Find updates including school closures and notifications regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) on the NSW Department of Education website.
In our seventh year of operation, Aurora College is providing innovative, flexible learning in a whole new context, by allowing students to connect locally and to learn globally.
Our school offers:
• Year 5 and 6 students Opportunity Class lessons in Mathematics, Science and Technology
• Year 7 to 10 students Selective School classes in English, Mathematics and Science
• Year 11 and 12 students the option to study one or more Preliminary and/or Higher School Certificate subjects that may not be available in their local school.
As the first semester draws to a close, Year 10 students will begin the long process of subject selection for their Stage 6 pattern of study. For an increasing number of our Year 10 students, studying one or more subjects with Aurora has become their preferred option. So, why would you choose to study with Aurora in Years 11 and 12?
Learning with Aurora College is an immensely personalised experience. Our highly qualified, readily accessible, and experienced teachers are recruited from schools in all parts of the state. Aurora teachers are subject experts who receive specialised training and support in delivering best practice learning and teaching in a virtual environment. A maximum class size of 15 in Years 11 and 12 enables them to provide their students with the individual attention they require.
In every school in which we share students, including in Years 11 and 12, Aurora funds the release of a teacher to fulfill the important role of Aurora College Coordinator (ACC). The ACC adds a vital layer of support for our students in managing their learning across two schools. Aurora students are also well-supported by our Wellbeing and Learning Support Team, who provide specialised assistance to students in need.
Aurora’s Masterclass Program gives our students the opportunity to learn from people who are leaders in their field, across a broad range of careers and human endeavours. Aurora students may also elect to work directly with a mentor in an area of interest to them, gaining invaluable insights into their mentor’s career path and professional life. Next term, we will be adding a Careers Advisor to the staff at Aurora, to provide up to date information and advice on post school choices and opportunities.
Every year, Aurora College also hosts a range of Higher School Certificate (HSC) workshops to support student learning. Subject experts, experienced teachers and HSC markers present HSC examination advice and up to date information on course content. Aurora students receive a ‘front row seat’ to this program and in 2020, they were joined in our virtual learning environment by more than 18,000 students from across the state.
The subjects that you choose to study for your Stage 6 program need to be selected carefully. Making wise, well considered subject choices is the first step towards a rewarding senior secondary school experience, a successful HSC and enhanced post-school opportunities. It is important that you seek advice from your teachers, and your parents should also be active participants in this process.
In making your Stage 6 choices, you should consider:
• subjects that you have previously studied and enjoyed
• subjects in which you have experienced success
• subjects which will support your preferred post-school path.
The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has the following advice for students choosing Stage 6 courses:
“Your aim is to attain the best HSC result you can. So, you should choose courses that you are good at, interested in and may use in the future.
When considering which courses to study, explore the content of a course. For example, what are the course outcomes? Will you be required to submit a major work, or perform, as part of your exams? Talk with your teachers about your strengths and weaknesses, as well as individual course requirements, before making your selections.”
With the approval of your home school principal, you may apply to study one or more Stage 6 courses with Aurora College. A maximum of 10 units may be studied in Year 11 with Aurora College. Applications for enrolment in Year 11 (2022) open on Wednesday 14 July 2021 and close on Friday 20 August 2021. Information about how to make an application may be found on our website: https://aurora.nsw.edu.au/our-school/enrolment-information/.
Aurora College will host a Stage 6 subject information evening for our current Year 10 students and their parents at 7:00 pm (AEST) on Tuesday 27 July (Term 3, Week 3). At this meeting, our Head Teachers and Senior Executive will tell you everything you need to know about applying for and studying Year 11 and 12 subjects at Aurora College. Further details, including information about how to connect to the meeting, will be provided to all families early next term. I strongly advise that our Year 10 students attend with at least one parent, so that you fully understand your Stage 6 options.
The School Excellence Policy provides direction for schools on school planning, ongoing self-assessment, annual reporting and external validation.
The Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) is a working document that details the steps our school will take to improve learning outcomes, and the achievement and growth of all students. To ensure continuous improvement, the SIP reflects where our school is at and how it will further improve learning, teaching and leading.
The Annual School Report (ASR) provides an account of our operations and achievements throughout the year. It is the result of rigorous self-assessment by staff, parents and carers, as well as student leaders. The Annual School Report (2020) and Strategic Improvement Plan (2021-2024) may be viewed at: https://aurora.nsw.edu.au/our-school/planning-and-reporting/
Enjoy another great edition of The Auracle, e-newsletter of Aurora College.
Chris Robertson | Principal
Semester 1 reports were issued to Year 12 parents on 3 May with parent interviews taking place on 20 May. We hope you enjoyed receiving the informative feedback regarding your child’s learning. Semester 1 reports for Year 11 students will be issued on 28 May (Week 6) and Years 5, 7 to 10 on 15 June (Week 9). These 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 each student is making towards achieving specific course outcomes.
Parent-teacher meetings will occur on the following dates:
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
Assessment handbooks can be accessed by parents via the school website https://aurora.nsw.edu.au/our-school/our-policies/assessment-policy-handbooks/ . These resources allow parents to further support their children by accessing timelines for formal assessment tasks for their courses.
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 a student is sick, or:
The Aurora College coordinating office may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 1300 287 629.
If students miss more than 15% of class, letters of concern (for Years 7-9) or N-Awards warning letters (for Years 10-12) will be sent home. This informs parents that the student is missing work and/or is at risk of not fulfilling course requirements.
Students on leave for extended periods
A Certificate of Exemption 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 to be forwarded to the coordinating office via the ACC. In order to meet course outcomes, students will still be required to complete assessment tasks and classwork as negotiated by the Head Teacher for each subject.
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 also applies to special events in schools where the students will be absent from their usual Aurora classes.
Extensions for assessment tasks
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 have a completed illness/misadventure form when they return to school and 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:
School community and consumer complaint procedure
The department is committed to effectively managing complaints raised by consumers, members of the community and staff by following the following principles:
To access the procedures of how to lodge a complaint, please click on the link here.
What’s coming up?
Carolyn McMurtrie | Deputy Principal
Our Year 5 students have been working with numbers. Lots of numbers! Prime, composite, triangular, squared, cubed, factors, multiples and more. After learning to identify the numbers and to see the patterns they created, some students chose to challenge themselves with the famous Collatz Conjecture.
This well-known problem asked students to look at a set of instructions and then find the pattern. Students picked any number; if it was even they halved it, and if it was odd they multiplied by 3 and then added 1. The challenge was to keep going and see what would happen ….. Does it happen with every number? Every one??
Students explored some patterns, shared insights with each other and narrated a moving graphic that showed the Collatz Conjecture in action. Mr Gorton, who teaches Year 7 and Year 12 Mathematics at Aurora, visited and talked to the students about what they’d learned.
Serena McLean | Assistant Principal
Aurora College recently hosted Dr Kristy Goodwin and used her expertise to explore how we can help teenagers have a healthier relationship with technology. Parents and teachers attended her webinars to develop strategies to help them develop boundaries for their teens and to ensure that they are gaining skills in concentration and focus for learning.
Marnie Etheridge | (Rel.) Head Teacher, Teaching and Learning
Our HSC Study Days registrations are kicking off this term. Once again, we have an exciting program of presenters and workshops.
Aurora College facilitates a range of HSC workshops to support student learning in metropolitan, rural and remote schools. In 2020, our range of experts, experienced teachers and HSC markers delivered quality HSC tips to over 18,000 students across 230 schools.
This year we are again providing an opportunity for HSC classes in any NSW Department of Education school (rural, remote or metropolitan) to connect and revise with other students from across the state.
Marnie Etheridge | (Rel.) Head Teacher, Teaching and Learning
Throughout Term 1, Year 7 students have explored elements of narrative writing with the aim of understanding what makes an effective story. For their first assessment, they mapped out and drafted a story from orientation and complication to climax and resolution. In preparation for this task, students imagined a plot of setting and characters that were inspired and influenced by a chosen culture or sub-culture. Below you will find a sample of stories which showcase students’ applied understanding and creativity in storytelling.
In Term 1, Year 8 have been studying the Hero’s Journey monomyth. For their assessment task, students were asked to compose a narrative which featured three stages of the Hero’s Journey as well as several archetypes (such as Mentor, Trickster and Shadow). The narratives featured in this issue demonstrate our students developing abilities to incorporate the Hero’s Journey monomyth in their own writing with sophistication and flair, as well as their ability to write descriptively to create and maintain atmosphere and tone within a narrative.
During Term 1, Year 9 students studied the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. For their assessment they took the perspective of one of the characters from the novel and wrote a narrative from their point of view, focused on the character’s personal experiences. As part of this task, students considered the context of different characters and how this shaped their perspectives, reflecting our learning about the influence of context throughout this unit. Below you will find a couple of stories which showcase students’ understanding of context and character in To Kill a Mockingbird, as well as their creative abilities in storytelling.
What makes non-fiction so compelling to read? It’s real life, told in interesting and creative ways. Creative non-fiction can range from the tragic to the comic and is compelling because we are connecting through shared human experiences.
Year 10 studied a range of creative non-fiction styles of writing, looking at life writing, performance poetry and satirical texts. Students examined the mechanics of these texts and tried to apply the techniques used by some of the most talented writers in the world in their own pieces. They had plenty of inspiration to draw from, whether the topic was floods, food or each other.
What you’re about to read is a selection of some of the most unique and compelling pieces our students produced.
Jowen Hillyer | Head Teacher English, HSIE & Languages
Year 11 Geography
This Term, Year 11 Geography students at Aurora College had the opportunity to participate in two days of virtual fieldwork as part of their study of ‘Biophysical Interactions’. Doing a live crossover to Jill Bell and Susan Kelly from the Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre (RNPEEC), students had the opportunity to do a real-time virtual walkthrough of a heath landscape. With the assistance of the RNPEEC staff, students collected data on specific features of the biophysical environment such as humidity, light intensity, soil moisture, as well as an investigation of plant populations within the local area.
Students completed their fieldwork with a summary presented by the RNPEEC staff through our Adobe Classroom where they explored the rainforest located within the Royal National Park and compared it to the features found within the heath area they had explored.
This was the first time that staff at the RNPEEC had gone virtual with fieldwork. They went above and beyond to support our students and we are incredibly grateful for their time and efforts. Our Year 11 Geography students were able to make real-world connections to what they have learnt in the classroom.
On behalf of all of us at Aurora College, thanks must go to the Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre – we look forward to working with you again in the future.
Mr Happ, Indigo, Eimear, and Matthew | Year 11 Geography Team
On 7 April, the Wednesday of the first week of the holidays, Dr Rudman and I travelled to the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra for my Science Extension project. We visited the Research School of physics to meet with PhD student Dominik Koll (in the photo beside me) and Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Stefan Pavetich (working behind me) to talk about Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) and the 14UD pelletron particle accelerator.1
Mass spectrometry is a scientific method of quantifying a particle’s mass-to-charge ratio. AMS is a unique form of that, with the addition of a particle accelerator to filter out particles of high abundance to separate out a rare isotope (an atom with a different number of neutrons than on the periodic table). The process involves accelerating ions to extreme speeds, manipulating them with magnetic and electrostatic fields – in which different masses of particles behave differently, hence the filtering, and smashing those left into a particle detector. AMS is used to date organic samples by individually counting the radioactive Carbon-14 atoms, determining the ratio of those particles to the stable Carbon-12, and using the known half life to determine the time since it was part of a living thing. It is also used to track Earth’s progress through the galaxy relative to nearby supernovae, using ratios of levels of radioactive Iron-60 emitted by these incredible stellar explosions and stable Iron-56 found in extreme abundance on Earth.
The 14UD pelletron particle accelerator is a large, mostly vertical accelerator that takes advantage of atoms and molecules’ charges and a voltage of up to 15.5 million volts to shoot molecules extremely quickly around some magnetic bends, which are tuned to filter out slight differences in mass. Essentially, for our purposes, it’s one giant filter.
For my project, I am assessing the different chemical mixing methods for Zirconium-93, which is how the samples to be accelerated are chemically prepared, to obtain the cleanest result from the detectors. I will then determine the best chemical mixing method, which will henceforth be used to perform AMS on that isotope of Zirconium.
Our meeting on the 7th was to give us a tour of the facility and to explain how the process and many great machines and computers work to give me a thorough understanding of the process. This visit was in preparation for my two days of testing later this term, wherein I will use the accelerator for my Science Extension project. It was an interesting, enjoyable experience to get up close to the devices scientists use today to do research, and to see what their work is like. I am excited for the tests next month and can’t wait to actually use the accelerator.
Harry Bottero | Year 12
Last Term in Year 10 Science, students produced a video and brochure package to educate young parents about the importance of immunising their children. Based on the National Immunisation Program, the students had to explain how vaccines worked and talk about successful strategies that the WHO had implemented to reduce the incidence of diseases through vaccination. They needed to also talk about some myths and misconceptions and risks associated with vaccination. We received some very creative and informative videos and following is an excellent selection. Well done Year 10 Science students!
Fiona Boneham | Science Teacher
Assessment Task 1 feedback and marks have been returned. Students should be preparing to submit Assessment Task 2 soon if they haven’t already. It’s been great to see students dedicating time and effort to their studies and achieving excellent results.
Year 7 and 9 will be undergoing NAPLAN shortly, we wish them all the best. Year 8 students have been doing Numeracy testing to identify strengths and gaps after NAPLAN 2020 was cancelled. Students will receive targeted support based on their results.
Recent student work samples
Helen Spencer | Mathematics Teacher
This mini-masterclass series is designed to support Stage 6 students undertaking research in subjects such as Science and English Extension, Legal Studies, CAFS, Modern History and Society and Culture. The first session has already taken place and focussed on the places to gather information in the digital realm. The second session will be focussing on what to do with the information once it’s been gathered.
Each session will comprise a 30-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A opportunity for students. It is open to all YEAR 12 Aurora College students, no matter what subject/s they are studying with us. A Year 11 series will be offered at another time.
At the conclusion of the series, students can schedule individual sessions with our Teacher Librarian to further support their studies in Stage 6.
Our Term One Borrowing Stars borrowed over 100 books between them in 10 weeks! Congratulations on your excellent reading habits:
An audiobook took out top place this past month: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. A nice mix of ebooks rounded out the top 5, some firm favourites and a few from 2020. Perhaps students and staff are reading books to complete the Aurora College Reading Challenge?
Students in our virtual book club have collaborated online to set ten (10) categories for the 2021 AC Reading Challenge. Students can read books from our digital library, their home school or public library, books they already own, or books on loan from a friend!
The challenge is open and runs until 1 December 2021 for all Aurora College students and staff.
Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian
We hope you like the new layout of our website. We are working hard to update all the information, but you may find a few areas that we are still working on. If you have any questions, or would like to provide feedback, please let us know by email at email@example.com
Preparing for our move
In the next school holiday period, the Coordinating Office will move to our permanent home at Lindfield Learning Village. We have put together the following video of a walk through of the office for you to enjoy.
Note that due to the move, we will be restricting courier pick up and drop offs after Week 8. If you have equipment that needs to be returned, please arrange to have it collected prior to the end of Week 8 (Friday 11 June 2021).
Ben Hillsley | Learning Technologies Support Officer
Hi! I’m Charles. I’m here to tell you about my life, in and outside Aurora.
My town, Yass, is a cosy place, just one hour away from the capital of Australia. This means it’s easy to access almost everything we need in hardly any time. If we’re out of, say, cheese, we can simply walk down the main street, say hi to some people we (barely, but still) know, pick up the milk from Woolies and come home! It’s a nice place.
Our town is not very well known (which makes everyone really excited when we see the word “Yass” in a history book) but we are a very old town. Apparently, the Yass area is land owned by both the Ngunnawal and Wiradjuri tribes. The word they used for it was “yarrh” which means “running water”, probably because of the long Yass River down the middle. In 1821, it was first seen by Europeans, during a trip led by Hamilton Hume. Yass has been a proper “settlement” or “town” since 1830.
Enough about Yass, though. Now I should talk about something different…. How about me?
One of my favourite things is music. I listen to it, play it, read it, and sometimes write it. It’s a nice hobby for after schoolwork. It’s probably going to factor into my future job ideas.
One of my other favourite things is Aurora lessons. I have such great teachers, the lessons are interesting and well-planned, and even the work they set is entertaining! Aurora was a good choice for my education because I have lots of fun with all my teachers and classmates. Also, after the lesson I (technically) have a free period! That gives me extra time to catch up with my work. In conclusion, I have a great learning experience in Aurora, and a wonderful life with my many friends.
Charles (Year 7, Yass High School)
Congratulations to our wonderful representatives
A number of our students competed at the State Swimming Championships:
From 21 to the 23 April, I competed for my surf club at The Aussies, which is the national titles for Surf Life Saving Australia. The beach events were held over 3 days on the Sunshine Coast in QLD, and I competed in the sprints, sprint relays and flags. I compete for Mollymook Surf Lifesaving Club and have been training hard for this event, having done surf club all my life. It was my second Aussie titles, and I’m in the age group of U17’s. The events were held in the afternoons/evenings, creating an awesome atmosphere. It was an amazing experience, with night finals and lights on the beach.
My main event is flags, but sprint relays night was another one of the highlights, with everyone sprinting well. Due to a lot of hard work and training, the teams I were in and I ended up coming away with 2 gold medals and a bronze in the U17s female and mixed relays, and the U19s female relays respectively (competing up an age). Everyone was ecstatic. On the following Friday night I had the flags, where I was a mix of nerves and excitement. I flagged well through the early rounds and made it through to the finals which were held at 6pm. I ended up making it through to the top 4 and got 4th. Overall, it was an amazing experience and only left me wanting to work harder; I can’t wait for next season!
Karla (Year 10, Ulladulla High School)
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 celebrate what our students are up to in their local communities! Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, marked: attention The Auracle.
I live in West Wyalong in the Riverina and I work from West Wyalong High School where I have been for 23 years. West Wyalong is a wonderful school that has a strong sense of community and pride.
I started working full time for Aurora College this year which is awesome! I have worked for Aurora College from its inception. I have found my tribe here and I love all the challenges and opportunities that I get every day.
West Wyalong is a town between Forbes and Temora in central NSW with a population close to 3000. It is a very sporty town with many representatives in numerous school western sporting teams as a result. We have a thriving gold mine at Lake Cowal run by Evolution Mines that employs a large number of locals and also a large Pace Farms egg production facility – they have over 3 million hens across Australia! People are very friendly and supportive in West Wyalong and many people come only for a few years and end up staying much, much longer, like me!
Science of course is my favourite subject to teach! Biology is my first love but Chemistry is my current love as I have had the opportunity to teach it only over the last 10 or so years. I love the connections that you can make in science and how it is so easy to contextualise anything that you are trying to teach.
Aurora have such an amazing and supportive staff and executive and such wonderful and talented students that it is hard to pick out anything as I love everything! I especially love the professional learning opportunities and the mentoring for the students is fantastic!
As most people who have anything to do with me know I am horse crazy! I own and breed registered cutting Quarter Horses with my partner. We enjoy training and competing on in various cow events around our area. There are many parallels with horse training and teaching students and I love the psychology of learning whether it be human or horse.
I enjoy researching animal health and psychology topics that help me understand why animals behave in certain ways. I find podcasts very good while travelling.
I also like hanging out with my two boys and taking them to various sports and activities. They play tennis, soccer and swimming, so that keeps me busy!
A typical Aurora day looks like…
I like to get up early before the kids and get some marking and preparation done before heading to school. This year, I have two stage 6 Chemistry classes and two year 10 classes. I enjoy motivating and guiding these bright lights to learn something new every day. The important thing is to increase their confidence in tackling the harder aspects of the curriculum and to challenge themselves and enjoy learning.
Fiona Boneham (Science teacher)
At Aurora we are many families, separated by the vastness of the lands, yet united as one Aurora tribe.
We come together with a shared vision and are active partners with Aurora College:
We believe that the students will be “…empowered through their knowledge, skills and creativity to become influential contributors to the knowledge economy…” of their time.
We celebrate the uniqueness of our students, their diverse interests, passions and backgrounds. They are united by a connectedness best described by their own mantra “I have found my tribe”, in reference to the strong sense of belonging they feel towards the college and each other.
As a part of the Aurora Tribe we will be involved in creating and encouraging opportunities that promote student wellbeing at school and home.
In the Aurora Tribe the students feel:
The Aurora College P & C look towards the future for our students, our staff and our families. We look to connecting the Aurora Tribe by building on strong foundations of support, connection and partnership to further develop a sense of belonging and unity in purpose throughout the Aurora community. Connecting as families, students and staff to learn, grow and build our Aurora community with trust, respect, integrity, benevolence and excellence.
A reminder the P&C will meet (via Zoom) at 7:00 pm (Sydney time) on a Wednesday once a term. Remaining meeting dates for 2021 are: 11 August and 3 November. Zoom invitations and the meeting agenda will be sent to the school community by email in the week before each meeting. We look forward to you joining us online.
For all enquiries related to the Aurora P&C, please email email@example.com
Narelle Myers | Secretary
Aurora is committed to anti-bullying and is sharing this fact sheet 3-types-of-bullying from ‘Bullying No Way!’ for your information.
Lucy Jellema | Learning and Support Teacher
UNSW Gateway is a three-year program for students in Years 10 – 12. The program supports you to make decisions about degree choice and future careers and to succeed in your HSC. The program is also key to receiving an early conditional offer to UNSW through the Gateway Admission Pathway. Find out more from UNSW here.
Year 11 students 6 – 23 September 2021.
Registrations open 12 July and close 27 August 2021.
We would like to pay our respects and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and also pay respect to Elders both past and present.