Vol. 4, September 2015
In this issue:
3B Smalls Road
Phone: 02 9886 7560
From the Principal’s desk
Last week, staff at the Aurora College office in Sydney were joined by our Head Teachers and a classroom teacher representative from each faculty for a two day conference. The purpose of this ‘brass tacks’ meeting was to review our current policies and procedures and to make any necessary improvements. Underpinning these discussions was the wide-ranging data collected from the surveys of students, parents, teachers and partner school principals that were conducted throughout the year.
The ongoing process of refining the operation of the college has, of course, largely been guided by the work of our State Reference Group (SRG). Much has been achieved in this forum, including endorsement by the group last week of the Student technology guidelines. This and other documents endorsed by the SRG are available on the Aurora College website http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/partner-school-information/. The Partner School Information page provides detailed information on how Aurora College will work with our partner schools in 2016 to provide the highest quality curriculum for our students. A checklist for parents will soon be available on the website. This document will give all parents the confidence in knowing that the curriculum of each student is being planned for and supported by both Aurora College and their home school.
Drawing upon the consultation processes of 2014 and 2015, the Aurora College School Plan 2015-2017 lists three strategic directions for our school:
The plan will provide the college with the opportunity to lead educational innovation for the achievement of excellence in learning, teaching and leadership. It will also provide a framework for the strategic allocation of resources, and performance monitoring and reporting. The school plan can be viewed at http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/school-policies/.
On Wednesday 2 September, I was very pleased to host a video conference meeting with our incoming Year 7 students and their parents. In 2016, we will be joined by 63 Year 7 students in 29 government high schools. The image above shows their distribution across the state. This meeting was the first of many opportunities for students and parents to familiarise themselves with how their new school operates. Details of a second ‘meet and greet’ and a number of demonstration lessons will be forwarded in the first week of next term.
Following a meeting of the Enrolment Selection Panel, I was also very pleased to offer a position to a further 15 students seeking enrolment in Years 8 to 10 in 2016. I would like to thank Mary Whitehouse (mother of Lillia, Year 7) for giving up her very valuable time as your parent representative in this process. On behalf of the entire Aurora community, I would like to welcome all our incoming students and their families.
Have a happy and safe holiday!
Term 3 has been another busy time for everyone in the Aurora community. Highlights have included:
HSC subject selections
The HSC year commences on the first day of next term. Our first HSC cohort will be studying the following subjects:
Ongoing consultation with rural and remote communities will inform the selection of subjects to be offered in the future.
Personalised Learning Plans
We have been working hard this term to finalise Personal Learning Plans (PLPs) for all our students. Each PLP includes a timetable plan to specifically help our students manage the workload of both Aurora College and their home schools. Please contact your Aurora College Coordinator at your home school, for further details.
Leadership Team 2015
The leadership team met again on Wednesday 16 September to continue the important process of forming Aurora’s first Student Representative Council (SRC). Our Next meeting will occur at the upcoming Residential School and will focus on developing the SRC constitution.
Aurora has recently purchased Skoolbag to support improved communication with students, parents, teachers and Aurora College Coordinators. This system will allow parents to receive instant notifications from Aurora College on any ‘smart’ device. The full version is available on Windows 8/10 Mobile, Android and iPhone. See Ben Hillsley’s Tip from a techie for further information.
What’s coming up next term?
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.
Tip from a techie
A number of students have recently reported the discovery of viruses on their devices. All students are advised to take the following precautions:
Are you trying to download a Microsoft product but it’s not downloading from Microsoft? Could be a virus! Did you receive an email from someone you don’t know? Could be a virus! More tips from Microsoft on how to protect yourself against viruses are available here.
All of these precautions will help to protect you, but they will not make you invulnerable. Everyone will get a virus eventually. Generally, just use your common sense and you shouldn’t have too many problems. If you need help, remember that you can always contact me on 1300 610 733 or AuroraCollegeITSupport@det.nsw.edu.au
We have started using a school communication application, Skoolbag, to send instant notifications parents, students, and staff. You can download the application on iOS devices (iPhone, iPad etc), Android devices, and Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows Mobile devices. Click the links below to be taken directly to the app store for your device.
Once the application is installed, you will need to configure the alerts you wish to receive. To do this:
Please note: Subscribing to an alerts category will not necessarily provide you access to the content. Users who are not staff members of Aurora College will not be able to view content in the Staff area.
I would like to remind you that there is no support during the school holiday period. Please feel free to call the IT Support line and leave a voicemail, or send an email through, however there are no staff available to respond until after school returns next term. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday.
Learning Technologies Support Officer
Connect locally, learn globally
We are both Year 7 students at Eden Marine High School (EMHS). Our school is on the Far South Coast of NSW and we are the most southern of all the Aurora College partner schools this year. Students who attend EMHS travel from 35 km north, 33 km south and up to 42km west of Eden. We are both ‘out of town’ students and travel for about half an hour each way by bus to get to school.
Eden is the coastal halfway point between Sydney and Melbourne. It was one of thirty-nine suggested sights to be considered as the capital of Australia! Eden is home to one of the deepest natural harbours in the Southern hemisphere and is famous for its whaling history that is on show at the Eden Killer Whale Museum. The region is known as the ‘humpback highway’ and between September and November thousands of humpbacks head home to Antarctica.
As a coastal area, we have very low pollution and lots of access to beaches and nature. The Eden community is friendly and we are encouraged to play lots of sports. Between the two of us we play: rugby league; AFL; soccer; cricket; basketball; and train for karate. Being beach-side, we find lots of time to swim and surf at the beach, even in the crowded tourist season.
Eden Marine High School has about 650 students, with just over 100 in our Year group. We can see the beach from school and there are lots of ovals to play on. So far this year we have learnt to build websites, create surveys and embed videos as part of our Aurora lessons. These are all new skills that we work on in our Aurora College learning space, which is in the school office building at EMHS. We have really enjoyed the science days at school this year and have been supported by Ms Sheehan (Head Teacher Science) with lab time on our regular timetable.
Our Aurora College coordinator, Mrs Taylor, has been working with us since we were in primary school. Even though it has not always been easy, Mrs Taylor has made the transition between primary school, Aurora College and EMHS much smoother than it would otherwise have been. Next year we are moving into a larger space in the Library, as more students join Aurora College from our home school.
Hunter and Lachie
Year 7 (Eden Marine High School)
What is really happening to our kids on the internet?
A newspaper Editorial composed by Mackewin Strachan of 7ENG1 (Goulburn High School) as part of the Virtual Worlds Unit:
Have you ever wondered what your kids get up to when they turn on their phone or computer? They could be visiting another world, a virtual one, where they can go to new places, meet new people and see new things. Don’t let them plunge into these new worlds on their own. Read on to learn how you can help them explore these worlds safely.
Virtual worlds are fun and sometimes educational, but they can have a more sinister side as well. Some try to sell you things using real money, and other worlds are crawling with bullies or computer viruses.
Some virtual worlds will try to sell you virtual items for real money. They will usually have a button that looks innocent, but when it is pressed your child will be purchasing an in-game item, usually with your money. Some virtual worlds are crawling with computer viruses. Bullies can also be a problem in virtual worlds.
Some people may say that virtual worlds are perfectly innocent, and that your children have enough knowledge of virtual worlds that they will not press buttons that will make them pay for in-game objects, or will watch out for viruses and scams. These people are wrong. Many children do not know much about virtual worlds, cyber-bullying or viruses. There have been many instances when children have been bullied, which could have been prevented if their parents were more careful and taught them about virtual worlds.
You can protect you child from all of these things in many ways. You could educate them about virtual worlds and show them what they are allowed to do in a virtual world. You can also monitor what they are accessing in virtual worlds and make sure they understand that it is fine to go to you if they are being bullied online. You could also research some virtual worlds to help you decide which ones they can access. When doing this you could look for games in which players cannot type anything in chat, because there are filters on language or they have to choose from a list of phrases to communicate with other players.
So virtual worlds are not bad, and can increase your child’s knowledge of the internet and the modern world. As long as you make sure that your child is not accessing anything they shouldn’t, and that they are perfectly comfortable with accessing a virtual world, everything should be alright.
Year 7 (Goulburn High School)
The residential program for Term 4 is packed with a combination of academic and social activities, including: a live link to CERN and the ATLAS experiment; a Shakespeare masterclass; a Drumbeats team building exercise; a robotics session at the Powerhouse Museum; an ANSTO educational tour; mentoring and more! Details were emailed to parents last week.
For information and permission/payment forms, please visit the Residential Camp section of our website, or contact the school on 02 9886 7560.
Please note: All permission forms must be returned to the office by Wednesday 7 October.
Head Teacher Secondary Studies
Bright lights of Aurora
Congratulations to the following students:
Aiden Wallis of Year 7 (Nowra High School) has been elected to the Nowra High School Student Representative Council.
Ritesh Baral of Year 7 (Nowra High School) is part of the Nowra High School Maths Engineering Team to compete in the South Coast Regional Championships of Tournament of Minds.
Darcy Hopkins of Year 7 (Nowra High School) recently competed in the King of the Mountain fun run on Cambewarra Mountain. Darcy came 10th in his age group. A mountainous effort!
Zachary Haynes of Year 7 (Denison College of Secondary Education Bathurst High Campus) has a Piano Direction Scholarship at the Mitchell Conservatorium and participated in the Lithgow High School Festival of Speech, gaining the Junior Impromptu Speech prize. Zachary also won second prize at the Royal Bathurst Show in the Under 19s Creative Writing section.
Alexandra Lindsey of Year 9 (Dubbo College South Campus) won the Southern Cross International Judo Championships in her age group in Melbourne on the weekend of 12-13 September.
Maighan Mashford of Year 8, and Sophie Morrison and Josh D’Ettorre of Year 10 (Willyama High School) participated in the Science and Engineering Challenge in August, a nationwide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) outreach program presented by the University of Newcastle in partnership with communities, Rotary clubs, universities and sponsors. The Challenge runs a range of programs but focuses on inspiring students in year 10 to consider a future career in science and engineering by choosing to study the enabling sciences and mathematics in Years 11 and 12.
Summer Rose Stingemore of Year 9 (Cobar High School) attended the Moorambilla MAXed Out choir camp this week.
Jessica Kitto of Year 11 (West Wyalong High School) was elected School Vice-Captain at West Wyalong for 2015-2016. In a rigorous selection process, Jessica and the other candidates were required to: submit a written application to the school executive; be interviewed by the Year 9 and Year 10 leadership teams; and address the whole school assembly on the reasons why they should be elected. Jessica is a great role model for both Aurora and her home school and a testament to the success of the positive partnerships that have been built between the two schools.
Informative and in-depth masterclasses continue to be provided for students. On 19 August, students had the opportunity to participate in three masterclasses provided by Macquarie University:
Links to all the Macquarie University LEAP (Learning, Education, Aspiration, Participation) talks can be found on the YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB0MEK2IHaF1g7vPCRKfMcg
Holiday programs for gifted students are offered by the University of NSW from Tuesday 19 to Thursday 21 January. A range of workshops are on offer for those interested. Visit GERRIC, the School of Education for more details.
Thank you for completing the survey about the most suitable times for the delivery of parent masterclasses. There was a relatively even spread between the times of 3-4 pm, 4-5 pm and 7-8 pm.
A masterclass for parents, carers and teachers has been organised for Tuesday 27 October from 3-4 pm. It will be delivered by ThinkUKnow. This is an internet safety education programme which is run in both primary and secondary schools through a network of accredited volunteers and school champions. There will be a presentation of approximately 50 minutes followed by about 10 minutes to ask questions. There will be two presenters, one from the Australian Federal Police and the other will be an industry professional (eg. from Microsoft or Commonwealth Bank). Topics to be addressed include sexting, cyber bullying, identity theft and online reputations. This is an adult only event.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 16 October. Details for the online delivery of this session will be disseminated prior to the event. For more information please visit www.thinkuknow.org.au
Head Teacher Secondary Studies
Exciting news! We have a pilot group of 8 volunteer mentors from Microsoft and CAASTRO (the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics) to mentor 8 young people from Aurora College.
They completed an mentoring induction program led by Christine Black, who teaches Year 8 Science at Aurora, Kate Thompson, Head Teacher Secondary Studies and a psychologist from the Departments own Child Well-being Unit.
Students involved have been briefed this week and are excited about the first ‘virtual’ meet and greet!
Head Teacher Secondary Studies
Spotlight on … Mr Mark Goreta
It has been another busy term, delivering information to classes about how to use Wheelers and Newscan. All students have been sent a word document that outlines how to use the Newscan Indexing Service, which is an online database of newspaper articles from The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the BRW journal. This database can be used by staff and students for gathering contemporary information.
New eBooks are constantly being accessioned to the library and can be borrowed through Wheelers. The most recent texts are considered reference material and relate to topics such as giftedness, autism, ADHD, perfectionism, anxiety and depression. See the latest additions here https://aurora.wheelers.co/browse/just-added. Please note: Only English Extension 1 students are able to borrow Neuromancer as this is their nominated text for study.
Please contact Belinda.email@example.com for more information if needed.
A message from our technology sponsor, Microsoft
Microsoft is excited to announce the availability of two new content creation tools, available free to all students and teachers.
A message from our technology sponsor, Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard has developed their NSW Education store for students, parents, staff members and families to purchase devices like the Elite X2 (pictured left) at special prices.
Be sure to check out the store at http://hpshopping.com.au/edunsw
From the engine room
From time to time your contact details may change, eg. your mobile telephone number or your work telephone number. As the school communicates mainly via email it is important that we also have your latest email address. If any of your contact details have changed, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
School Administrative Manager
Aurora College; 3b Smalls Road, Ryde, NSW 2112