde, NSW 2112
Phone: 02 9886 7560; Fax: 02 9886 7525; Email:
Website:; Facebook:

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