This week, Serena McLean, Beth Hodson and I had the pleasure of visiting a number of partner schools on the Mid-North Coast. In a frantic four days of travel, we were able to visit our bright lights, their parents and our partner school staff at: Cundeltown Public School; Harrington Public School; Hastings Secondary College, Port Macquarie Campus; Kempsey High School; Melville High School; Old Bar Public School; Pacific Palms Public School; South West Rocks Public School; Taree High School; Tuncurry Public School; Wauchope High School; Wingham High School; and Wingham Public School.
Aside from the opportunity to connect face to face with members of the Aurora tribe in this part of the world, we were able to better understand what is working for our students, and also what needs to improve. I want to thank our students, their parents and our partner school staff for the welcome Serena, Beth and I received, and also thank them for their candour and constructive feedback. Aurora staff members will be visiting as many areas of the state as possible in the coming weeks and months. Please rest assured that as soon as itineraries are confirmed, parents are informed via email of our travel plans and are duly invited to meet with us onsite at the partner school.
In previous editions of The Auracle, I have been able to share with you some information about the exciting next development at Aurora College. In Semester 2, we will be commencing a pilot program which will see approximately 40 high potential and gifted Aboriginal Year 5 students joining our school. These students will be studying science, technology and mathematics in Years 5 and 6, before completing English, mathematics and science classes in Years 7 and 8.
This important work will be undertaken in partnership with our colleagues at the Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships Directorate (AOPD) and will be led by Serena McLean (A/Deputy Principal, Primary). On Monday 23 May, we were honoured to host a meeting of the AOPD Working Party, at which we were able to present the plans for our pilot program to all key stakeholders. We also heard updates from various other projects being undertaken to improve the learning outcomes of Aboriginal students, while maintaining their cultural identity.
In the following week at our biannual Leadership Conference, staff had the opportunity to engage in a deep dive into the Department’s Aboriginal Education Policy, followed by a workshop on understanding and composing an Acknowledgement of Country. This professional learning was delivered by the Aboriginal Education Team from the Tuggerah School Services Team. As per our School Strategic Improvement Plan, the professional learning of staff in relation to Aboriginal Education is a key priority for our staff and it reflects the excitement for, and commitment to the important work the Department has entrusted to our school.
I would like to acknowledge the work of our Student Representative Council (SRC), and thank them for organising and leading our recent Stage assemblies. As wonderful as it is to connect with the Aurora tribe, we all look forward to the day when we can meet up again, in person. I know that you are all very keen to know the status of the Term 4 Residential School. I want reassure you that Mr Boyko, Mrs McMurtrie, Mrs McLean and many other staff here at Aurora HQ, are working very hard to make it a reality.
In fact, Mr Boyko, Mrs McMurtrie and Mrs McLean will be in Canberra in Week 8, specifically to consolidate our planning and organisation for ‘res’. At this stage, we are more confident now than we have been in the last two years that we will be enjoying everything a Residential School offers. It’s been a long time … and we are all very keen to change that!
For our Year 5, 6 and 7 students, and our new students in Years 8, 9 and 10, believe me when I tell you that Residential School will be one of the greatest experiences of your school life. I know that students and staff who have been on ‘res’ will agree with me when I sat that it is THE experience that makes your time at Aurora College really special; and I guarantee that it will be filled with wonderful memories that you will carry with you - well into the future.
Term 2 is always a very busy time of the year as you complete assessment tasks and your teachers compile your Semester 1 reports. It’s timely, therefore, to remind you (as I do at every Residential School) that every Aurora student, at some time, feels a little overwhelmed by our teachers’ high expectation of you, and of course, by the added challenges that come from being citizens of two schools.
What is important to remember is that your teachers and our support staff are here to help you. There is no shame in putting your hand up and saying “I’m not coping at the moment and I could do with some extra help.” At Aurora, you are fortunate to belong to a school where your calls for some extra attention will not go unheard.
Your first port of call when you are struggling is always your classroom teacher, or their Head Teacher. From there, we can arrange all necessary support; be it support with your schoolwork, or a problem you are having at your home school, or in your home life. Our Wellbeing Team, led by Mrs Ruming, can organise tutorial support for you, help you with your organisation and study skills, or make a referral on your behalf to our school counsellor. If you need help, ask for help.
Enjoy another great edition of The Auracle.
Chris Robertson | Principal
Deputy Principal's report
Welcome back to Term 2.
Semester 1 reports were issued to Year 12 parents on 10 May with parent interviews taking place on 20 May. We hope you enjoyed receiving informative feedback regarding your child’s learning. Semester 1 reports for Year 11 students will be issued on Monday 6 June (Week 7) and Years 5 to 10 on Tuesday 21 June (Week 9). All reports will be issued via email. Unlike the Term 1 interim report, the Semester 1 report is a full ‘academic’ report. It will show the progress that you are making towards achieving specific course outcomes.
Parent-teacher meetings will occur on the following dates:
Week 7 on Wednesday 8 June for Year 11
Week 10 on Monday 27 June for Years 5, 7 and 9
Week 10 on Tuesday 28 June for Years 6, 8 and 10.
The meetings will give all parents the opportunity to discuss their child’s progress. Meetings will take place via Zoom or telephone. Further information, including how to book an appointment, will be emailed to all parents closer to the dates.
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s progress or well-being, please contact the coordinating office by phone on 1300 287 629 or email at email@example.com
Student attendance reminder
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 ACC or parents/caregivers are required to inform the coordinating office of Aurora College within seven days if the student is sick, or:
has an unavoidable medical or dental appointment
is required to attend a recognised religious holiday
is required to attend an exceptional or urgent family circumstance
has a home school commitment including school excursions, school carnivals etc.
arrives late or leaves early from an Aurora lesson at a time that has not been negotiated and does not appear on his/her timetable.
If a student is away for a full day then it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to inform us of this absence and to provide a legitimate reason.
The safety and supervision of your child/ren is very important to us so I would like to remind both parents and students that logging into Aurora lessons can only be done while students are on the premises of their home school. Students who are home sick from school cannot connect to live lessons. If they wish to access Aurora work during this time, then they can watch the recording of the lesson later and complete the work outlined in the term planner of their classes. Please be aware that students who connect from home or locations other than their school will be reminded of our expectations and asked to leave the lesson.
An extension for an assessment task may be granted in exceptional circumstances where students are unable to complete the task by the due date, because of illness or misadventure (eg: accident, unforeseen event). The illness/misadventure form must be completed and signed by the student, parent/guardian and the Aurora College Coordinator. The coordinator will then email a scanned copy of the form to the classroom teacher and relevant Head Teacher Curriculum. The completed form must be forwarded within 2 days of the request for the extension. The Head Teacher will review the application and any supporting documentation before deciding to uphold or decline the application. Each application is assessed independently, so it is important to attach comprehensive evidence.
If a student is absent from class on the day of an ‘in-class’ assessable task, they must complete the illness/misadventure form when they return to school. They should expect to complete the assessable item on their first day of return to Aurora College lessons.
External health services
The availability of external health services varies from community to community. Aurora College endeavours to identify service providers and develop partnerships with them to effectively plan and provide pathways to support our students, parents and staff.
Your local GP is often the best place to start when looking to access support services. The following links may also assist you in accessing local health services:
Lifeline Service Finder provided by Lifeline, is a directory of free or low-cost health and community services available in Australia.
Years 5, 7 and 9 parent interviews on Monday 27 June
Years 6, 8 and 10 parent interviews on Tuesday 28 June
Carolyn McMurtrie | Deputy Principal
Head Teacher Science selective and partially selective schools network meeting
On Tuesday 17 May, Aurora College hosted the network meeting for the Head Teachers Science at selective and partially selective schools.
We were so excited to gather face to face for the first time in 2 years to share ideas, learn new concepts and processes and discuss teaching and learning at all levels. We were fortunate to have a presentation from NESA on HSC RAP data and a deep dive into the analysis and data driven decisions regarding teaching and learning this data can support. We then took a look into the 2021 HSC results and the final session was on HSC curriculum monitoring, showcasing our electronic cloud based collection system which minimises administration time. We thank everyone who was able to join us in person and online.
Aurora College assemblies in Term 2
On 20 May, the SRC hosted our first Year 7 to 10 assemblies for the year in Microsoft Teams. We held 2 sessions to ensure we were able to connect with all student groups. A range of awards were presented, including for Students of the Term and Perfect Attendance, as well as recognition for students competing in the Parallel Maths Competition. We had a prize draw - Robots and Robertson, in which two students were randomly selected with the aid of the spinning wheel to join Mr Roberston via robot later in the term for a cuppa and a chat.
Virginia Cluff | Instructional Leader
With the wonderful assistance of the Performing Arts Unit, Aurora College recently held trials for our Years 7 and 8 debating team. Our students developed their debating skills and then took part in some interesting debates with their peers. It was a fantastic day and huge thanks goes to Justine Clarke and her super team of coaches and adjudicators.
At the end of the day, the team was selected. Big congratulations go to:
Ana Riteska (Moss Vale High School)
Darcy Palmer (Canowindra High School)
Elizabeth Evers (Tumut High School)
Seth Toohill-Sargent (Gloucester High School)
Our reserve team is:
Emma King (MRH Wade Campus)
Soham Ghosh (MRH Wade Campus)
Sophie Webb (MRH Griffith Campus)
Laura McNiel (Bellingen High School)
Ella Davies (Moss Vale High School)
Congratulations to all students selected! Our thanks go to everyone who participated and to the ACCs who supported the day. We look forward to our team competing in this year’s Premier’s Debating Challenge. Watch this space for results in future!
On 2 May, the fabulous Kathryn Berkett presented an informative and thought-provoking presentation for parents on the impact of trauma on the brain. The session was well attended and Kathryn offered insights into the neuroscience research around how the brains of teens can move very quickly into “red brain”. Kathryn also shared some strategies to support young people in making good decisions.
Our next session for parents is with the Black Dog Institute, which will offer parents a workshop on Navigating Your Teen’s Mental Health. Please keep an eye on your email inbox for further details on this important workshop.
Marnie Etheridge | Rlg. Head Teacher Teaching and Learning
Marnie Etheridge | Rlg Head Teacher Teaching and Learning
On 14 and 15 March, I was very fortunate to be seelcted as one of 11 senior featured vocalists for this new and awesome large-scale event.
I was able to work alongside amazing vocalists, dancers, and instrumentalists, as well as extremely experienced coaches who have worked for and toured in various shows, musicals, and the Schools Spectacular.
The rehearsal schedule was quite heavy, some even running from 9am to 10pm! We worked on song allocations, vocal and performance techniques, and light choreography. There were a lot of trips to Sydney, and it was definitely all worth it for this amazing experience!
Hannah Dun (Year 11, Parkes High School)
Congratulations to Lucas Ottley (Year 11, Goulburn High School) who recently travelled to America to represent his school in robotics competitions.
Congratulations to Monty Smith (Year 12, Kandos High School) who has accepted an early offer to study Computing Science at Charles Sturt University. Monty will be majoring in Game Design.
Congratulations to Isaac Lavis (Year 8, Hastings Secondary College, Port Macquarie Campus) who recently represented his school in the da Vinci Decathlon in Port Macquarie.
Meet Jaclyn Crawford
Where was your previous teaching appointment?
I was previously working at Lisarow High on the Central Coast. While I was there I worked as a classroom teacher, Head Teacher Welfare, Head Teacher English and as a Year Advisor. My passion is to get to know my students and make the most out of every learning opportunity.
What is your local community like?
I have recently moved to the Maitland region (about 30km North West of Newcastle) and I really enjoy the quieter environment compared to the Central Coast. I moved here to be closer to family and friends. My home school is Thornton Public School and I love the welcoming and positive school community they have here!
What’s your favourite subject to teach?
English – Of Course!
What do you like about teaching at Aurora?
The positive teaching and learning environment and our amazing students!
Any other cool things we should know about you?
I live with my husband, my two daughters (aged 5 and 7) and our two cats.
Connect locally, learn globally
Student Support - Library
Lisa Lieschke | Teacher Librarian
Student support - Technology
Windows 11 has arrived!
The latest version of Windows, 'Windows 11', was released by Microsoft on 5 October 2021. Whilst it is exciting to have a new system, we would recommend that students do not upgrade, just yet. Our preliminary testing shows that the student laptops do not meet the minimum requirements for Windows 11 and as yet, we have been unable to determine whether any applications that Aurora College uses will be adversly affected by the change.
School computers and laptops used by Year 5 students, are managed by the Department's central system, and Windows 11 will likely need extensive testing before being rolled out for those devices.
We have received reports that students are having issues with Windows 11 and OneNote - thus we strongly suggest you do not update at this stage!
Even though you will not have the “most up-to-date” operating system, Microsoft will still support Windows 10 until at least October 2025, leaving plenty of time for compatible devices to be sourced as required.
Remember - if you are ever worried about something your laptop is doing, or not doing, let us know. A screenshot or description of your problem will help us to identify and hopefully fix it as soon as possible! Email Aurora's Technology Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1300 610 733 during school hours.
The website provides lots of information about career options. This is especially relevant as I have been receiving many inquiries from students regarding Year 10 subject selections and Year 12 university applications.
All Information here will be a starting point and then you can contact me for further advice via Teams or email at Kim.email@example.com
Job spotlight- How to become a systems analyst
Systems analysts are responsible for analysing, improving, and maintaining business and IT systems for businesses and organisations.
If you are thorough and analytical, have a knack for everything tech, and want a job in a fast-growing area, becoming a systems analyst could be the ideal career for you.
Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a focus on English, Mathematics and IT.
Step 2 – Study a university course such as a Bachelor of Computer Science or Information Technology.
Step 4 – Take short courses to build other essential skills, such as coding, programming, and database management.
Step 5 – Start working as a qualified systems analyst and continue to build your skills and knowledge.
Start your career with a leader in renewable energy with Snowy Hydro, an energy company supplying electricity to more than 1 million customers.
Snowy Hydro is looking for school leavers to join their team as Information Technology Trainees in 2023. Successful applicants would be taking a unique opportunity, completing a TAFE qualification whilst gaining real world, on-the-job experience.
To be a Snowy Hydro trainee, you will be finishing Year 12 in 2022, have a strong desire to learn about technology and a curiosity about how business works.
An engineering company is seeking a Trainee Admin to join their close-knit team. Duties will include: Customer enquiries, paying invoices, requesting quotes, employee files, booking training courses, recruitment, record keeping, etc.
Willingness to undertake a traineeship
Basic to average computer skills
Knowledge and understanding of Microsoft Office
Car and licence
Strong communication and interpersonal skills
Apply: Forward a copy of your resume to Vivienne Russell, Workfront People Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent school leavers are encouraged to apply.
University of Wollongong | Information evenings
Orange: Monday 30 May 2022, 6:00 pm
Southern Highlands: Tuesday 31 May 2022, 6:00 pm
Dubbo: Tuesday 31 May 2022, 6:00 pm
Online: Zoom 14th June 6pm
You might know what degree you’re interested in and the ATAR you need, but there’s much more to choosing a university.
You’ll need to know where you’re going to live, how much it will cost, how will you make friends and more.
The information evening is designed to cover the big questions and topics that students and parents need to know about before applying to uni.
I have created the virtual careers room, just like you would find at your home school. Here I am storing information such as university guides, general job information, and anything you would normally find in hardcopy in a careers room.
All students have access to this resource in the Aurora College Students team, under the General channel Files section. You can download anything you would like, and of course can follow up with me via Teams or email me Kim.Morris19@det.nsw.edu.au.
The most recent addition to the virtual careers room is the ANU Course guide for 2023. Not only relevant for Year 12 students who may be considering applying this year, but also for Year 11 and Year 10 students when making decisions about subject selections in Term 3.
Kim Morris | Careers Advisor
Faculty - English, Languages and HSIE
In Term 1, Year 8 students studied “The Hero’s Journey” or “Representation of Teenagers”.
For their assessment task, students composed a narrative in which the main character experienced conflict and changed as a result of their experiences. Students were also asked to reflect on the decisions they made when composing their narratives and how the texts that they studied influenced the creation of their imaginative text.
Jowen Hillyer | Head Teacher English, Languages, and HSIE
Faculty - Mathematics and Software Design & Development
Congratulations to Year 9 on completing their final NAPLAN! Year 8 will continue the numeracy questions provided at the start of each lesson, with Year 7 also starting numeracy questions next term.
Students are required to have their own personal physical calculator, separate from their other devices for all mathematics lessons. A single calculator can last students their entire 7-12 schooling, as most allow batteries to be changed when necessary. The list of calculators approved for the HSC can be found at NESA’s approved calculators website. We recommend the Casio FX-82AU plus II, which is the calculator most staff will be using. The Abacus calculators are very similar to Casio, and most staff are also familiar with the Sharp calculator range and able to assist students.
Completion of work
Every Mathematics student has access to a list in their OneNote of exactly what classwork needs to be done and their progress towards completing that. It is expected that students are regularly checking and updating their Completion of Work (COW) trackers and catching up on any missed classwork.
Students have access to optional weekly homework in Mathspace that is tracked by teachers and is comprised of a small number of mixed revision questions. A number of students are sitting at 100% completion to date! Congratulations to those students who are setting themselves up for success in their future studies.
Term 1 – 100% complete:
Year 7: Mahrooz Affan, Mya Aitcheson, Saeed Albaf, Ruby Blake, Lilu Bowyer, Andrew Buckland, Jonty Bullock, Lucy Butcherine, Rahni Cardy, Brydie Davis, Olivia Dimmick, Alexander Dunn, Elizabeth Faris, Hugo Feltontaylor, Matilda Francis, Jeremy Fraser, Amy Fry, Fletcher Garrett, Annabel Goodwin, Ellena Halloran, Sam Hamilton, Eli Hammann, Koko Hardy, Olivia Jackson, Jarrah Keaney, Mel Lindsay, Mitchell Martin, Macey Muller, Quincy Paige, Darcy Palmer, Felix Radford, Chelsea Rossler, Mischa Roze, Annabel Ruddick, Rayyan Shah, Tallara Smith, Anna Stuart.
Year 8: Isabelle Berg, Elizabeth Butcherine, Nina Cuddy, Emily Dark, Tayla Demamiel, Bridget Dodd, Alistair Dowdell, Elizabeth Evers, Soham Ghosh, Hamish Hall, Will Kline, Isaac Lavis, Douglas Leadbitter, Penelope Longstaff, Oskar Morris, Nethul Nandasena, Bethany Owens-Roberts, Dalton Piasente, Marley Renfrew, Lance Speakman, Gregory Theo, Lily Thomason, Seth Toohill-Sargent, Romy Trenerry.
Year 9: Zoe Aspiotis, Madolyn Beesley, Anthony Bethe, Naomi Dunn, Jye Forbes, Hayley Gruber, Ivy Lawson, Sam Rivett, Luella Robinson, Aiden Torpy.
Congratulations again to the Term 1 winners of the Parallel challenges announced at the whole-school assembly last week! Keep up the excellent work!
Some high performers so far this term are:
Year 7: Kit Hardy
Year 8: Emma King
Year 9: Annaliese Rothe
Year 10: Hayley Fraser
Assessment Task 2 should have now been submitted by all students. Students have done an excellent job in submitting their tasks on time, and completing their work to a high standard. Aurora students have consistently shown us outstanding work in their assessments.
Karen Bellamy | Rlg Head Teacher Mathematics and Software Design & Development
Faculty - Science
We are halfway through the term and the science team is busy marking, writing reports and preparing very engaging lessons.
We aencourage all students to work diligently and to submit all their work in a timely manner. Having an excellent work ethic will enhance your learning and will reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by work.
Assessments Term 2
Assessment tasks due this term for junior and senior students are shown below.
If there are any issues with completing a task on time, students should submit an illnesses/misadventure form before the due date to apply for extensions. Failing to submit an assessment task will result in a letter of concern for Year 7-9 or N-warning for Year 10 and senior students.
Flipped lessons and practicals at home school
Students are expected to complete four practicals per term and five flipped lessons. That work is compulsory as they count towards the mandatory hours required by NESA.
It is expected that students submit practicals and flipped lessons in a timely manner so teachers can give valuable feedback about students’ learning.
We understand that our partner schools are struggling with teaching staff, and we appreciate the amount of effort that they put into completing the practicals on time. We are flexible on those matters, but students must be diligent in submitting tasks in Stile as soon as the practical tasks are completed.
Practical days - seniors
A big thank you to Mrs Boneham who travelled to Parkes High School twice this term to help the students and support the school in completing the practical days for Year 11 and Year 12 Chemistry. You are a legend Mrs Boneham!
It is expected that students will attend practical days as most are linked to assessment tasks, and they contribute to the mandatory hours for practical work set by NESA.
On practical days, students develop their 'working scientifically' skills which they will need to apply in their examinations.
The graphic at right details the upcoming practical days.
Yr11 EES Soil
Stage 6 science teachers conference
During week 4, all the teachers teaching Stage 6 subjects came together at the Aurora College office.
We assessed teaching strategies and evaluated our current practice and pedagogies. These were pivotal discussions to improve our students’ achievement in their final exams. The Stage 6 team enjoyed their face-to-face interactions and catching up with colleagues from across the State.
Science extension research
Science extension students are busy collecting data for their major research projects.
Lilly Davies (Leeton High School) worked at ANU (Canberra) over four intensive days during the school holidays. Her supervisor at ANU was extremely impressed with Lilly’s excellent knowledge of quantum physics.
At Dungong High School, Oskar Mella is researching the effect of branched amino acids on cell growth by using E. coli as a model. He has been inoculating agar plates and the results are very promising.
Finally, Adam Morris from Leeton High School has just finished harvesting and measuring his crop of strawberries. His research is based on the idea that the pollination of the strawberry flowers plays a significant role in the size of the fruit.
We are looking forward to seeing the results of our students' interesting research next term.
Work around the classroom examples
Here is a collection of images showing how our Aurora College teachers engage our students in their lessons. Mr Kelly is seen teaching evolution and adaptation to Year 10 using some of the potted plants in his office. Mr Hefer is dramatisiting the water cycle and Year 7SCI3 is learning about the Tyndall effect
Students in Year 11 Earth and Environmental Science have recently been studying soils.
Both physical and chemical analyses were undertaken to gain a deeper understanding of how soil properties affect the surrounding ecosystems.
Students in Year 12 Physics designed and built working motors from scratch. Many innovative and impressive approaches were demonstrated.
Silvia Rudmann | Rlg Head Teacher Science and Agriculture