From the principal’s desk
Student engagement may be defined as “a disposition towards learning, working with others, and functioning in a social institution.” [Willms, J. D. (2003). Student engagement at school: A sense of belonging and participation. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.]
Engagement at school includes students’ sense of belonging, the extent to which they value schooling outcomes, and their investment in their learning. Few would argue that engagement and learning are not very closely connected. For all educators, therefore, student engagement is as important as academic achievement as a key measure of student success.
Tell Them From Me is a suite of surveys for measuring student engagement and wellbeing. The surveys can be used to capture student, parent and teacher voices, providing reliable evidence for schools to use in identifying strengths and areas for improvement. The Department’s Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation engages The Learning Bar to administer the surveys to NSW government schools.
Between 31 March 2019 and 11 April 2019, 156 Aurora students completed the Tell Them From Me survey, which included ten measures of student engagement along with five ‘drivers’ of student outcomes. So how engaged are Aurora students? The report below summarises the results.
The Tell Them From Me results strongly correlate with the findings of numerous other surveys, including those conducted by the Aurora State Reference Group. You have previously heard me describe the Aurora experience of our students using the three words: engaged, challenged and connected. At the Term 2 Aurora Leadership Conference and the upcoming Term 3 event, staff will continue a ‘deep dive’ in to the mass of data collected. In coming editions of The Auracle, we will publish further results of the most recent surveys.
On 31 July 2019, the Department of Education’s Rural and Distance Education team will be hosting the inaugural Rural and Remote Parents Conference. This conference will be held at the Dubbo RSL Club and has the theme Inspire 2 Engage. The conference program includes a keynote address by Scientia Professor and Professor of Educational Psychology, Andrew Martin.
Along with organisations which include: Head Space, Royal Far West, and the Centre for Effective Reading, Aurora College will have a ‘shop front’ at the conference and Kathy Klados (Deputy Principal), Serena McLean (Project Officer, AOCP) and I will be available to meet with current and prospective parents. For further information, contact Rural and Distance Education via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on 02 6334 8070. Registration for the conference is free and may be completed at https://pandcfederation.formstack.com/forms/inspire2019.
No doubt, families across rural and remote NSW are in the process of busily preparing applications to enrol at Aurora College in 2020 or have received or are eagerly awaiting application outcome advice. By way of update:
Visit our website for information on how to apply.
Outcome advice sent to the families of all 145 applicants for the AOCP, followed a rigorous process which culminated in a full day meeting of the selection committee in Sydney on Tuesday, 25 July 2019. On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank the students, and their parents and teachers for their time and effort in preparing such high quality applications.
For the 2020 program, we were able to offer places in the AOCP to 48 students. Obviously, many of the applicants will be disappointed that they have not been successful in gaining a place. I encourage all applicants to apply for Year 7 selective high school placement at Aurora College for 2021. Applications open on 8 October 2019 and close on 11 November 2019. Visit https://education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/selective-high-schools-and-opportunity-classes/year-7 for further information.
Finally, on your behalf, I offer sincere condolences to Toby Beasley-Smith (Year 7, Eden Marine High School) upon the passing of his mother, Tracey, on Saturday 15 June. Our hearts go out to you during this difficult time, Toby. May your memories of your courageous mother bring you and your family comfort.
Chris Robertson | Principal
Deputy Principal’s report
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff who completed reports and conducted parent interviews. If parents have missed out on this opportunity, please feel free to arrange an interview by contacting the coordinating office by phone on 1300 287 629 or email email@example.com
WAT (Wellbeing Action Team)
On the 18 and 19 June, a number of staff from the WAT attended the Essential Training for Leaders of Wellbeing workshop run by WISA (Wellbeing in Schools Australia). This will enable us to consolidate our wellbeing practices and ensure we continue to embed preventative measures as the school expands. In the coming months, some staff will also be completing the Mental Health First Aider course which will provide further training and practical first aid skills for helping our students with management strategies to enable them to cope at school and at home.
School discipline code
It is an expectation that Aurora College students will behave in a manner that reflects well on Aurora College and their home school, at all times. Below are the core rules that all students in NSW are expected to follow. Aurora College’s School Discipline Code incorporates these core rules.
All students in NSW Government schools are expected to:
Behaviour that infringes on the safety of others, such as harassment, bullying and illegal or anti-social behaviour of any kind, will not be tolerated. Source: Core Rules – Student discipline in NSW Government Schools
When a student enrols with Aurora College, they become a shared enrolment of two schools. It is an expectation that our students will behave in a manner that reflects well on Aurora College and their home school at all times.
Appropriate and acceptable use of internet and online communication services
As heavy users of the internet and online communication services provided by the NSW Department of Education, all Aurora College students must abide by the Department’s conditions of acceptable usage.
Online Communication Services: Acceptable Usage for School Students lists three key areas of responsibility for students when working in the college’s virtual learning environment. These relate to:
Coordinator of the term
The Term 2 ‘Star Aurora College Coordinator’ goes to Marie Speer from Junee High School who supports students from Year 7-12. Marie was an amazing contact and support with our Year 11 Software Design and Development students and has now been brilliant with the transition of our new Year 11 and 12 mathematics students. Thank you for doing a great job, Marie!
What’s coming up next term?
For further information, please visit http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/learn/enrol/
Kathy Klados | Deputy Principal
HSC Study Days
Our 2019 HSC Study Day series launched successfully in mid-June with a huge boost in registrations for Physics, Biology and Chemistry.
For Physics, Professor Tim Bedding from the University of Sydney, provided insight and detail about electromagnetism and the nature of light.
We also secured Ross Gittins from the Sydney Morning Herald, who shared his intricate knowledge of both domestic and global economics with HSC students studying that subject.
More than 2000 students have participated in the first four HSC study days this term! Programs and registration details for the remaining eight subjects can be found at http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/events/hsc-study-days .
Kate Thompson | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning
Opportunity Class Pilot
During the ‘Filter This’ unit, students created a filtration system and used universal indicator strips to determine the success of changing the pH level of the water.
To the right, is a photo of Robert Poile’s experiment. After leaving the experiment in the sun for a few hours, condensation formed on the cling wrap and filtered down into the smaller cup inside. The magnet on top was used to create a cone-shape for the water to drip into the cup. Students recorded observations and results as a part of their Scientific Investigation in Stile.
Students also had the opportunity to code a game with the purpose of educating others about the importance of water sustainability. They had to plan their games through brainstorming, flowcharts and storyboards. The purpose was for students to display their knowledge of algorithms, especially sequencing, branching and interactions. Below are some work samples.
Flowchart by Keegan Farquharson
Storyboard by Johanna Bissell
Serena McLean | Project Officer AOCP
Faculty news – English, HSIE and Languages
Language knows no boundaries
Stage 6 Japanese Beginners students, engaged with special guest speakers from not only Australia but also from Japan.
Katie-Rose, a former student of Mrs Ruming, who works for Mitsubishi Corporation, paid a visit to share some practical Japanese speaking advice all the way from Kobe in Japan.
Katie-Rose also gave the students an insight into how learning languages has opened the door to career prospects across the world.
Languages – bringing people together!
Minecraft for Education
Year 7 English classes have been journeying their way through the magical and enchanted worlds of fantasy texts this term.
As part of the ‘Out of This World’ unit, we have explored how authors use specific conventions to create the setting, plot, themes and characters that can be identified through the fantasy genre. Each week we have focussed on developing analytical writing skills with the culmination of an essay due at the end of the term.
A major highlight for all students is the second part of the assessment which requires students to utilise their understanding of the genre conventions to create their very own fantasy world in Minecraft for Education.
The imagination and creativity of Year 7 can be seen in these screen shots of worlds that are still a work in progress.
Students in all year groups have been engaged in wide reading activities, this semester. Please enjoy some selected pieces of student work:
Carolyn McMurtrie |Head Teacher English, HSIE and Languages
Faculty news – Science
Aurora College has registered for the ICAS Science Assessment. The assessment is online now and Aurora College is happy to incorporate this in to our extra-curricular activities that we offer to our students.
Aurora will cover the cost of the science test this year so, it is free for all our students!
The closing day to enrol is by 26 August and the test will be between 4 -6 September, during Aurora College science lessons. The test is one hour long and comprises multiple choice questions. Class teachers will confirm the actual test time for each class, closer to date.
Students are encouraged to fill in the form if they wish to participate. The supplied link is for student use only.
Year 7 – Single cell superheroes
In Year 7, students have been learning about cells and their features. As part of this, students were challenged to create a superhero that embodied the powers of one cell structure. The following are just a few of the awesome and creative ideas proposed by 7Sci3.
Medical, engineering or environmental heroes of tomorrow!
Year 10 science students recently completed an assessment task in which they collected three research papers from a science field that they were really interested in. They had to analyse and report on the methods and results from these papers and discuss the implications of that research on society.
This entailed producing a written literature review and presenting a 5 minute talk to their classroom teacher. We received some outstanding reports; some of which were tertiary level submissions. The research fields were incredibly interesting and ranged from local to global.
Here’s a snapshot of what our Year 10 students are passionate about:
The Science faculty looks forward to all of our students presenting a scientific poster on these topics at the Science Fair during Residential Two – so junior Aurora College students, be on the look-out for those.
Remember, these students could be the medical, engineering or environmental heroes of tomorrow; and you heard of them here first!
Fiona Boneham | Head Teacher Science (Rel.)
Where are they now?
Nutthinee attends Kyogle High School and studied English, Mathematics and Science with Aurora College, completing Year 10 in 2018.
Recently, I was accepted to attend a five-day STEM research camp at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) where I will have the opportunity to work alongside other passionate STEM students in one of Australia’s world class research facilities.
At this camp, I will participate in projects focusing on developing innovative solutions to social issues we face today and in the future (click here for a full list). I’ll also have the chance to interact with QUT STEM ambassadors and lecturers and explore different STEM related career pathways, as well as QUT scholarship programs.
I’m so excited and delighted and would like to thank Aurora teachers Ms Boneham and Ms Spargo for their support in taking the time to help me with my application. Without them, I doubt I would have the pleasure of being part of such an amazing experience.
Nutthinee | Aurora Alumna
Connect locally, learn globally
The Milton/Ulladulla area is known for its farmland and being near the water. There’s lots of water and beach activities like nippers, surfing and volleyball. There’s also lots of bushland around here.
What I like most about the community is that it’s pretty small, you pretty much know everyone and most people are friendly. We are also in a great location and it’s not too far from most things and places. There are also lots of great activities that can be done here like volleyball, soccer, basketball, AFL, swimming, surfing and other sports, as well as there being a cinema, theatre, Funland (an arcade) and the Dunn Lewis Centre (bowling and minigolf).
We also have things like music, art and musical theatre available and lots of occasions to showcase these talents at events like ArtFest, and the Australia Day Festival. We have markets on every few weekends and the Milton Show, which is just around the corner. It’s sort of a farmy thing with a rodeo, baking contest and lots of horse events. There’s also lots of cool rides.
I also enjoy performing in Milton Follies, which does musical theatre. I have participated in Kindergarten and in Years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8. They didn’t have a show in Year 7 and in Year 6, however, I was performing and touring in Sydney with my friend Nazar. Our primary school, Milton Public School, also put on plays when I was in Years 4 and 5. In Year 4 we did The Jungle Book and I was the main character Mowgli and in Year 5 we did Shrek and I played the part of Gingy.
On weekends, I like to go to the beach, river or creeks out in the bush with my family and do stuff with my friends. My Dad works at Forestry so he knows lots of cool places no one goes to. He also went firefighting in America last year when they had big fires. We also have lots of good beaches to go to. I especially love going to go to the beach with my friends. Really anything social is fun. I also play volleyball in school on Thursdays and I went to a statewide training camp as well.
When I leave school I want to be a designer. I don’t mind if it’s a graphic designer like my Mum, a fashion designer or hopefully an interior designer. It has been a passion since I was little and I really enjoy doing it! I want to go to university and work part time during the holidays as a seasonal firefighter with my Dad. It would mean I would not only earn money, but I’d get to spend time with him too. It would also be fun to be a dog trapper, trapping wild dogs that are harming the environment and animals. We have one dog. Her name is Pumpkin. She is a German wire-haired pointer cross blue tick coonhound cross kelpie. I want to get another dog. Some sort of German wire-haired pointer cross and name it Saturn. We also want to get another dog and name it Spinwich. Pumpkin likes spinach and we call it spinwich when we feed it to her!
The best parts of learning with Aurora and being a part of it is meeting people from everywhere. I know that’s what most people say but I’m not great at making friends so this is really good for me. I have made many new friends so far and can’t wait to meet more! Aurora so far has been great. It has had lots of ups and downs but I’ve stuck with it and I’m very happy that I did. I struggled with the amount of work last year, but I learned from it and will continue to. It was overall a lot of fun though. All my home school friends are in a GaTS class and I had the choice of doing that or learning with Aurora. Luckily I chose Aurora because it’s AMAZING!
Sienna (Year 8, Ulladulla High School)
Georgia (Year 12, Narrabri High School) has been selected to attend the International Youth Science Forum in Michigan, USA. Georgia studies Science Extension with Aurora College and we are excited that she will have this opportunity.
Australian Tennis Teams Championships
Jeorge (Year 8, Bathurst High School) had been selected by Tennis NSW to represent NSW at the Australian Teams Championships, to be held on the Gold Coast. There are 4 boys who are selected to play the 13/U event from each state, and there are 4 other teams from New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, and Pacific Oceania that will compete at the event.
We wish Jeorge and his team mates all the best!
Shannon (Year 9, Nyngan High School) joined class mates at his home school to create a’ book in a day’ that will be given to kids recovering from cancer treatments in hospitals round the country. The competition gives the writing groups parameters they have to work within. This year, Shannon and his peers had to have a journalist, a gymnast, a vampire, the setting had to include Kakadu and involve some buried treasure. The team rose to the task and challenged each other to come up with nearly 5000 words that fit the outline.
We can’t wait to read a copy of the final story!
Regional Cross Country Competitor
Elsa (Year 7, Taree High School) competed at the Hunter Regional Cross Country. She came 27th from a field of 62, in the 13-year girls, running 3kms. Elsa is pictured here, after the race, in her long coveted Hunter Jumper!! Well done Elsa!
Sienna (Year 8, Ulladulla High School) gained new skills over the Easter Holiday break when she took part in the NSW Volleyball under 15s development carnival held over three days at Valentine Stadium in Sydney. Sienna started playing volleyball at school last year and the carnival provided her with an opportunity to develop her skills on the court as well as refereeing and scoring games. She had a fantastic time during the three day camp and met players from all around the state. Sienna played with the Southern girls team which won four games, tied one and lost one, placing them in fourth position on the ladder against city teams! She is looking forward to honing her skills and hitting the court again later in the year.
Patrick (Year 9, Gulgong High School) likes to volunteer in his local community. Earlier in the year he assisted with the dining room at the local show. In May, he helped the Gulgong Prince of Wales Eisteddfod volunteering in many roles. Patrick has been helping at the Eisteddfod for a number of years. This year he assisted with set up and pack up of the venues, worked in the canteen, was a scribe in the Speech section and was Assistant Announcer in the Dance section for 21 sections over 7 days. Patrick enjoys volunteering as he likes helping others and it gives him an opportunity to meet all kinds of people.
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 up to in their local communities. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, marked: attention The Auracle.
Student Representative Council
Our ten week challenge for students and staff concluded on 5 July. Please ensure all entries are logged via the PSC Tracker App or emailed to Mrs Taylor.
SRC reps have been looking at our very own Aurora College Superhero, from student entries, earlier in the year. SRC students are also researching and discussing a ‘house structure’ for the school. A school wide survey will be going out next term to harness the ideas of all students.
Kaylene Taylor | SRC Coordinator
Spotlight on… Murray Rose
Where was your previous teaching appointment?
I graduated for the University of Wollongong with a scholarship and have been teaching at Denison College – Bathurst High Campus for 5 years. In 2016 I became the schools ACC and quickly became interested in Aurora. After hearing all the positive reviews from my students, I decided to apply for a teaching position.
What is your local community like?
Bathurst is quite a large country town with around 40,000 people living here. The main attractions are:
Most people aren’t fans of the car races as it brings around 200,000 people into our town for a week!
What’s your favourite subject to teach?
I love physics as I like a good problem to solve and like thinking about complex theories. Also, any new discoveries and technology are awesome. I watch a lot of Vsauce2 videos on YouTube and visit the sciencealert page on Facebook often.
What do you like about teaching at Aurora?
So far I love how welcomed and supported I have been from both students and teachers. Everyone has helped me settle in and get on top of how everything works.
What are your other interests?
As to be expected, I have a rock and mineral collection and like cool science gadgets for display in my home. I have travelled a lot and enjoy my 4×4 and camping. By the age of 12, I had been to every state and territory in Australia by car.
Murray Rose | Science Teacher
Literacy and Numeracy Team
The Literacy and Numeracy Coaches have been working closely with individual students in tutorial sessions. Students have been actively involved in learning activities to help support them with their own literacy and numeracy goals.
For the entire Year 8 cohort, students have undertaken Literacy and Numeracy mini assessments which has allowed us to gather data to determine potential areas for improvement, as well as to identify and remediate some common misconceptions that became apparent through these tasks. It has also allowed for Year 8 teaching staff to implement strategies into curriculum programs.
Aurora College has been selected to take part in a team which will provide further professional learning in the areas of ‘Leading Secondary Writing’ and ‘Leading Secondary Numeracy’. This five-day face-to-face workshop supports literacy & numeracy leaders in secondary schools to lead whole school initiatives aimed at improving student literacy and numeracy outcomes. The project uses a cycle of teacher inquiry to promote more effective teacher practice.
If you have any queries regarding the Literacy and Numeracy Team, 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
Building resilience in your child
“When we talk about resilience, we’re talking about a child’s ability to cope with ups and downs, and bounce back from the challenges they experience. Building resilience helps to develop the basic skills and habits that will help them deal with challenges during adolescence and adulthood.” 
resilience = the ability to bounce back and refocus
Edith Grotberg, a senior researcher with the International Resilience Project, says “Resilience is important because it is the human capacity to face, overcome and be strengthened by or even transformed by the adversities of life. Everyone faces adversities; no one is exempt. With resilience, children can triumph over trauma; without it, trauma (adversity) triumphs”.
According to Beyond Blue:
One way of explaining the concept of resilience is to imagine a plane encountering turbulence mid-flight. The turbulence, or poor weather, represents adversity. Different planes will respond to poor weather conditions in different ways, in the same way different children respond to the same adversity in different ways.
The ability of the plane to get through the poor weather and reach its destination depends on:
Raising resilient young people 13+
We can raise resilient young people through :
The following website also has some excellent reading to help you as parents encourage resilience in your child.
A final word from Edith Grotberg who suggests that children draw their resilience from three sources which she labels “I Have,” “I Am,” and “I Can.”
A child doesn’t require all these aspects but does need a number in each category. 
Cathy Groth |Learning and Support Teacher
Enjoy some of the Semester One adventures to partner schools by Aurora College staff. Our shared students are fabulous ambassadors for their home towns and their ‘patch’ of rural and remote NSW. It is our privilege to visit.
|Aurora College: C/- Mowbray Public School 635 Mowbray Road LANE COVE NORTH NSW 2066 Phone: 1300 287 629; Email: email@example.com Website: www.aurora.nsw.edu.au; Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuroraCollegeAU|