The Auracle – Volume 35, August 2019


From the Principal’s desk

Welcome to another great edition of The Auracle.

As has been the case at this time of the year each year since our first in 2015, this edition of our e-newsletter comes with our congratulations to the new students who will be joining our school in 2020.

The NSW selective high school placement process for this year has concluded, and I am pleased to report that our Year 7 cohort will comprise more than 80 students from 48 rural and remote schools. A further 38 students from 22 schools were successful in gaining vacant places in Years 8 to 10. I would again like to thank our parent representatives in this process, Nick Stone (father of William and Felix, Moruya High School) and Rita Karaminas (mother of Makayla, Leeton High School).

The locations of Year 6 to Year 10 students who will be joining our school in 2020.

Commencing with us in Term 4 this year will be 48 Year 5 students from 23 public schools who were successful in gaining a place in Phase 2 of the Aurora Opportunity Class Pilot (AOCP). The pilot program is investigating whether the approaches used by Aurora College can be used to establish a virtual opportunity class provision in areas of rural and remote NSW where a ‘terrestrial’ opportunity class does not currently exist. Lessons for our new Stage 3 students will have a focus on STEM, drawing on the Mathematics and the Science and Technology syllabuses.

We look forward to meeting our new students and their families at the upcoming ‘meet and greet’ opportunities, which will be conducted via livestreaming. Families should mark the following dates in their calendars:

  • Stage 3 AOCP meeting on Thursday 29 August 2019 from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm (AEST)
  • Year 7 to 10 meeting on Tuesday 5 November 2019 from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm (AEST).

Students and their families will be able to connect to the meetings at their current school or from anywhere with internet access. Meeting details have been sent to all new AOCP families, and new 7-10 families will receive further information about their meeting in the coming weeks.

The map at right shows the locations of our new 2020 Stage 3, 4 and 5 students. News of the great work being done by our students and staff continues to reach further into areas previously not touched by Aurora College. In 2020, our school will share students with 25 schools that have not previously partnered with Aurora, including Lord Howe Island Central School and Norfolk Island Central School. As we like to say to all incoming students: Welcome! You have found your tribe.

All principals in rural and remote government secondary schools have received information regarding the Stage 6 application process at Aurora College. Applications for entry into Year 12 (2020) closed on Friday 23 August 2019. Applications for entry into Year 11 (2020) will close on Friday 25 October 2019. For further information, including a complete list of courses offered, please visit our website Secondary principals in rural and remote areas of the state who wish to learn more about partnering with Aurora College to provide a broader Stage 6 curriculum at their school should contact Aurora College on 1300 287 629.

Acknowledgement of the high quality learning and teaching at Aurora College continues to reach beyond our state’s boarders. In recent weeks, we have had the pleasure of hosting delegations from Queensland, South Korea and Indonesia. Staff and students were able to offer all visitors valuable insights into why Aurora College exists and how it functions. No doubt, the first-hand knowledge the groups gained from their visit to Aurora College will inform how distance education for high potential and gifted students is delivered in their own jurisdictions. Connect locally, learn globally!

Last week, we were also very pleased to be visited by a great friend of Aurora College, Professor Adrian Piccoli, Director, Gonski Institute for Education, University of NSW. Of course, it was in his term as Minister for Education that the Department developed and implemented the Rural and Remote Education Blueprint which established Aurora College as the state’s first virtual school. Professor Piccoli was keen to see how our school has developed in the years since he changed careers, and to hear about all that we have planned for its future. It was a pleasure to reconnect with Professor Piccoli, and on your behalf, I thanked him for his continuing interest in, and support for, our school.

On 4 June, the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, The Honourable Sarah Mitchell MLC, announced the Department’s new High Potential and Gifted Education Policy. The policy applies to all NSW public schools, teachers, and students. It promotes engagement and challenge for every student in every school across intellectual, creative, social-emotional and physical domains of potential, while explicitly identifying and addressing the learning needs of high potential and gifted students. Equity and excellence are fundamental to the policy.

The policy will be operating in all public schools in NSW by Day 1 Term 1, 2021. Schools have 18 months to familiarise themselves with the policy, to engage in professional learning and to plan for implementation. At our recent Leadership Conference, Aurora staff immersed themselves in the policy, considered the implications for our ongoing work, and pondered what it would mean for how we work with current and future partner schools. The unanimous conclusion was that the policy is an exciting development for our students and teachers. We also firmly believe that the policy represents an ideal opportunity to show further leadership in high potential and gifted education in rural and remote NSW. We wholeheartedly welcome its implementation.

Enjoy reading about all that is happening in our school this term.

Chris Robertson  | Principal

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Deputy Principal’s report

Trial HSC examinations and the HSC

Trial HSC exams are now in full swing in most schools and students are under considerable stress during this period.  For further information on coping strategies for exam stress, click on the following link to access some helpful strategies from REACH OUT.

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

Leadership Conference

At our recent leadership conference held in Sydney, we welcomed many of our leaders and aspiring leaders from around NSW. Day one focused on learning intentions and success criteria.

Learning intentions and success criteria are developed by the teacher and/or the student and describe what success looks like. They help the teacher and student to make judgements about the quality of student learning. Wide-ranging research shows that students who regularly receive this information in the classroom are:

  • more focused for longer periods of time
  • more motivated and active in their learning
  • better able to take responsibility for their own learning.

The first part of day two focused on the new High Potential and Gifted Education Policy, and the second half of the day focused on learning resilience and integrating social and emotional learning into our teaching practices. These learnings will enable us to help students develop the competencies and skills they need to build resilience and effectively manage their emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. All staff enjoyed the two days and look forward to next year’s leadership conference.

Term 4 Residential School

The next Residential School program will be held at Collaroy Centre from Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November, with exciting activities being planned for all students. Residential information was sent to all parents last week and included permission notes and payment details. Please complete all necessary online forms by 21 August of this term.

Student Assistance Scheme

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

Subject selection process

The process of selecting subjects and developing timetables for 2020 is now in full swing in most schools. Students in Year 10 will be making subject selection choices for Years 11 and 12. If your child is unable to study a subject or subjects in Year 11 or 12 at their home school, they may be able to study this through Aurora College. For further information, please visit

Communicating with Aurora

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

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

Kathy Klados | Deputy Principal

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This term has commenced with two very exciting masterclasses for our students. Stage 3 students are about to embark on masterclasses with Taronga Zoo, and later in the term we will be attending masterclasses as part of the Olympics Unleashed program and with the Blackdog Institute.

We greatly value the support of many partners in educational, scientific, cultural and tertiary institutions in providing these opportunities for our rural remote students.

UNSW – Engineering Masterclass

Students in Years 7-10 participated in masterclasses with Sarah Coull, Women in Engineering Manager at UNSW. Nine different types of engineering disciplines were introduced to students, including many of the contributions made to society by engineers.

Over 80% of our students felt that the masterclass deepened their knowledge about engineering and over 80% of our students felt the masterclass was a valuable experience.

Students enjoyed:

  • discussing the chosen paths of some engineers and how they contribute to society every single day
  • discussing the different fields of engineering
  • hearing about and from inspirational women in the field
  • learning about different career paths
  • learning about aeronautical engineering
  • guessing what field of engineering each successful female engineer was working in

SLNSW – Libby Hathorn and Phil Lesnie

Aurora College students were invited to be a part of Libby and Phil’s launch of Miss Franklin, with The State Library of New South Wales.  Author, Libby Hathorn has such a wealth of knowledge and illustrator, Phil Lesnie’s enthusiasm resonated with our students.

Here are some of the comments from our students about what they enjoyed at the masterclass:

  • being able to ask questions
  • hearing from these wonderful inspirational people
  • the passion and love for what you do is inspiring
  • hearing the process Phil uses to complete his work
  • explanation of why they began their careers
  • learning about Art and English
  • when Mrs Taylor announced that the book was being launched in our masterclass.


The University of Sydney – Social Entrepreneurship short course – sign up NOW!

Aurora College students in Years 7-10 are invited to attend a short course on social entrepreneurship with The University of Sydney.

The short course will commence later this term via Adobe Connect and include a face-to-face session at the Collaroy Residential. In this course, students will gain practical skills in creativity and innovation, design thinking and project management.

Please click here for further information and a permission to participate form. Completed forms are to be returned to Places are limited to 25.

Parent Masterclass – Save the date!

Later this term, a parent masterclass will be held on “Supporting your teen’s mental health”. It will be held in one of our Adobe Connect rooms on 12 September from 7:00 pm (AEST). See the flyer here for all the details. This masterclass is an initiative of our Wellbeing Action Team and will be presented by the Black Dog Institute.

Kaylene Taylor | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning (Rel.)

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Professional learning

Professor John Hattie – Tuesday 10 December 2019

Staff  have engaged in the Leadership Conference with Aurora College this term, as mentioned in the Deputy Principal’s Report.

Next week, staff will be working with Lisa O’Neill, Metropolitan Liaison Officer, NESA, to undertake professional learning in Effective Assessment Practices: Stage 6.

This professional learning opportunity is also open to colleagues in NSW public schools. Please click here for further details and registration processes.

Professor John Hattie – Visible learning and strategies for maximum impact

Our much anticipated professional learning session with Professor John Hattie, is taking place on Tuesday 10 December 2019 from 3:30 to 4:45 pm (AEST).

Staff at Aurora College and colleagues in NSW public schools are encouraged to register via myPL, or to visit our website for further details

Kaylene Taylor | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning (Rel.)

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HSC Study Days

This year, we are again providing an opportunity for any HSC class in a NSW Department of Education school (rural, remote or metropolitan) to connect and revise with other students from across the state.

Professor Tim Bedding from the School of Physics, University of Sydney, presenting a session on electromagnetics at the Physics HSC Study Day.


A range of subject experts, experienced teachers and HSC markers are presenting HSC examination advice and up to date information on course content. All sessions are held online via Adobe Connect so they can be displayed and heard in your classroom (no software installation is required). Students have the opportunity to ask questions and seek answers in real time.

Each session is recorded, with the recordings being available for a period of 2 school weeks after the event. If you cannot participate ‘live’ on the day, you are then able to watch the recordings in your own class with minimal impact on school operations.

Almost 4,000 students across NSW have attended one or more HSC Study Day with Aurora College this year.

We are pleased to remind DoE schools that programs and registration details for the remaining four subjects in the 2019 program: English Standard; English Advanced; English Extension 1; and Mathematics Standard 2,  can be found at:

Kaylene Taylor | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning (Rel.)

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Residential – Term Four 2019

The Term 4 2019 Residential School will take place at the Collaroy Centre, Collaroy, from Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November 2019.

This residential is for all students in Years 7-10 only. Further information is available in Residential 2 2019 Information.

For this Residential School, we are using an online form to collect all of the essential information for our students. Please complete the online student details form then download, complete, sign and return the student permission form by Wednesday 21 August 2019 via the school email

If you wish to purchase a book at the book stall please complete the order form which is to be brought to the residential.

If you have any further questions or concerns please contact the coordinating office.

Year 10 UNSW visit – Residential School

As part of Residential 2 this year, Year 10 students have the opportunity to attend a UNSW campus for a guided tour. All Year 10 students are required to attend and must fill out a permission form as is required by UNSW.

Click the following link for a Permission Form, then complete and email to

Connor Boyko | Head Teacher, Teaching and Learning (Rel.)

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Opportunity Class Pilot

Our Roboforce unit rolled along smoothly this month as the Opportunity Class Pilot students worked through the kinks in their Sphero chariot designs.

In our STEM project, combining the study of contact and non-contact forces with angles, mass, data and length, students prototyped chariots which could be drawn by Sphero robots around a self-designed track.

There was a tremendous amount of growth mindset and ingenuity shown, as students manipulated everyday materials to problem solve this design thinking challenge.

Enjoy our slide show below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Serena McLean | Project Officer AOCP

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Faculty news – English, HSIE and Languages

Writer’s Prize 2019

This year we launched the Writer’s Prize in Science Week and to celebrate the anniversary of the moon landing.

The writing prompt for the 2019 Aurora Writer’s Competition is “One small step“. Prizes will be given at Term 4 Residential after being judged by a panel of English teachers.

There will be two categories – Stage 4 Writer and Stage 5 Writer. Students are required to write and submit an original piece of writing of no more than 500 words. Your piece can take any written form (for example, narrative, feature article, personal essay, poem, etc.) and can be something you have written for class this year.

Your piece must be typed and submitted to by 5:00 pm (AEST) on Monday, 21 October.


Ms. Ruming and Ms. Wolfe joined other language experts from the Virtual Languages Mentoring Network to launch the second cohort of the Virtual Languages Mentoring Network (VLMN).

This 18-month programs sees experienced teacher mentors supporting beginning teacher mentees across NSW, with a mentor : mentee ratio of 1 : 2. It is a targeted, long-term professional learning program which benefits all participants through mutual support of professional growth, lesson observations, conversations and resources.

It is fantastic for our Aurora College teachers to be chosen as part of an initiative that connects language teachers no matter where they teach, and one that promotes the learning of languages across the state. The program runs until the end of 2020.

Year 7 English

As part of the assessment for Term 2, Year 7 Aurora students have written fantastic analytical essays that explore a range of fantasy based texts.

Using the PEETAL template, students composed well-structured and complex essays that explored the devices employed by authors to create imaginative and engaging fantasy worlds. Students have used magical stories such as Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, The Northern Lights as well as many others to support their arguments and have demonstrated their appreciation and interest in a genre that has inspired wonder in countless generations.

Enjoy the following selection by: Adrian LeAmelie KerrJames KelsonJonas AngLeanne AdamsMali Hopkins-Davies; and Oscar Simeonidis.

Year 7 students have also submitted some Wide Reading tasks recently. A very high standard of understanding has been demonstrated in the pieces they have produced in response to reading texts of their own choice.

Following is a sample by: Charlize Cattermole; Fletcher WrightKane ForbesLuca Garcia-KytolaLuke Sarty; and Tasmin Adibah.

Year 8 English

Year 8 has just submitted their latest Wide Reading task. The wide reading program allows students to explore new ways of looking at a text. Some of the activities within the grid lead students in extending their understanding by prompting them to think critically or creatively about their chosen text.

Year 8 has produced some fantastic work which shows engagement with the texts they are reading. Enjoy reading the following selection by: Heidi Osgood; Heidi Parkin; Julia Delos-ReyesLaura Weppler; and Mackenzie Andriske.

Year 9 English

Year 9 students have completed two Wide Reading tasks for English so far this year. They are due to complete two more before the end of the year. They are able to choose which tasks they complete from the Bloom’s grid, thus appealing to their interest, giving them ownership of their learning and being able to reflect upon the meaning found in texts they have read.

Following is a sample by: Grace KennedyJulie DunnLilly DaviesMadeline Evans; and Niamh Montgomery.

Year 10 English

With the novel We Were Liars by E. Lockhart as the core text, our Year 10 students explored a range of texts from different media that use different narrative points of view to frame their events. They learned about technical aspects such as voice, tense, omniscience, reliability and focalisation.

Our focus question was “How does narrative point of view shape our understanding of text?” Students enjoyed reading the text and incorporated their knowledge of point of view, character and context into an extended response. Students composed a response to the question “How does narrative point of view influence the audience’s perception of characters, themes and meaning? Discuss” 

Enjoy reading this selection by: Callum Weppler; Ellie GigerRobert Thomas; and Zoe Jenkins.

Year 11 Advanced English

During the unit, Narratives that Shape our World, our Year 11 students explored a range of narratives that illuminated and conveyed ideas, attitudes and values from the past and contemporary society and how an author’s specific use of textual structures, language and stylistic features are crafted for particular purposes.

Focussing on the genre of speculative fiction as part of the assignment for this topic, students wrote a discursive essay and created a multimodal ‘Glogster’ with an embedded podcast to explore the powerful role narratives have in influencing the way that individuals and communities understand and represent themselves within the texts The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood and the film V for Vendetta.

Do you think speculative fiction should be banned in schools?

Listen to Hannah Taylor from Yeoval Central School’s podcast on this matter. Click here to listen.

Year 11 Japanese Beginners

Our Year 11 Japanese Beginners students can already communicate so much, and they have only been studying Japanese for 6 months. They can read, write, understand and communicate a detailed self introduction, their likes and dislikes, information about their family and various leisure activities. They can describe physical appearance and discuss their school subjects.

Through STILE lessons and consolidation and extension tasks on Education Perfect, students are constantly interacting in and with the target language. All of their work is now communicated through the 3 Japanese scripts without translations. This term students have told me that they enjoy the current topic on Housing and Neighbourhood because we have been talking about the differences between Japanese and Australian lifestyles. Click here to see some of our work from Japanese Beginners.

Year 12 English Extension 1

In the Year 12 English Extension 1 course assessment task, students were required to complete the following:

Part One: Writing Portfolio

Students are to submit a portfolio of polished work containing at least two sustained pieces of imaginative writing from their introduction to the module Literary Worlds. Student writing will demonstrate their engagement with and understanding of key ideas in the module Literary Worlds, and the elective, Reimagined Worlds.

Part Two: Reflection

Students will compose a reflection statement demonstrating their engagement with the process of imaginative composition, and how effectively they feel their writing explores key ideas of the module, Literary Worlds, and the elective, Reimagined Worlds.

Following is the fantastic work that the students composed in response to the work they have been completing in this course: Lauren Fisher; and Samuel Greville.

Carolyn McMurtrie |Head Teacher English, HSIE and Languages

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Faculty news – Science

CONASTA 68 in Darwin

The annual conference (CON) of the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) is shared around the country each year. This year, it was held in the first week of the July school holidays in Darwin at the lovely Darwin High School (DHS). DHS caters to around 1200 Year 10 -12 students from the major Darwin metropolitan area and it shares a site with Darwin middle school which caters to around 600 Year 7-9 students. It also has a Distance Education unit that enables 300-400 rural and remote students a quality education.

Walking through the site, I couldn’t help being impressed by the location and the facilities; the Science wing was refurbished with functional and roomy laboratories about 10 years ago and they still look new. The school hall and gymnasium is a repurposed concrete water tank that used to hold the Darwin water supply. This may sound a little weird, but the result is a functional cool place to meet and have functions in, with upstairs recreation area/gym and adjacent classrooms.

The school is not only conveniently located in regard to the middle school, it is right next door to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, as well as having the amazing botanical gardens right across the road and the Mindil beach mangroves at the back door. As if that’s not enough to get any teacher excited, the school is built on the coast and overlooks the waterfront – I couldn’t help be a little envious of what the Darwin teachers call the ‘best science staff room in Australia’ with a veranda that has uninterrupted views of the gorgeous coastline!

The conference is held over three days and consists of a consistent supply of amazing keynote speakers, interspersed with offsite excursions and a range of passionate educators sharing their knowledge and wisdom in workshops. In addition, the exhibition hall was filled with organisations that want to help make our lives as teachers as enriched with resources as possible. My personal favourite exhibition was the Stile stall, who obviously know exactly what teachers need and catered accordingly:

  • Day 1, they supplied a crepe cart to serve us fresh crepes all day
  • Day 2, they called in the corporate massage company to relieve the stress and tension for us
  • Day 3, they supplied fresh fruit sorbet icypoles all day long.

I must say though, I was very pleased the Education Perfect stall provided a coffee cart for the three days, supplying all our caffeine requirements.

From a professional development perspective, CONASTA 68 provided a wide range of teaching resources and innovations as well as curriculum implementation and support. The networking opportunities that lead to informal collegial discussions with a wide range of professionals was invaluable. The social events always have a science focus (doesn’t everything though?), with the highlight being a breakfast with the crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove. After breakfast, we watched from an underwater viewing area, as our ASTA president and another colleague were lowered into a crocodile enclosure with two huge ‘Salties’ … luckily they survived to tell the story!

Aurora College was fortunate to have three of our committed staff members attend CONASTA 68 in Darwin, mostly at a large personal expense. Mel Hughes is a science teacher with Aurora College with a Year 7 class; Mel is based at Condobolin High School in Central NSW and attended with one of her home school colleagues; and Jim Sturgiss is one of our regular casual teachers here at Aurora. Jim presented two workshops targeting design of writing tasks as well as processing and analysing data.

This was my first CONASTA and I plan to attend many more in the future. I am based at Kyogle in Northern NSW and have two Year 9 classes at Aurora College. I co-presented two workshops – the first was on the Japan Teacher Exchange program, the second was on the STEM X Academy Program. I’m certain that both Mel and Jim will, like myself, bring many aspects of our new experiences and insights into the classroom and collegial networks.

I am definitely a CONASTA convert and am already looking forward to CONASTA 69 in Canberra 2020.

Trudy Spargo | Science Teacher

Science Week

Students at Aurora College engaged in a virtual escape room and ANSTO AR element activities for Science Week, 2019. Pictured here are some fantastic examples of using  the AR App. Science week rocks! Like a moon rock!!

Well done to our Aurora students at Denison College Bathurst High Campus. They participated in  a Science Challenge for Science week. Students had to find the 5 posters hidden around the school with 5 riddles. These riddles linked students to elements on the periodic table and the symbols of the elements made a ‘Science word’. Impressively, the students in Year 7 Aurora arrived first with the answer to the puzzle!

Fiona Boneham | Head Teacher Science (Rel.)

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Faculty news – Mathematics

Maths Challenge

Twenty-one Aurora students returned solutions to problems in the 2019 Maths Challenge organised by the Australian Maths Trust.  This was held over a four-week period in Term 2. Some amazing results were achieved by Aurora College students. Congratulations to the following students.


DISTINCTION (full marks – top 4% of entrants): Esther Wenham (Morgan Street Public School)

DISTINCTION: Samuel Rivett (Parkes East PS); Leila Pepperell (Milton Public School)

CREDIT: Thomas Greenhill (Forbes North Public School); Jasper Hardy (Coopernook Public School)

PROFICIENCY: Lana Pike (Temora Public School)

PARTICIPATION: Anthony Bethe (Griffith East Public School); Kai Sleeman (Temora Public School); Keegan Farquharson (Burke Ward Public School) .


HIGH DISTINCTION: Genevieve Bland (Parkes High School) – top 5% of entrants

CREDIT: Adrian Le (Ulladulla High School);  Heidi Osgood (Bega High School)

PARTICIPATION: Lachlan Muller (Mulwaree High School); Caitlin Dark (Kempsey High School); Charles Jeffery (Maclean High School); Luca Brighenti (Murrumbidgee Regional High School); Charlize Cattermole (Broken Hill High School); Riordan Kerschner (Denison College, Bathurst High Campus)


CREDIT: Zoe Jenkins (Tenterfield High School); Amelie Robinson (Melville High School)

PARTICIPATION: Olivia Jackson (Orange High School)

A big thank you to our team of markers: Ms Howard; Mr Smith; Dr Gaut; Mrs Manson; Ms Pearson and Miss Houston – who graded the students’ efforts. Year 6 students’ certificates have been sent out to primary schools; Stage 4 and 5 students can look forward to receiving their certificates at the Term 4 Residential School.

Mr I Whiteway | Maths Challenge Coordinator

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Library news


This time of the year is always very exciting for booklovers. Bookweek celebrations are in full swing and the CBCA announces the winning books of the year. Many of the winners and honour books for 2019 are available for loan from our digital library.

Pop-up Bookshop

Preparations are also underway for the next pop-up bookshop to be held at the Collaroy Residential. Staff from The Children’s Bookshop will be onsite to provide access to a wide range of titles for students and staff.

Premier’s Reading Challenge

The PRC closes VERY SOON! Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 have until 30 August 2019 to email their reading logs in for this year. Students are required to read 20 books, 5 personal choice and the remainder from the PRC list. Check your English Team if you need more information or email Mrs Taylor.

Book Launch

Our students were part of a state wide launch of a new picture book about Miles Franklin by Libby Hathorn and Phil Lesnie, titled Miss Franklin. This ties in with work being undertaken by Year 7 students to create a picture book as part of their English work in the unit “creating visuals”.

New Titles

Did you know that our digital library stocks ebooks and audiobooks? These resources can be accessed via your student portal, any time of the day or night!

Don’t forget the OLIVER homepage has links to our subscription services such as Cosmos Magazine Online, WorldBook Encyclopaedia Online and SpineOut.

Great Leaders are Readers

Much research has been carried out to support the claim that reading is good for you! I undertook some research amongst our school leaders to support my belief that great leaders are readers. Here’s a little of what I uncovered:

Our Leaders have just finished reading: The President is missing; The Alchemist; Working class boy; The land of painted caves; While you were reading; The taking of Annie Thorne.

Our leaders are currently reading: The Chalk Man; The Faraway Horses; The Person you meet in Heaven; The Outsider; The Coaching Habit; Aurora Rising.

Our Leaders are reading next: The Nancys; Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine; Future frontiers; Saving the snowy brumbies; Ice station; Visible Learning.

Can you guess which titles belong to some of our school leaders? You may be surprised!

Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian

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Where are they now?

The Aurorians of Parkes High School continue to extend their learning by participating in and contributing to the world outside of school.

Julia Williams, an ex-Aurorian from Parkes has just returned from the London International Youth Science Forum. She’s a bit of a science buff, and has also trained to be a National Youth Science Forum staff member next year in Canberra.

Her younger sister Alex, also an ex-Aurorian from Parkes, participated in the West of the Divide European Performance Tour of Europe in January. She played flute in Rome, Florence, Venice, Bled and Zagreb.

In 2017, Yasmin Potts, who had began high school as an ‘exsel’ student before joining Aurora, paved the way for Julia when she attended the London International Youth Science Forum, and added a visit to the large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland.

If you know what an Aurora graduate has gone on to do, explore or discover, please feel free to email us a few words and send along an image. Please email:, marked: attention The Auracle.

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Connect locally, learn globally

G’day! My name is Bailey and I come from a small town in far north-west called Bourke. Bourke was originally established as a hub for the steamboats shipping cotton up and down the Darling River, and eventually, it grew and grew into what it is now.

Over the past year, Bourke has been suffering a really bad drought, the worst it’s been in years. It even got to one point where you could drive your car across the river. Since then, it has got somewhat better, but it’s not quite the same. Bourke does have many upsides to it, most of which you can’t do in the city, such as riding a dirt bike through a local quarry. Another advantage is that every one of your mate’s houses are within walking distance, no matter what part of town they live in. I also love being able to go camping wherever and whenever you want.

By far, the best part of my community is that everyone knows everyone. For instance, you could be walking down the main street, and go into every store and say G’day to everyone inside the store, because you know them. Another thing is that when special holidays come around such as Christmas or Easter, the community does little things to make the town more festive, whether it be changing the posters and pictures in the windows of the stores, to putting up Christmas trees and decorating them. By far the best thing is the full-blown Easter Parade with floats, music, food, drinks, and gifts you can buy.

When I’m not doing schoolwork, I’m usually watching television. My favourite shows are: The Walking Dead; Fear The Walking Dead; Sons Of Anarchy; The Big Bang Theory; and How I Met Your Mother. But if I’m not doing that, I’m playing my Xbox with my mates or making YouTube videos.

On weekends, however, it’s time for sport. I am a massive fan of soccer and I have played every weekend for the past 2 years. In case you were wondering, my favourite team is Juventus, but I don’t have a favourite player.

I haven’t really decided what I want to do when I leave school. I have been looking at accounting, as I enjoy working with money, however, I might end up doing something else quite different.

Aurora has been a wonderful experience and it has helped me make lots of new friends, see new things and pushed me to achieve more, and I am forever grateful for this experience. Anyways, that’s all from me, thanks for reading!

Bailey (Year 8, Bourke High School)

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Bright lights

Secretary for a Day


Forty-two student leaders were in Sydney to be part of the “Secretary for a Day” program. Our very own Maria (Year 10) was one of the student leaders, representing Aurora College and our partner school, Leeton High School. Maria work-shopped key projects with the NSW Department of Education senior executive and shared her insights and experiences.



Writer’s Festival Winner

Niamh (Year 10,  The Rivers Secondary College, Richmond River High)  recently won her age category in a writing competition she entered through the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival – the Susie Warwick Short Story Prize. As part of this prize, Niamh will spend an hour and half in a mentoring session with published author Jesse Blackadder. We are excited to see what you write next, Niamh!


Bell Shakespeare Company

Libby (Year 10, Parkes High School) has obtained work experience with the Bell Shakespeare Company.

Libby says she applied on the off chance, but is one of only 14 people Australia-wide to have her application accepted.

Congratulations, Libby!




Regional Athletics Competitor

Jackson (Year 10, Nowra High School) competed in the regional athletics competition. He threw 41 metres in the javelin event for his age,  to place 1st in his region. Jackson will be competing at State later in the term, for the third year in a row in this event.

Good luck, Jackson!


Game Changer Challenge


The Game Changer Challenge saw students from around the state answer the question ‘How might we humanise technology?’ Our partner school, Nyngan High School, competed in the challenge at Dubbo and won the People’s Choice Award. Shannon, of Year 9 was excited to celebrate!



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:, marked: attention The Auracle.

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Student Representative Council

The next BIG thing for the SRC is to hold elections for Year 7 students to join our team. Students hold a position on the SRC for a period of two years. We will be asking for nominations soon from our current Year 7 students. A voting process will take place and new representatives will be announced at the Collaroy Residential School.

Kaylene Taylor | SRC Coordinator

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Year 10 hoodies

Students in Year 10 have the option to purchase a special Year 10 hoodie with the name of their Aurora peers printed on the back for $74.

To purchase a hoodie, follow the link below and follow the prompts to make a payment.

Orders are made directly with Reform Clothing

Orders close on 26 August 2019.

Connor Boyko | Head Teacher, Teaching and Learning (Rel.)

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Spotlight on… Renetta Wolfe

Bathurst is a diverse community with lots of opportunities and facilities for everyone. Obviously, the car races at Mt Panorama is a huge symbol of Bathurst, but our winter festival and local arts trails are great reasons to visit too.

Previously, I taught Japanese at Muswellbrook High School, then returned to my home town of Bathurst. I now teach Japanese at Aurora College and at Denison College – Bathurst High Campus.

Japanese is my favourite subject to teach because it is so different to English and the culture is so different to our own. I especially love taking students to Japan to experience the food, culture and natural beauty.

Joining Aurora has been a way to meet new people and learn from other teachers without having to change schools or locations! It is just like a fresh start in a new school without leaving the comfort of what I know! For learning a language in a rural and remote area, I think it will become the only way to learn.

I love bush walking, gardening, bike-riding with my children, snow skiing, musical theatre, shopping and coffee!

Renetta Wolfe | Japanese Language Teacher

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Self-care for your teen

What is self-care?

According to ReachOut:

‘Self-care is anything you enjoy doing that helps make you happy and maintains your physical, mental or emotional health. It can be simple everyday pleasures like reading a magazine or going for a run. Or bigger things like doing a hobby or playing sport. For families, self-care helps parents and teens deal with life’s everyday pressures in a more positive and rewarding way.’

A great video from Psychologist Anna Sidis explains why self-care is especially important for teenagers and how they can practice self-care to reduce stress; click here to view.

Why your teenager really needs self-care.

Some key points:

  • What can adolescents do:
    • Things that they enjoy – Sport, Gaming, Art, Music
    • Mindfulness:
      • Looking and observing thoughts. Not overthinking
      • Advantages – step back and reflect. Not try to avoid certain thoughts
    • What can parents do:
      • Relating with adolescents
      • Try not to jump in and fix
      • Not be dismissive

Another video that may be of interest, filmed at the ‘Band Together Farmers’ concert in Parkes, is: How do you relax and unwind?

Take a look here and think about how you and your family can enhance your self-care.

The following is a list of organisations and resources available to support students and parents on various topics related to mental health issues recently presented at ‘Generation Next’ Conference held in Sydney in July 2019.

  • Good Grief
    Program that supports children and adults through grief and loss. This can include divorce and natural disasters
  • Reach Out
    Mental health organisation that supports children, adults and schools
  • Young Carers NSW
    Support and information for youth under 25 that care for family or friends with a disability
  • Black Dog
    Aims to reduce incidents of mental illness and stigma
  • Positive Choices
    Drug and alcohol online portal for teachers and parents
  • Kookaburra Kids
    Support students living in families dealing with mental health
  • Step Together
    Helpline and online service to help people who knows someone that might be heading down the path of violent extremism
  • R U OK?
    Encourages checking in with people and provides advice on how to do so

Cathy Groth |Wellbeing Coordinator

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Technology update

Student Devices

It is important that every student understands the policies in place for student devices and access to internet services in schools.

Included with the enrolment packages sent to new students are the Aurora College Bring Your Own Device policy and the Student Technology Loan Device policy. These documents both reference and rely upon the Departments Online Communication Services – Acceptable Usage for School Students policy (available to read at the link below).

Under the headings of Responsibilities and delegations – access and security, this policy states that “Students will […] not disable settings for virus protection, spam and filtering that have been applied as a departmental standard”. The Aurora College Bring Your Own Device policy also states that “Students must connect to the internet using the schools wireless network. […] The use of mobile phones or portable hot-spots as a BYOD solution is not allowed.”

We have taken great care to provide students with the best experience possible when using devices on loan from Aurora College. For secondary students, these devices are provided without restrictions, allowing the installation of additional tools for study. This also means that students are able to install other applications not related to their study with Aurora College. As long as this does not interfere with their studies, we have always been accepting, preferring a give-and-take attitude to an authoritarian one. This also requires students to adhere to a level of behaviour that justifies this attitude.

While there are some restrictions that the Department places on students that might seem to not make sense, the Department has to consider the entire student body across the state, and what is best for everyone. Using any means to bypass the filtering, even for educational purposes, without prior approval is forbidden. Should students not adhere to these policies, the Department and Aurora College will need to implement restrictions on the student devices that enforce these in a more direct manner.

We encourage all students to take some time and re-read the policies in place so that everyone understands them:

If there are any questions, please direct them to

Absence Notifications

At the start of the term, we implemented a new notification system for student absences. In the event that a student was absent for an entire class, we now send parents a notification via either SMS or email, requesting that they explain the reason for the absence. We would like to thank all parents for their participation in this system.

As we look to improve the system, we would also like to ask for your feedback. If you have any suggestions for improvement, or issues with the system, please pass them on to us at Each submission will be reviewed for suitability to be included in the system in the future.

In the meantime, if you have any questions on how the system works, please feel free to call the school on 1300 287 629.

Ben Hillsley | Learning Technologies Support Officer

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From the Engine Room

We have implemented a SMS system to notify parents of student absences from Aurora College lessons.  You may have a similar system operating at your home school.

If you receive a SMS notification of an absence, please respond to the SMS.  If you respond to the SMS, you will not receive further notification. However, if we do not receive a SMS response, you will receive an email at the end of the week listing all absences which have not been responded to for that week.  If you have telephoned the college to discuss the absence, please send a text stating “as per telephone conversation”.  This will ensure you do not receive further notification regarding the same absence.

Aurora College cannot accept absence explanations from students.  If your child is unable to attend an Aurora class, please communicate directly with the school office via email ( or telephone (1300 287 629) to ensure their absence is recorded correctly.

From time to time, students accompany parents on family holidays.  Families are encouraged to travel during school holidays as regular attendance at school is essential for your child to achieve their educational best.  If you must travel during school time, you are required to apply for extended leave.  This form may be obtained from your home school or Aurora College.  Your home school principal will need to approve extended leave and a copy of your Extended Leave Certificate should be supplied to Aurora College. Please read Compulsory School Attendance for further information.

Residential permission notes were due 21 August 2019.  If you have not completed the Google form or returned your paper permission, please return ASAP.

Denise Deaves | School Administration Manager

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The corkboard

Women in Engineering Scholarships are being offered by The University of New South Wales to current Year 12 students. Please click here: UNSW WIE Scholarship for further information.

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