The Auracle – Volume 19, August 2017


Vol. 18, June 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

New students will be joining Aurora in 2018 from locations across the state. The red markers are schools that have not previously partnered with our school.

The first half of Term 3 is a particularly busy time for staff at Aurora’s coordinating office as our focus shifts to planning for the year ahead.

Last week, staff representatives Cassandra Kaloudis (English), Owen Brown (Science), Susanna Trikilis (Mathematics), Alana Ragen-Harrison (Learning and Support Teacher) and Kaylene Taylor (Teacher-Librarian) joined the senior executive and Head Teachers for our two-day Executive Conference. The dual purpose of this meeting was to continue the evaluation phase of the School Plan 2015-2017 and to commence the preliminary work for the School Plan 2018-2020.

The school planning and reporting approach utilised in NSW public schools is highly strategic, focusing on three key areas for improvement determined by the school in consultation with its community. This approach is underpinned by the School Excellence Framework which provides a clear description of the key elements of high-quality practice across the three domains of learning, teaching and leading. In the weeks and months ahead, we will seek input and feedback from our community in finalising our planning for the next three-year cycle. To view an infographic of the school planning and reporting approach, click here.

This edition of The Auracle comes with a big ‘well done and welcome’ to the new students who will be joining our school in 2018. The NSW selective high school placement process for this year has concluded and I am pleased to report that our Year 7 cohort will comprise more than 70 students from 39 schools across the state. A further 30 students from 18 schools were successful in gaining places in Years 8 to 10. Our students and staff look forward to working with you in the years to come.

The map above and to the right shows the locations of our new 2018 students. News of the great work being done by our students and staff is reaching further into areas of the state not previously touched by Aurora College. In 2018, our school will share Stage 4 and 5 students with 18 schools that have not previously partnered with Aurora. I would again like to thank our parent representatives in this process, Natalie Winter (mother of Charlie in Year 7 and Jackson in Year 8, Nowra High School) and Stephen Tynan (father of Maria in Year 8, Leeton High School).

Education Week is a state-wide, annual event to celebrate public education in NSW. This year’s event was a celebration of NSW public schools’ commitment to ensuring: system-wide improvement; high expectations for all; personalised student learning; wellbeing; and creating stronger ties with local communities.

In a strong endorsement of our school, for the second year in a row Aurora was chosen to feature in the official video for Education Week. This year, Virginia Cluff (Head Teacher, Science) spoke with passion about differentiated learning at NSW’s first virtual selective school. Also featured in the video are Aurora partner schools Canobolas Rural Technology High School, Orange High School, Denison College of Secondary Education and Dunedoo Central School.

Planning is also well-underway for an expanded Stage 6 curriculum. In 2018, Aurora College will be offering the following subjects:

Year 11

Mathematics (2 Unit)
Mathematics Extension 1
English Advanced
English Extension 1
Software Design and Development
Italian Beginners
Japanese Beginners
Korean Beginners

Year 12

Mathematics (2 Unit)
Mathematics Extension 1
Mathematics Extension 2
English Advanced
English Extension 1
English Extension 2
Software Design and Development
Italian Beginners
History Extension

All principals in rural and remote government secondary schools have received information regarding the Stage 6 application process at Aurora College. Applications for entry into Year 11 (2018) close on close Friday 27 October 2017. Applications for entry into Year 12 (commencing Term 4, 2017) close on Friday 25 August 2017. Current Year 11 Aurora students do not need to apply for entry into Year 12. For further information, visit our website

Secondary principals in rural and remote areas of the state who wish to learn more about partnering with Aurora College to provide a broader Stage 6 curriculum at their school should contact Aurora College on 02 9886 7560.

Finally, the Rural and Remote Education Conference 2017 is fast approaching. Community members who are interested in joining us at the Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach on 7 and 8 September can register on the conference website Building on the success of the inaugural event in Bathurst last year, this year’s program will focus on innovation, resilience and community.

Enjoy reading The Auracle, e-newsletter of Aurora College.

Chris Robertson


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Deputy’s report

Trial HSC examinations and the HSC

We are now in Term 3 and many Year 12 students are completing their Trial HSC exams. Students can feel under considerable stress during this period.  For further information on coping with stress, click visit REACH OUT ( stress&page=1) for strategies to help you cope during this period.

Students and their parents should also note that an enormous amount of growth can happen following the Trial HSC examinations, and how important this growth will be for HSC examination results. I wish all Year 12 students the best of luck with their examinations.

Please note: Preliminary Yearly Examinations begin in Week 7.  These examinations will be an opportunity for Year 11 students to further develop the necessary skills in preparation for their 2017 HSC year.

World Council for Gifted and Talented Education Children

Staff at Aurora attended the 22nd WCGTC Biennial World Conference at UNSW Sydney this month. The event was an opportunity for researchers, practitioners, parents, and other stakeholders to gather from around the globe to discuss the vital matters, issues, and concerns that impact the field of gifted education and gifted and talented children.

The focus for 2017 was “Global Perspectives in Gifted Education”. A key note was delivered by Mark Scott, Secretary, NSW Department of Education. In his presentation, Mark gave a special mention to Aurora College. Click here to view Mark’s keynote presentation.

Gifted Families Support Group 

Parents can also join the Gifted Families Support Group (GSSG), a not for profit association designed to support gifted children, their families and educators. GFSG focuses on bringing together ‘like-minds’ and those passionate about educating and engaging gifted children. They provide a vast array of supportive events through their core body and sub-branches, highlighting the needs of gifted children within the local and state communities. For further information, visit

Bathurst Residential School

The next Residential School program will be held in Bathurst from Monday 23 October to Friday 27 October with some exciting activities being planned for all students. Further information relating to permission notes, activities and payments has been emailed to all parents. Please complete and return all necessary forms by Friday 8 September 2017.

Student Assistance Scheme

Aurora College’s Student Assistance Scheme (SAS) is a limited annual allocation of funds to support eligible students attending the college. The scheme provides financial assistance to families for school curriculum related expenses. Financial assistance may be sought to participate in the Residential School program. If you require more information please contact our office on 1300 287 629 or email at

Subject selection process

The process of selecting subjects and developing timetables for 2018 is now in full swing in most schools. Students in Year 10 will be making subject selection choices for Years 11 and 12. If your child would like to study a subject in Year 11 or 12 that is not currently being offered at their home school, they may be able to study this through Aurora College. For further information, please visit

Communicating with Aurora

If any of our students are in need of support, their first point of contact is usually his/her Aurora College Coordinator. If students are absent for an assessment, not understanding assessment guidelines or not understanding class work, they are encouraged to communicate directly with their teachers. Parents who would like to contact your child’s teacher to discuss any concerns can do so by contacting the coordinating office by phone on 1300 287 629 or email at

Finally, a reminder that parents are able to access their child’s attendance records via the Sentral portal. Please contact the office if there is a discrepancy that needs to be corrected.

What’s coming up next term?

  • Applications for enrolment in Year 11 (2018) close 27 October 2017
  • Applications for enrolment in Year 12 (commencing Term 4, 2017) close 25 August 2017
  • Bathurst Residential School from Monday 23 October to Friday 27 October 2017

Kathy Klados

Deputy Principal

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Connect locally, learn globally

What good/different things exist in your hometown?

Edward River, Deniliquin

Deniliquin is a town with a tight-knit and inclusive community. Being a relatively small town has its advantages as it is not as confined like living in the city and you know most people.

What is your hometown known for?

‘Deni’ is known for industries such as rice growing and sheep work. Our rice mill is currently the biggest in the southern hemisphere and we also have huge sheep stations like Boonoke.

We are also known for the Ute Muster. The Ute Muster is held every year and in recent years has had Keith Urban, Shannon Noll and Cold Chisel headlining at the concert.

What do you like most about your community?

I like the freedom and the range of available activities in Deniliquin. It has a town centre where you can do a little bit of ‘shopping’ (mostly at Target) or you can walk along the Edward River. The people and community here are extremely welcoming.

Georgina and Aurora friends

What do you like doing?

My favourite sport is netball. I currently play for the Deniliquin Rams in the Murray football and netball league in our Under 15s side. I also train with the Bendigo Sports Academy on Sundays. I enjoy playing music such as guitar, piano and singing.

How many people are in your year group and school?

There are 90 students in my year group and 500 across the whole school.

What do you hope to do when you leave school?

As a child, I always wanted to become a professional netball player. When I leave school, I want to do something along the lines of health and fitness or dietetics or become as healthy as Neve 😛

What is the best thing about learning and being part of Aurora?

By far, the best thing about being a part of Aurora is Dr Rudmann’s ‘science’ experiments and meeting all my friends. Making friends has made Aurora so much easier; we are like a family now.

Georgina Mildren

Year 9, Deniliquin High School

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HSC study days program

A range of HSC Study Days for students were offered this year, with each being well attended. One of the highlights was having Ross Gittins, Economics Editor and Jessica Irvine, Senior Economics Writer, both from Fairfax present to students.

Ross Gittins at Aurora

Ross Gittins at Aurora College for the HSC Study Day series


The main aim is to provide rural and remote students with educational opportunities not otherwise readily available, so it was pleasing to see an increase in the number of schools and students attending this year. Once the series is complete, an evaluation will be conducted.

Below is a table showing the subjects, dates and registrations. Chemistry and Software Design and Development are coming up soon.

Date Event Number of school registrations Number of students 
15-Jun English (Advanced and Extension 1) 35 414
19-Jul Physics 10 58
21-Jul Mathematics Extension 1 21 76
24-Jul Mathematics Extension 2 7 20
26-Jul Mathematics 2 Unit 30 359
27-Jul Economics 25 321
30-Aug Chemistry 18 110
6-Sep Software Design and Development 4 24

Kate Thompson

Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

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Spotlight On … Owen Brown

Where was your previous teaching appointment?

I spent most of 2016 teaching Science in the Sutherland Shire at Sylvania High School and Kirrawee High School. Teaching at Kirrawee was especially exciting for me as it was one of the very first schools I taught at, back in 2004.

What is your local community like?

I live in Petersham in Sydney’s Inner West. I love the lifestyle. There are lots of great cafes and bars with live music. There is also a lot of terrific street art. The houses are all very closely packed together, and the streets can be tiny, which is very different to the streets around Wellington and Gilgandra, where my family lives.

What’s your favourite subject to teach?

My favourite subject has always been Science because I have always been one to ponder why things work the way they do, and it is very rewarding to be able to help others understand as well. I am lucky to also teach Mathematics at Aurora. My favourite senior subject to teach is Chemistry, but I have also taught a lot of Biology and loved it.

What do you like about teaching at Aurora?

I really enjoy Aurora because it is a novel and exciting way to teach, and the students are hungry for knowledge, for an understanding of the universe. The students respect knowledge and embrace learning and I envy the way they get to meet like-minded peers all around the state. Knowing that my colleagues and I are giving bright students these wonderful opportunities makes me very proud.

What are your other interests?

I enjoy watching Rugby League and I go to the gym. I follow American politics obsessively. I love watching documentaries. I will spend money to see any superhero movie that gets made. I really like video games. I own an Xbox 360 and XBox One. My favourite games include Fallout, Skyrim, Bioshock and Batman Arkham.

Owen Brown

Science and Mathematics Faculties

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Bright lights

Byron Bay Writer’s Festival

This year we had the opportunity to attend the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival, a three-day event featuring writers on topics from Queen Victoria to the experiences of refugees. Kyogle High students were able to listen to talks by Australian authors like Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rite and The Good People and Clementine Ford who wrote Fight Like a Girl, a book on modern day feminism. We also met Deng Thiak, author of Song of a War Boy, a personal memoir of his brutal childhood in Sudan.

The Festival also showcased art from various artist and a great diversity of food. There was also a book store featuring books of the various authors presented at the event and a book signing (or if you didn’t have a book, a phone case or a bag or a school shirt…). We all had a great time and even the bus trip was relatively fun.

Nutthinee Sirising and Ayla Hausen – Year 9, Kyogle High School

Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians (MCYA) – Update

This year nineteen Aurora College mathematicians submitted entries for the MCYA-Challenge Stage.

Sixteen students tackled the Junior (Year 7/8) level. Zoe Jenkins (Year 8, Tenterfield HS) was awarded a distinction and finished in the top 13 % of entrants. Robert Thomas (Year 8, Billabong HS) finished in the top 40% and received a credit. Congratulations also to Aiden Alexander, Iris Cuddy, Chloe Gruber, Daniel de Haan, Thomas Derwent, Kayden Dunne, James Ferguson, Olivia Ferguson, Zara Jobson, George Johnston, Jonah Menzies, Devlen Strachan, Lachlan Taylor and Callum Weppler for developing their maths skills and gaining participation certificates.  Nationally, almost 5 000 students entered the MCYA – Junior level.

Three Aurora students entered the Intermediate (Year 9/10) level.  Well done to Liam Wymer (Year 9, Young High School) who finished in the top 20% of entrants and was awarded a distinction, and to Amber Ashan (Year 9, Dubbo South Campus) who gained a credit.  Congratulations is also extended to Aiden Wallis who received a participation certificate.  Nationally, more than 2 500 students entered the MCYA – Intermediate level.

Certificates will soon be sent to home schools.

Eight Aurora students have entered the enrichment stage of the challenge which operates for the rest of this term. Some excellent solutions to the competition problems have already been received.

Ian Whiteway, Mathematics Faculty

National Writing Competition finalist

Congratulations to Emily Henby (Year 10, Oberon High School) on the announcement that her poem ‘Tech-Tonic Wasteland’ has been shortlisted for the 2017 John Marsden and Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers. Emily’s poem was originally written for an English task.

Emily and 14 other shortlisted students will travel to Melbourne to meet John Marsden and attend an exclusive creative writing workshop with Mark Brandi – but it will be a long wait until August 31st to find out who has won.

For further information, visit the competition website or go to Oberon High School’s Facebook Page.

Ruth Grace, Aurora College Coordinator, Oberon High School and Deborah Royston, English Faculty.

Aurora classmates catching up in person

Charlie Allen (Year 7, The Henry Lawson High School) was passing through the Snowy Mountains last month and so called into Jindabyne to say hello in person to his fellow Year 7 Aurora classmates Aja and Ella, at Jindabyne Central School. These three do all their science, maths and English classes together in a virtual Aurora classroom so it was great to chat face to face for a change and check out the Aurora facilities there.

Danielle Allen (Mother of Charlie Allen – Year 7, The Henry Lawson High School)

Young High School access Aurora for their HSC studies

Aurora College was mentioned in Young’s local newspaper, The Young Witness, highlighting the benefits of our HSC Study Day Series. Young High Schools students joined students from across rural and remote NSW in preparation for their HSC examinations. Read the full story at The Young Witness.

Sharleen Mulawin, R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

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Masterclass program

Masterclasses are aligned with syllabus content, school goals, student interests and/or general capabilities drawn from the Australian Curriculum. We continue our work with partners such as Macquarie University, Royal Botanic Gardens and the State Library of NSW in setting up some high quality masterclasses. Stay tuned for upcoming sessions – emails will be sent to students prior to each event.

We will be offering a short course for students on Robotics using LEGO next term. This will be held online via Adobe Connect each Wednesday afternoon with a face-to-face session at the Bathurst residential. Students also have the opportunity to participate in regional championships, held in November at Macquarie University. Please see flyer for more details and permission required.

The next parent masterclass will be presented by Phil Meyer on behalf of ThinkUKnow which alerts parents about youth online interactions and content. The session will be held via Adobe Connect at 3:00pm on Tuesday 19 September. Please register your interest here.

Kate Thompson

Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

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Residential School

Next term our Residential School will be in Bathurst for students in Years 7-10.

Information and permission notes were sent to parent email accounts last week. Permission forms are due to be returned in less than 3 weeks, by Friday 8 September 2017.

Please note that the electronic signature can be difficult to set up and a handwritten signature on the printed forms is also accepted. 

If you have not received the permission notes and information via email, you can access them from the school website at

Sharleen Mulawin

R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

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Student wellbeing

Recently, staff from Aurora College attended the Kids in Cyberspace, Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young People conference hosted by Generation Next at Sydney Town Hall.

Highlights from this event included hearing from experts in the field of cyber safety and mental health and acquiring additional information and resources for supporting the wellbeing of our students.

The internet can be a storm of information and social connections, and often children are more saavy than their parents in navigating the web. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner, featured at the Kids in Cyberspace, Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young People conference, provides a range of online safety resources for schools, students and parents. Access information on how to report cyberbullying by clicking here.

Parents can download or order a copy of the Parent’s guide to online safety in a variety of languages by visiting

Sharleen Mulawin

R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

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Mentoring program

We have established further contacts through the NSW Department of Education’s Sponsorship Unit, which will help us to expand our network of mentors and industry partners.

Later this term we will be sending out information for student nominations to participate in the e-mentoring program. Keep an eye out for further details about how students can participate in this wonderful initiative.

Sharleen Mulawin

R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning

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Student work samples

Year 7 poetry

As part of a unit on Imagery, students in year 7 were asked to compose a poem which engaged the five senses. They were asked to think about a situation with strong sensory images such as a rubbish tip or an ice cream parlour.

Indulge your senses in the following samples:

Carolyn McMurtrie

Head Teacher English

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Library report

Book week 2017

The Australian Children’s Book Week theme for 2017 is ‘Escape to Everywhere’. Popular Australian Children’s and Young Adult author, Tristan Bancks, states in regards to the theme this year:

“It invites wonder about the world and the wide variety of humans who live here. The theme also captures why I read – to escape – to live inside someone else’s mind for a while and to see and feel what they do. That’s why they say reading makes you more compassionate and empathetic. And we need that now more than ever”.

Tristan has previously presented a masterclass for us. Students at Aurora College are encouraged to participate in activities related to Book Week 2017. Please see our website for further details.

Borrowing stars for Term 2

Well done to our partner schools Broken Hill High School, Canowindra High School and Parkes High School for having such avid readers! Congratulations to the following students for excellent borrowing and reading habits in term two: Iris Cuddy (Year 7, Canowindra High School); Ella Dennis (Year 7, Jindabyne Central School); Nutthinee Sirising (Year 9, Kyogle High School); Luke D’Ettorre (Year 9, Willyama High School); Madeline-Ruth Zanon (Year 8, Broken Hill High School); Emma Hocking (Year 9, Broken Hill High School); Jordyn Chapple (Year 9, Parkes High School); Laura Kerr (Year 7, Canowindra High School); Tynan Matthews (Year 9, Parkes High School); and Mackewin Strachan (Year 9, Nowra High School). Astra’s have been awarded.

The Reading Hour 2017

Save the date, September 14 2017, and set aside one hour during the day to read. ‘Reading selfies’ are encouraged to be emailed to Mrs Taylor or perhaps a reading “shelfie” can be sent – a photo of favourite books on your bookshelf! Email

The Stella Prize

The Stella Prize for 2017 was awarded to “The Museum of Modern Love” by Heather Rose. The Stella Prize is a major literary award that celebrates the writings of Australian women. The prize is named after Stella Maria Sarah “Miles” Franklin. Both fiction and nonfiction books by Australian woman are eligible for entry. Budding Aurora College female writers are encouraged to enter The Stella Prize in the future

Cosmos Magazine Online

Have you seen a two headed snake? Want to know how loud a balloon is when it pops? Is there really a butterfly with glass wings? The latest in scientific research is available to our students via Cosmos Magazine Online. Access is via the OLIVER Library homepage in your DoE student portal.

The glass-winged butterfly. Image by David Tiller, used with permission.

Ex Libris Aurora, our new Library resources newsletter, is emailed directly to students. The next issue is due out later this term.

Does anyone else worry about Abibliophobia? Abibliophobia is the fear of running out of reading material! Send me an email and list the types of reading material you fear you may run out of!

Happy reading!

Kaylene Taylor

Teacher librarian

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From the engine room

At the commencement of this term, we migrated to our new financial/student systems.  After 15 days training over 10 weeks, our minds were a fog.  However, the fog is starting to clear.  It is still early days with some things taking longer than expected but we hope to be proficient in the new systems by the end of this year.

We have also welcomed our new School Administrative Officer, Thara Shubbian.  Thara comes from a background in health, but has taken to her new role with enthusiasm and professionalism.

We remind parents that accepted methods of payment are: online (Westpac secure site) through our website (For Parents/Make a Payment); by cheque made payable to Aurora College; or by credit card over the telephone.  Please note our new telephone number is 1300 287 629.

We can no longer accept payments by direct deposits.  Our bank account is closed and we are now part of the whole of the NSW Department of Education with one bank account.  As you can appreciate with 1 353 schools currently using the one bank account and an additional 690 schools coming ‘onboard’ by the end of the year, it is impossible to allocate funds correctly that have been deposited directly into the Department’s bank account.

Term 3 will continue to be busy with preparations for Residential Camp 2 and Year 12 students completing their studies as well as welcome packs to be posted to our Year 7 2018 cohort.

Denise Deaves

School Administrative Manager

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A message from our technology sponsor, Microsoft

You may have heard of the term STEM and it’s applicability in modern teaching. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and Microsoft has a vast range of STEM tools available to parents and students.

Click the poster above to download a brochure with links to resources for embracing STEM with Microsoft!

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Aurora College; 3b Smalls Road, Ryde, NSW 2112
Phone: 1300 287 629; Fax: 02 9886 7525; Email:
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