From the principal’s desk
Welcome to Aurora College v5.0!
In the first four years of operation, our students and teachers have shown the education community that distance is no longer a barrier to achieving great things, to forming productive working relationships, and to developing and sustaining wonderful friendships. Reflecting on our achievements thus far, and looking forward to all we have planned for 2019 and beyond, we should all be filled with great optimism for the future of our school.
Aurora College is committed to building relationships which foster in our students, a strong sense of belonging to their ‘virtual’ school and to their home school. As evident in this and every edition of The Auracle, by remaining in their local community, Aurora students benefit from the enhanced opportunities that come from belonging to two education communities.
Aurora’s vision is to develop students who are not only at ease in the digital world, but who are empowered through their knowledge, skills and creativity to become influential contributors to the knowledge economies of this century. Proficiency in the use of cutting-edge communication and collaboration technologies underpin opportunities that will build each student’s capacity to become an autonomous, life-long learner.
‘Connecting locally and learning globally’, is not a glib slogan; it is a daily reality for our students. As a school without walls, Aurora’s partners from the business community and from scientific, cultural and tertiary education institutions have added a dimension to student learning that few schools, if any, can match. These partnerships are central to the success of our Masterclass, e-Mentor and Residential School programs, as they provide students with opportunities to extend their learning beyond the classroom.
As effective as our virtual learning environment is at replicating the best experiences of a ‘terrestrial’ classroom, a vital component of the ‘Aurora model’ is the opportunity for students and staff to connect and learn in-person, during Residential School Week. As I write this article, the coordinating office is a hive of activity, as it has been for several weeks, in preparation for the first of two residential schools for 2019.
To accommodate the large increase in student and staff numbers in 2019, the first residential school will be held across three sites: Katoomba (Stages 4 and 5); Chatswood (Stage 6 Chemistry, Physics and Agriculture); and Sydney Olympic Park (Stage 3). I am sure you can appreciate that delivering a high-quality residential program takes a tremendous amount of planning and preparation. The logistics of safely transporting students and staff to and from the three sites alone, is an enormous undertaking. This week, a record ten charted buses will wind their way through rural and remote NSW, to and from Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
Sharleen Mulawin (R/Head Teaching Teaching and Learning) has done an exceptional job in leading the planning for the Residential School Week. Sharleen has been supported in her work by Kathy Klados, Virginia Cluff, Kate Thompson, Serena Maclean, Greg Smith, Kathy Howard and Carolyn McMurtrie. Our administration staff (Denise Deaves, Thara Shubbian and Georgia Brown) and our technology support team (Ben Hillsley and Sean Will) have also worked very hard to make the residential school the great success it will undoubtedly be. Of course, in attending the Residential School Week, staff leave behind their own families and home school classes. Obviously, this requires a great deal of extra planning and changes to routine for all concerned. I thank all staff for their hard work and dedication to this program.
One of the many exciting events on the residential school program will be a masterclass, delivered at the Katoomba site by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Dr Karl made his first appearance at an Aurora ‘res’ in 2016 and his return has been eagerly awaited by students and staff alike. Students at the Chatswood and Sydney Olympic Park venues will be joining the masterclass through our recently acquired live-streaming capability. Last week, I sent an invitation to this event via email to all Aurora families which included instructions on how to connect. We hope that Dr Karl’s masterclass will be the first of many opportunities for families to also join in the fun of ‘res’.
On your behalf, I welcome Fiona Boneham to the role of Head Teacher Science and Agriculture (Relieving). Fiona will replace Virginia Cluff as Head Teacher, whilst Virginia undetakes a six-month secondment in a professional learning role with the department’s Information Technology Directorate. This week, we also welcome our two newest members of staff, Lucy Jellema and Catheryn Groth. Lucy and Catheryn will be providing learning support to our students – Lucy from Aurora’s coordinating office and Catheryn from her ‘home’ school, Chatham High School in Taree. Lucy and Catheryn will begin their ‘onboarding’ with Aurora at the Katoomba residential school site.
Finally, I bring you news of an exciting first for Aurora College with Jackson Winter (Year 10, Nowra High School), Joshua Whittingham (Year 10, Denison College of Secondary Education, Bathurst Campus) and Robert Thomas (Year 10, Billabong High School) competing last week as the first Aurora team*. The boys represented our school at the 2019 NSW All Schools Triathlon Championship at the Sydney International Regatta Centre. Official results were not available at the time of writing this article, though I am reliably informed that Joshua (400m swim), Jackson (15km bike) and Robert (3km run) did a fine job of flying the Aurora flag. Congratulations, Team Aurora! We look forward to a full report at residential school and in the next edition of The Auracle.
Enjoy reading another great edition of The Auracle.
Chris Robertson | Principal
*For the benefit of our Aurora historians, the first student to compete in the colours of Aurora College at an individual sporting event was Dr G’s daughter, Mallee Goldrick (Macksville High School). Mallee competed in the One Day Event with her horse, Max, in the Interschool Horse Extravaganza in Tamworth in October 2016.
Welcome back to the 2019 school year. A special welcome to all our new students and their parents. We look forward to working with all of you.
Who do I contact if I have concerns?
For concerns related to their learning and assessment, students should always make their first approach to their class teacher. Students and their parents also have the option of contacting the relevant Head Teacher:
For most other concerns, the best point of contact for students and their parents is the Aurora College Coordinator (ACC).
Aurora College Coordinator (ACC)
In each of our partner schools, Aurora College funds the release of a teacher to fill the role of Aurora College Coordinator (ACC). The ACC adds an important layer of support for the educational, social and emotional needs of our students.
The role of the ACC is similar to that of a Year Advisor. The role has an administrative component, but the main focus is to support our shared enrolments. The ACC is also the key contact person for Aurora College teachers, students and parents.
The ACC in your ‘home school’ is responsible for:
Your ACC has access to a range of information via Aurora College’s ‘home school’ portal on Sentral, including attendance rolls, details of assessment tasks, timetables, merits and reports. Your ACC can also provide advice about who to contact if you have concerns they cannot assist you with.
More information regarding the role of the Aurora College Coordinator can be found on our school website http://www.aurora.nsw.edu.au/partner-school-information/
All other correspondence to Aurora College should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone on 1300 287 629.
Assessment handbooks for Years 7 to 11 will be distributed via email to all students and their Aurora College Coordinators during Residential School week. The handbooks can also be accessed through the parent and student Sentral portals.
New student transition program
This year, we continued with our orientation program to support our new students. Topics included:
This will be further enhanced through Masterclasses delivered to students and parents by mental health organisations such as Beyond Blue and Reach Out, on topics including resilience and wellbeing.
Expectations of all students
When a student enrols with Aurora College, they become a shared enrolment of two schools. It is the school’s expectation that our students will behave in a manner that reflects well on Aurora College and their home school at all times.
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].
Our students should:
be prepared to engage in learning, by:
respect themselves and others, by:
behave safely, by:
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: access and security; privacy and confidentiality; and intellectual property and copyright.
Students need to attend school regularly to meet the course requirements of the ROSA, Preliminary HSC and HSC. Student attendance is recorded in each lesson at Aurora. The coordinator or parents/caregivers are required to inform the coordinating office of Aurora College within seven days if the student is sick, or:
The Aurora College coordinating office may be reached by email email@example.com or telephone on 1300 287 629.
Students on leave for extended periods
A Certificate of Exemption from Attendance must be obtained from the Principal of your home school if the student plans to be on leave for extended periods. An example of when this may be required is when travelling overseas. In the case, where a student is granted a Certificate of Exemption, Aurora College requires a copy via the ACC. Students will still be required to complete assessment tasks and classwork as negotiated by the Head Teacher for each subject in order to meet course outcomes.
Home school excursions or events
Students involved in home school excursions, such as sports or swimming carnivals, must notify Aurora College via their ACC. This can also apply for special events in schools where the students will be absent from their usual Aurora classes.
What’s coming up?
Kathy Klados | Deputy Principal
It has been great to see the excitement of our students in anticipation of our first Residential School. We are looking forward to seeing them all.
Please note that in the original residential information there was an error regarding what to bring. Students will need to pack linen and towels for Katoomba.
You can view the new list here, which has been updated as part of the overall residential information for Years 7-10. Further residential information can be found via our website or by clicking, here.
Students have also been reminded to bring warm clothes and walking shoes, as the temperature at Jenolan Caves is currently around 15 degrees Celsius.
Sharleen Mulawin| Head Teacher Teaching and Learning (Rel.)
Faculty news – English, HSIE & Languages
Welcome back to all our Aurora families and welcome to all our new Aurora families that have joined us in 2019. This year has seen the English, HSIE & Languages grow considerably, with the following staff making up our fantastic team:
Daisy Little – Years 7, 9 & 10 – Aurora College: Sydney
Cassandra Kaloudis – Years 8, 9 & 10 – Aurora College: Sydney
Connor Boyko – Years 7, 8, 9 & 11 Advanced – Aurora College: Sydney
Christianna Elliot – Year 8 & 9 – Finigan School of Distance Education
Adria Hertel – Year 8 – Denison College, Kelso Campus
Deborah Royston – Year 10 – Bossley Park High School
Kaylene Taylor – Year 7 – Aurora College: Pambula
Tamara Donovan – Year 7 – Canowindra High School
Karla Olmos – Year 7 – Crestwood High School
Luisa McDiarmid – Year 7 – Denison College, Bathurst Campus
Susan Powell – Year 11 Economics – Killara High School
Alana Ragen-Harrison – Year 12 Italian Beginners – Lindfield Learning Village
Julie Ruming – Year 12 Japanese Beginners – Erina High School
Renetta Wolfe – Year 11 Japanese Beginners – Denison College, Bathurst Campus
Janette Ra – Year 11 Korean Beginners – Castle Hill High School
There is plenty of exciting things planned for 2019 from our faculty which your child will be able to be involved in, both in class as well as extracurricular activities that are of interest. Information will be provided when these events are scheduled.
2019 will continue to be a year where we challenge the students with their learning in new and exciting ways. If at any time you have any concerns about your child’s progress or application in these subjects please don’t hesitate to contact the class teacher or myself in regards to the matter.
Carolyn McMurtrie | Head Teacher English, HSIE & Languages
Stage 3 OC Pilot news
After a welcome break, Stage 3 students have returned to a full program for 2019. It was rewarding to see the knowledge and skills gained last year had a positive impact on the navigation of setting up for lessons. With 5 sessions per week, our students are focusing on Mathematics and Science and Technology in an integrated approach to STEM.
Our first Masterclass with David Randall and Goran Lopaticki, both from UWS Hawksbury, helped our students focus their understanding of crop management, farming, sustainability and the future of industry. As our focus for Science and Technology this term, we had the opportunity to view the glasshouse research facility and discuss variables and impact on crops.
With residential at Sydney Olympic Park in our sights, Year 6 have been planning and preparing for the adventure that awaits. It’s a new experience for many of our students, traveling away from home to Sydney. We would like to extend our thanks to the Aurora College Coordinators and parents who have helped support our students settle nerves and focus on the new experiences to come at residential.
Serena McLean | Project Officer AOCP
Spotlight on … Mrs Sharon Davis
Where was your previous teaching appointment?
My home school is Hurlstone Agricultural High School. We are based at Glenfield in Sydney and I have taught Science there since 1995. Just like Aurora, it is a very unique place. I work in the boarding school and spend one day and night at school each week and even some weekends!
What is your local community like?
My local community here at Glenfield is urban, but so much more. We are placed on a school farm with 112 hectares of land that farms dairy cattle, pigs, sheep and beef cattle. Our school is fully selective with both day students and boarders. I work closely with the boarding community and am actually about to move into a school residence at Glenfield with my family.
What’s your favourite subject to teach?
My favourite subject to teach is Science but over the years I have taught Mathematics, Art and lots of Agriculture. My favourite strand of Science is definitely Chemistry, with Biology coming a close second.
What do you like about teaching Aurora?
I feel so privileged to get to teach amazing young students with such talent and potential in both my home school and with Aurora. I really enjoy teaching students from rural backgrounds and have found it very enjoyable learning about the home schools and communities of my students so far. We can’t wait until Res … hot chocolate and marshmallows are already packed!
What are your other interests?
I enjoy reading and gardening along with a papercraft hobby. I teach a group of lovely teachers and nurses papercraft skills once a month.
Mrs Sharon Davis | Science Teacher
Connect locally, learn globally
Griffith is the heart of good produce, including wine and citrus fruit. Because we grow so much citrus fruit, in spring of every year, Griffith holds an orange sculpture festival. Once the sculptures are pulled down, the oranges are turned into juice.
Griffith’s community is a place where people can talk and make friends like any other country town. We have a walk area in the city park that has multiple sculptures to commemorate over 100 years of local history.
In regards to school, I like writing stories and recreating them in stop motion. In my year group, we’re about 80 kids in a school of 1150 students. It is a large school because Wade High School and Griffith High School combined this year to become Murrumbidgee Regional High School.
What I really enjoy outside of school is watching episodes of Doctor Who. In the future, I would like to be a fire fighter or actor, as well as keep writing as a hobby.
The best things about Aurora is the community of students and teachers, as well as the endless opportunities for all students. In short, Aurora College is a brilliant school which I am fortunate to be enrolled in. I would always choose Aurora because you can make friends who are like you, want the best for their education, as well as providing all sorts of clubs and challenges like the master classes which often look at anything from planets to how to manage homework and many more subjects. Aurora has much more to offer than a normal high school does.
Heath (Year 8, Murrumbidgee Regional High School, Wade site)
Rising Tennis Star
Congratulations to Jeorge (Year 8, Denison College of Secondary Education, Bathurst Campus) on his achievements in the Foundation Cup Tennis tournament, played over summer at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club in Melbourne. Jeorge was named the tournament’s best and fairest player (boys), as well being part of winning team for the tournament, from NSW.
Over the summer, the Kearney family from Gloucester, the Bland family from Parkes and the Snape family from Gunnedah had a summer holiday all together in Gunnedah, so their girls could spend time together. What a fabulous bonus to learning with students from all over rural and remote NSW, new places to visit, new adventures to have, new friendships to form!
Morrow (Year 8, Wauchope High School), spent some time over the summer creating a short film to promote concerns he has in regards to logging in his local community, Wauchope. Morrow’s film is about new regulations that could intensifying logging and clear-felling areas.
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.
2019 is going to be a very exciting year for our digital library! Year 7 and all new students in Years 8-10, as well as staff, have already undertaken orientation sessions to learn about our digital school library (OLIVER). Students have access 24/7 to our online subscriptions, ebooks and audiobooks. Stage 3 students will undertake an orientation session later this term and our new Stage 6 students will be sent a recording to access, as well as receiving information related to the subject/s they are studying with us, via Microsoft teams.
We source our ebook and audiobooks via Overdrive and Wheeler’s, to give a greater breadth of resources. All of our library materials are digital and students access them via their student portal logins. Students only need an internet connection to access our resources, some of which may then be downloaded and accessed offline on a portable device. The student devices loaned to our students are suitable, along with a range of other devices, families may already have. On our OLIVER home page, are live links or login details to further subscription services, such as World Book Online, Cosmos Magazine and SpineOut.
This year, a number of new students have shown a keen interest in reviewing books or submitting their own works of poetry, short stories, comic strips etc. to be published in SpineOut. If you think this may appeal to your child, please email me to request a permission note, to allow their works to be published. This is open to students from Year 6 – Year 12.
Pop-up Bookshop: Katoomba campsite
As a service to our students, we invite a local bookshop to pop-up at our year 7-10, residential. This term, Megalong Books from Leura are joining us. Families would have received a credit form as part of the residential information pack. Please feel free to use the form to authorise a spending limit for your child, if you prefer not to send cash. This is an opt-in activity, there is no obligation to participate.
Book signings: Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Steven Herrick & Matthew Lin
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki will be one of our guest presenters at residential. We have a number of his books in our digital library for students to borrow. Students may like to bring a book of Dr Karl’s to the 7-10 residential to have signed, if they already own a copy.
Steven Herrick will be running workshops at the 7-10 Residential. Steven is a pioneer of verse poetry in Australia. We have a number of Steven’s titles in our digital library – it would be great if our students took a sneak peak at one to get a feel for the work Steven does. Again, Steven is happy to sign books students already own, and his works will be at the pop-up book shop as well. Steven has had his latest title The Bogan Mondrian, listed as a contender for the Book of the Year 2019 in the Older Reader Category.
Matthew Lin is a fantastically talented artist, illustrator and designer, who will be joining us at the Stage 3 Residential. Matthew illustrates picture books as well as being a creator of art for manga/anima titles. Our students will enjoy the hands-on sessions with Matthew and I am very keen to see what they create. If you own any works illustrated by Matthew, please bring one along for signing!
Superheroes: Competition and costumes
I am running a superhero theme at Residential in the library space. Students are encouraged to create the Aurora College superhero during their time between activities at Residential. Art supplies and full details will be in the Library space at the Katoomba campsite. Students and staff are welcome to dress as a superhero on Thursday night. Both of these activities are opt-in. I shall be dressing as the superhero teacher librarian that I am!
Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian
Literacy and Numeracy Team
2018 saw the start of Aurora’s next three year school plan, being implemented with one of the strategic directions focusing on the areas of literacy and numeracy to ensure student growth in both of these areas from Year 7 through to Year 9.
As part of this strategic direction a Literacy and Numeracy Team was formed from staff across all three faculties and includes Silvia Rudmann (science), Ian Whiteway and Kathy Howard (maths) as well as Cassandra Kaloudis and Carolyn McMurtrie (English). This team was able to analyse the student data from NAPLAN to gauge student achievement in these areas while also determining areas for greater improvement and student growth.
2019 has seen the implementation of Literacy and Numeracy Leaders and Coaches to support whole year cohorts as well as individual students with their journey of improvement in these areas.
Literacy Leader – Carolyn McMurtrie Numeracy Leader – Kathy Howard
Literacy Coach – Cassandra Kaloudis Numeracy Coach – Ian Whiteway
If there are any queries in regards to this exciting initiative within the school please do not hesitate to contact either of the Leaders.
The Literacy and Numeracy Team would also like to introduce the latest online learning platform to join the suite of teaching and learning resources we use at Aurora College – Education Perfect.
Education Perfect offers students a range of learning activities across multiple curriculum areas, including tasks specifically designed to improve literacy and numeracy. It provides structured lessons suitable for both the classroom and individual learning. Rich images and videos break down difficult concepts and give students a thorough understanding of each topic. Students will be able to track their own progress, teachers will recommend targeted activities based on identified areas for improvement and parents will receive feedback through a feature called the Control Panel.
The resource has been successfully implemented in over a thousand schools from around the world, with notable impacts on student motivation and grades. While we will be using Education Perfect primarily for literacy and numeracy growth, students will have access to learning materials for English, mathematics and science at their fingertips. Students gain points for every question they answer, so they may like to compete against their Aurora College peers in a fun, educational and safe environment at their own pace.
The Education Perfect team has provided us with a list of key features:
Please visit the Education Perfect website for more information – worldseries.educationperfect.com. If you have any questions regarding our Literacy and Numeracy strategies or Education Perfect, please feel free to contact Carolyn McMurtrie or Kathy Howard.
Carolyn McMurtrie |Head Teacher English – Literacy Leader
Kathy Howard | Head Teacher Mathematics – Numeracy Leader
E-safety for primary schools
Safer Internet Day 2019
In partnership with the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner, Aurora College hosted: Your digital superpower. This was a huge online success, with over 22 000 primary students attending from 256 schools. It was great to see our own Opportunity Class students being able to participate in these classes too.
Our next collaboration with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner will promote the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. Students in Years 4, 5 and 6 from NSW Public Schools are invited to attend an online class: Bouncing back from online bullying.
These classes are scheduled for Wednesday 20 March at 11:30 am and Friday 22 March at 9:30 am (repeated).
Schools are able to register for one of these sessions via our school website.
Sharleen Mulawin| Head Teacher Teaching and Learning (Rel.)
All of our new students should have received their new laptop, provided by Aurora College, to assist you in your studies. The new laptops are the Lenovo Yoga 11e 5th Generation and include some minor updates over the last model.
The most common question we get asked is “where is my pen?” Previous models had a pen that was packaged separately and included a rubber usb holder, so that it was always with the laptop.
In this most recent model, Lenovo has gone a step further – it’s actually inside the laptop itself! If you look at the picture to the right, you will see where it fits, and how to remove it.
A reminder to all students that if you have a problem with technology, or even just a general technology question, please email us at email@example.com.
This is a much faster way to get help than emailing either Mr Will or Mr Hillsley directly, and allows us to track all the requests for support. It is also important to include as much detail as possible.
If you are seeing an error message, please take a screenshot and include that. This will help us to find the cause, and solution to your issue faster. Parents, Coordinators, Partner Schools, and Teachers are all also encouraged to use this same process.
Ben Hillsley | Learning Technologies Support Officer
From the engine room
Welcome back and a warm welcome to our new families. Our administration staff are:
Our office hours are 8:30 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Friday
We may be contacted by telephone on 1300 287 629 (cost of a local call) or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have been extremely busy in the office preparing for the upcoming three residential camps: Stage 3 OC class; Stages 4&5; as well as for the Stage 6, senior Science and Agriculture camp. All t-shirt and jacket orders will be delivered at camp.
A friendly reminder that Aurora College’s main source of communication is email. If you have changed your email address in the last 12 months, please advise us to ensure you do not miss out on important information.
Thara, Georgia and myself are always very happy to assist you with your enquiries.
Denise Deaves | School Administration Manager
|Aurora College: C/- Mowbray Public School635 Mowbray Road LANE COVE NORTH NSW 2066Phone: 1300 287 629; Email: email@example.comWebsite: www.aurora.nsw.edu.au; Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuroraCollegeAU|