From the principal’s desk
It gives me great pleasure to bring you news of our first ever Universal Achiever. The Universal Achiever Award is the highest accolade of Aurora College’s merit scheme. The honour of being the first recipient of this award goes to the very deserving Zoe (Year 10, Tenterfield High School). To win this coveted award, Zoe accumulated the necessary five Galaxy Awards over her three years and one term at Aurora. Congratulations on being the first student to achieve this level, Zoe. Definitely one for the Aurora history books!
Zoe will receive her Universal Achiever Award at our presentation assembly to be held during the Term 4 Residential School at Collaroy, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Family and friends of Aurora College will receive an invitation to join Zoe and the other award winners at the assembly via ‘livestream’. This technology was trialled by our school recently, with over 100 families joining us for Dr Karl’s masterclass at the first residential school of 2019. We look forward to you joining students and staff for this and other future residential school events.
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, parent representatives, primary and secondary school principals, and senior officers of the NSW Department of Education.
Following a recent expression of interest process, David Dubois has joined Genie McMullen as your parent representatives on the SRG. David is the proud father of two Aurora students at Murwillumbah High School, Anna in Year 9 and Momo in Year 11. On behalf of all members of the SRG, I welcome David to this important role. If you wish to contact either of your parent representatives you may do so via email to AuroraParentFeedback@gmail.com.
The brief of this reference group is to provide strategic advice to the Executive Directors Public Schools NSW 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. The next full-day face-to-face meeting of the group will take place in Sydney on Friday 10 May.
At the meeting in Sydney, the group will review the results of recent surveys of all key stakeholders. Students and parents have received an invitation via email to complete a survey which will help inform the future directions of the college. 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 data for the planning cycle 2018-2020. Of course, continuous school improvement and the pursuit of excellence are the core business of all good schools, including Aurora College. 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:
All NSW public schools must also prepare and publish an annual school report which is a summary of the school’s progress and achievements. The Aurora College School Plan 2018-2020 and Annual School Report 2018 can be viewed on our website at http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/school-excellence/.
A significant component of our plans for the future growth of our school is the Aurora Opportunity Class Pilot (AOCP). Following the orientation program in Term 4 last year, classes for phase 1 of the project commenced in the first week of this term. Our first intake of Stage 3 students are studying mathematics, science and technology with Aurora and the balance or their curriculum in their home school. Our Stage 3 students also enjoyed their first residential school experience from their base at Sydney Olympic Park in Week 6 of this term.
The Aurora College Executive is currently working with our colleagues from the department’s School Policy and Information Management Unit on the design of the evaluation of the AOCP. The results of this evaluation will help to verify the need for a virtual opportunity class in rural and remote areas of NSW where there is currently no ‘terrestrial’ provision. Assuming that a need exists, the evaluation data would then assist the working group to develop an operational model and budget for a virtual provision and a communication strategy to engage all stakeholders.
In the first week of next term, we will commence an expression of interest process to select potential partner schools for phase 2 of the AOCP. The process will be as follows:
For further information, please visit http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/teach/opportunity-class-pilot/.
Enjoy the school holidays!
Chris Robertson | Principal
Term 4 residential school
Planning for our second residential school program is well underway. It will be held at the Collaroy Convention Centre, Collaroy, from Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November. Details will be forwarded to parents and students early in Term 3.
Our first parent webinar, Using Sentral and Safe Laptop Use took place on 27 March and helped parents to use the Sentral Parent Portal and to understand safe student laptop use at home.
For more information, please visit our website:http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/parent-masterclass-registration/
This interim report indicates how your child has begun the new academic year, identifying areas in which he or she might require further attention or support. The report also provides 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Coordinator of the term
Tina demonstrated her commitment to our rural and remote students by travelling to and from the Stage 3 residential school. Her commitment also extended to stepping in and leading parts of the residential program, due to a staff member’s absence at short notice.
We appreciate all you have done for our students, Tina!
Assessment handbooks and Scope and Sequences
Connecting to virtual classrooms
A parent’s guide to health and safety issues related to laptop use can be accessed at: https://education.nsw.gov.au/student-wellbeing/health-and-physical-care/media/documents/spinal-health/laptopparents.pdf
A student’s guide to health and safety issues related to laptop use can be accessed at: https://education.nsw.gov.au/student-wellbeing/health-and-physical-care/media/documents/spinal-health/laptopstudents.pdf
Please contact our Learning Technology Support Officer, Ben Hillsley, by telephone on 1300 610 733 or email: email@example.com for further information or assistance with technical issues.
What’s coming up next term?
Kathy Klados | Deputy Principal
Sydney adventures, new challenges, new friendships and the opportunity to connect with teachers, awaited our Stage 3 students for the inaugural Aurora College Opportunity Class (AOCP) residential school.
After being overwhelmed by mosquitoes during our outdoor icebreaker games, our team challenges continued inside, testing skills and providing raucous laughter and cheering to begin our week. Hands on science experiments which focused on changes of state, linked with our visit to the Capitol Theatre to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As imagined, the musical was one of the highlights of the residential.
Students also had the opportunity to visit ANSTO to showcase their knowledge and understanding of chemistry and to view the nuclear reactor.
STEMshare provided the coding and virtual reality workshops that took students to a different place. Working together as teams and partners in a physical space to problem solve allowed students to get to know each other in a new context.
Playing soccer games out on the field, bowling and laser tag were also experiences which will provide lifelong memories. With 84% of students strongly agreeing that ‘getting to know other students’ was a highlight, we declare the first Stage 3 residential school an outstanding success.
We would like to say particular thanks to Tina Porter (ACC, Morgan Street Public School) who accompanied our AOCP students from Broken Hill and supported the residential with her enthusiasm and commitment each day.
Serena McLean | Project Officer AOCP
Junior residential – Stage 4 & 5
The Stage 4 and 5 residential for Term 1 2019 took place at the Katoomba Christian Convention Centre. 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.
Excursions and activities included: Team Building for Year 7; Outdoor Education (Archery, Orienteering or Challenge Course) for Years 8-10; visits to Scenic World and Jenolan Caves (Lucas Caves Tour); Bell Shakespeare for Years 9-10; a popup bookshop, and guest speakers, Dr. Karl and Steven Herrick. Students also enjoyed a visit to the cinema and leisure activities.
Sharleen Mulawin| Head Teacher Teaching and Learning (Rel.)
Senior residential – Stage 6
It was Week 6 already, time flying by in the lead up to the first residential for this year and the last residential for some. Hunter and I have been with Aurora College for 5 years, we started as the guinea pigs or the ‘originals’ as we call ourselves. In doing so, we were a part of a huge step in education history; we were among the first group of chosen students to be a part of a virtual selective high school in NSW. Being part of an online school has its ups and downs, but with the dedication of the teaching staff and help from the behind the scenes tech gurus, we’ve made it this far.
Agriculture is my chosen subject and I am in a small class, making study easier as the teacher is able to get to know us very well. Students travelled from all over the state by bus, plane and car to meet at Naamaroo, Chatswood. On the first night, most people were quiet and stuck with people they previously knew. There were only four originals at the camp; this was both good and bad. It was good because it gave us the opportunity to make new friends, but it was bad because the originals were very close and it felt different without the same familiar faces. We missed the other originals at residential.
The next morning, when people had caught up on some sleep, we started to get to know eachother. Breakfast was a chance to break the ice and to start a conversation. Then we caught our buses and went our separate ways; the ‘Aggies’ spent their day on the farm at Hurlstone Agricultural High School and the rest spent their day at the University of Sydney, completing chemistry and physics practicals in a laboratory. Our day on the farm started with a shearing demonstration, then when the tour started, we piled into the farm ute and were driven around the perimeter of the farm and completed our farm case study. A tour of the various enterprises that are run at Hurlstone, including the dairy, the piggery and the show cows was very interesting. Once the tour was finished and we had completed our case study, it was technically time to return to camp, however, I was able to convince the teacher to let us stay for the milking session. We then went back down to the dairy and gained some valuable knowledge of the milking process. After a couple of hours of milking various species of cows, we fed the bobby calves some colostrum.
The next few days included lessons and lectures, and the last day we spent navigating our way through the city in teams, Amazing Race style. Gaining clues along the way we worked as a team to find significant markers around Circular Quay and The Rocks. We watched a couple of buskers and got up on stage in true Aussie spirit and sang along with them, bringing in a small crowd to check out the performance. This was probably my highlight of the day and something I will remember for years to come. The race really picked up pace in the last hour when we had to find the ‘game keeper’, an unknown person who was sending us challenges throughout the day. The game keeper gave us a clue that led us on a chase by ferry to Luna Park, where he/she was hidden somewhere along the foreshore. All three teams were on the same ferry, making the chase even more intense. When we finally pulled up to the dock, it was a race to get off the ferry. Clumsily tapping off our Opal cards, we ran along the foreshore, our eyes scanning the area for the game keeper. After sprinting a distance, I caught sight of the distinctive red suit of the well hidden game keeper. The next challenge was to get my whole team to her without everyone finding out. They all raced over and we WON. There was one last photo opportunity under the big mouth at Luna Park before we boarded the buses back to camp.
The last bus trip with us all together, was quite emotional, but was helped by the sounds of music blasting from bluetooth speakers. There was little to no sleep that night, with everyone staying up playing various assortments of card and board games all night or simply chatting. It was, after all, our last night together. The next morning was quite sad, with people having to say goodbye to friends they had only just made and the originals saying their goodbyes for what could possibly have been our last time together. However, we still keep in contact and will definitely be organising a reunion for all the ‘Bright Lights’, both original and new. The senior residential was an amazing experience and I just hope I will be able to attend another.
Lachie Cooper and Hunter De Jong | Year 11
Faculty news – English, HSIE and Languages
This term, Year 7 have been exploring the concept of storytelling. This culminated in a writing piece where students utilised their creative prowess in describing their home towns, taking their readers on a journey through one of their favourite memories. The submissions received ranged from heartfelt stories of friendship and cooperation to humorous tales about physical mishaps and family holidays gone wrong. Teachers enjoyed the personal voice that students developed in their writing and also learning about students’ lives through this task. Please enjoy reading a small selection of our students’ work, by clicking on each title to view;
Carolyn McMurtrie |Head Teacher English, HSIE and Languages
Faculty news – Mathematics and Software Design and Development
We have had a fabulous start to the year in the Mathematics and Software Design and Development faculty. We welcomed four new teachers: Ms Nadine Wild (Hunters Hill High School); Mr Chris Hayden (Bowral High School); Mrs Amanda Manson (Model Farms High School); and Ms Helen Spencer (Cobar High School). They have already made such valuable contributions to our faculty and we are very pleased to have them working with us. Many of the fantastic activities that our students participated in during the Katoomba residential school were designed, resourced and implemented by our new staff. Our returning staff have continued in their generous, collegial way, offering much support to our new teachers and to our students.
The best way to show you what an amazing time we are having is to show you some student work samples, of which we are particularly proud:
Kathy Howard | Head Teacher Mathematics and Software Design and Development
Faculty news – Science
Students in Year 10 have been undertaking studies on the immune system in science and then decided to investigate scientific claims that the anti vaccination movement is based on, to look at the validity and reliability of their data. Click on the title to view a sample of the work, some our young scientists have developed – Anti-vaxxer movement – Alley, Calvin, Ella and Callum
Australian National Chemistry Quiz
Aurora College students are encouraged to enrol in the ANCQ this year. Participating in this challenging competition will test your chemistry knowledge and skills against some of the best students in Australia and beyond.
Full details are on the flyer, or contact your Science teacher.
Fiona Boneham | Head Teacher Science (Rel.)
Well who knew you needed to inoculate about 440 000 perfect chicken eggs per day for months on end to help develop the influenza vaccine?
Vincent Chung, Director of Manufacturing Influenza Virus Vaccine at Sequiris in Melbourne, explained the process in detail to students in Years 9 and 10 to complement their science studies. We were unable to record the masterclass due to the commercially sensitive material that was shared, but we saw and heard about each step of the manufacturing process, including ‘bombs’ (the bad eggs that literally explode!).
Sequiris manufactures 5 million doses for the southern hemisphere and 30 million for northern hemisphere. 100% of students indicated that it was a valuable masterclass, 92% said that it deepened their knowledge in science and 64% indicated that participating in this masterclass made them feel more confident about their academic ability.
Our most recent masterclass was with Professor Julie Cairney from the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. She is also a Director at the Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis and is CEO of Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility. Julie grew up in Broken Hill and shared her study and career path with Aurora students, many of whom were in awe at the images through microscopes shown on the screen.
She provided an overview of some of the work her research group is involved with, such as using microscopes to provide 3D atomic-scale maps showing how structures are arranged in ‘inner space’. Her projects demonstrate how understanding the smallest things can help to understand things as enormous as the Milky Way. Over three quarters of students thought the masterclass deepened their knowledge in this subject area.
Masterclasses scheduled for the year are added to the website when confirmed at: https://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/events/masterclasses
Barbra has been named one of the ‘Top 30 Global Gurus in Education’ in 2016, 2017 and 2018; and she regularly presents engaging, practical and technology-based workshops to teachers and educational leaders across the globe
Feedback from this 1.5 hour registered course included:
This session was one of a three part series on ‘rigour’. details of the next sessions can be found at: https://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/events/professional-learning
Kate Thompson | Head Teacher, Teaching and Learning
Spotlight on … Katie Rowe
Where is your ‘other’ teaching appointment?
What is your local community like?
What’s your favourite subject to teach?
What do you like about teaching at Aurora?
What are your other interests?
I enjoy challenges and believe that learning never stops.
Katie Rowe |Science and Agriculture Faculty
Connect locally, learn globally
I live in a small town called Yerong Creek. It isn’t really famous for anything, but I like it because it is small, quiet and peaceful. I have lived in Yerong Creek for about three years and I love it.
I go to Billabong High School and I have around 60 – 70 students in my year. There are around 450 kids at my school, including me! Before enrolling at Billabong High School, I attended a primary school with only 20 students.
I have a lot of hobbies, including music, sport, cooking and shopping. I can play recorder, piano/keyboard and a little bit of the drums. My favourite sport is soccer, and I despise netball! I like to cook once in a while and I love baking desserts. When I have money, I can’t resist the urge to shop and I sometimes spend without thinking.
A fun fact about me is that I can speak two languages – English (obviously) and Vietnamese. I’m also learning Japanese in my home-school and I’m not doing too badly 🙂
I love being a student at Aurora because you can meet new people, make new friends and it’s just an incredible experience! My advice for all students out there? Work hard and get into Aurora…. It’s worth it!
Alice (Year 8, Billabong High School)
Patrick from our partner school, Gulgong High, is pictured here on the evening of the Spirit Award Dinner.
Patrick was awarded the Moorlarben Junior School Spirit Award for his outstanding attitude towards his education and community.
Patrick was also a member of the recent Lawn Bowls team for Gulgong High that recently progressed to the NSW CHS State Finals.
Kobi and Jye are enrolled at our partner school, Bermagui Public School, and are members of our OC pilot class.
We wish both boys, and their team, the best of luck in the next round of the PSSA knockout.
Oscar (Year 7) will be competing in the 200m Individual Medley and Joshua (Year 10) will be competing in 200m and 400m Individual Medley, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m Freestyle, 100m Butterfly, 4×50 Freestyle and medley relays at the upcoming state swimming finals.
We wish both competitors all the best.
Daniel (Year 10, Coolamon Central School) will be competing over the school holiday break in a Rubix Cube competition in the national capital.
Daniel has entertained and amazed students and staff with his Rubix Cube skills at many residential schools.
Wishing you a fantastic time, Daniel!
Sunni is very busy with rehearsals for a production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Sunni is enrolled at one of our AOCP partner schools, Broulee Public School.
Makayla (Year 7) has a position on the school leadership team, at our partner school, Young High School.
Makalya is also the first Indigenous student in her school to attend Aurora College.
The novel “Heist” is the result of two terms work, brainstorming the scenario and characters and then collaborating with each other so that the stories would interweave and connect.
Future Bright Lights
If your child has a passion outside of our virtual classrooms, please feel free to email us a few words and an image, it is always lovely to know what our students are investigating. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, marked: attention The Auracle.
Term One has been a very exciting term with a number of new initiatives launching for 2019, as well as all the excitement related to residential school.
Premier’s Reading Challenge
Did you know that Will Kostakis is one of the new PRC ambassadors for 2019? Will was the amazing presenter that shared his writing journey with us at the second residential, in 2018. Along with Deborah Abela (author of Max Remy, Spelling Bee and Ghost club series), Susanne Gervay (author of I am Jack and Butterflies) and Oliver Pommavanh (author of Thai-riffic and Con-nerd), Will is encouraging students in NSW to be strong readers, as this will improve their ability to also be strong writers.
The PRC opened while we were at residential, but doesn’t close until 30 AUGUST, 2019. Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 have received information to participate, including access to a reading log and a list of new resources from the PRC list available in our digital library. Students are required to read 20 books, 5 personal choice and the remainder from the PRC list.
Graphic novels and comics are increasingly popular with our students, and I am very pleased that one of our digital resource providers, has launched a Marvel Comic collection in digital form. A number of titles have been purchased and borrowed by our secondary students, already this term. If there is a particular series your child is interested in, please have them contact me to ‘top-up’ our collection.
For the first time since we commenced operation of our digital library, all of the Children’s Book of the Year, short listed older reader titles, are available in digital form, prior to the winners being announced. These books are suitable for more mature readers, aged 13- 18. Our guest poet, Steven Herrick, is also on the short list this year.
World Poetry Day 2019:
Students at Aurora College celebrated World Poetry Day on March 21, 2019. To celebrate, students from Years 7-10 were invited to get creative and write a poem – not just any old poem; but a REFRAIN POEM! Poet, Steven Herrick talked about refrain poems with us at residential. Students have until April 12 to submit their refrain poem, via email to Mrs Taylor.
Pop-up bookshop: Katoomba campsite.
Once again, the pop-up bookshop was very popular with students and staff at residential. A wide selection of books were available, as well as titles by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Steven Herrick. We appreciate the support shown to us by Megalong Books, Leura.
Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian
Literacy and Numeracy Team
The Literacy and Numeracy Team has been working collaboratively to delve deeply into the NAPLAN results of 2018 to determine student areas of strength, as well as areas that need some extra support. Our aim is to ensure that each student is able to gain positive growth in the literacy areas of reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as numeracy.
To ensure student success in the areas of literacy and numeracy, the team will begin to implement a two-pronged approach to support students.
The first approach will be the development of Individualised Literacy and Numeracy Plans (ILNPs) for students identified as needing extra support. These plans will identify the areas that need to be addressed and also the strategies which will be used. Parents will be contacted via a letter from the team if their child has one of these plans developed for them.
As part of ILNPs, one-on-one tutorial support will be organised, as well as online support through the Education Perfect platform. This resource will also allow us to complete quick online tasks which will assess students in real time, so that data is up to date and current. If you would like to view the Education Perfect platform, this can be done via the following website: https://www.educationperfect.com/
The second approach will be the analysis of entire cohort results, so that targeted strategies can be specifically embedded into the English, science and mathematics programs.
If any parents at any time have queries in regards to this strategic direction from the Aurora College school plan, please do not hesitate to contact the leaders of this team.
Carolyn McMurtrie |Head Teacher English – Literacy Leader
Kathy Howard | Head Teacher Mathematics – Numeracy Leader
From the engine room
We have an overwhelming number of items in camp lost property, including a Bluetooth speaker, torch, USB drive with gaming application, power bank and watch. If you are able to identify the colour and make of these items or in the case of the USB, which gaming application, we well ensure it is returned to you. The majority of items include bed sheets, clothing and towels. As we cannot identify who these belong to, we will deposit all collected lost property from camp in a charity clothing bin.
We wish to remind all parents that if property is marked with your child’s name, we will endeavour to return it to you if lost. Please consider marking all items belonging to your child before residential camp 2 in November.
If any of your details have changed eg email addresses, telephone numbers or residential addresses, please let us know so that we may update our database and thus ensure you receive all important information.
We wish our students and families a safe and enjoyable holiday break and a Happy Easter!
Denise Deaves | School Administration Manager
Whooping cough (pertussis)
Cases of whooping cough (also called pertussis) began increasing across NSW towards the end of 2018, especially in children between the ages of 5 and 14 years. NSW Health anticipates that this increase will continue throughout 2019.
School-aged children who are infected with whooping cough usually experience a troubling cough that can persist for months, but they rarely get severe illness. However, they can spread the infection to younger siblings and other more vulnerable people who are at higher risk of severe disease. Whooping cough can be a life threatening infection in babies.
What can you do to prevent whooping cough?
For more information on Whooping Cough and vaccination visit the NSW Health website: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/whoopingcough/Pages/default.aspx
Boys Vocal Program
Applications are open for the Sydney or Young Boys Vocal Program. Application close May 24 2019. Please visit the website for further details: https://www.artsunit.nsw.edu.au/music/boys-vocal-workshops
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