Find the department’s latest advice on COVID-19 requirements in our schools throughout NSW.
I am sure the return to face-to-face learning was welcomed by Aurora families everywhere. Since 8 November, schools have been operating on updated Level 3 settings. All going well, this will remain the case for the rest of Term 4.
The updated settings aim to balance the risk of COVID-19 transmission among cohorts, with a layered approach to COVID safety on school sites and to meet expectations for closer alignment to community settings. A combination of safety measures, including: vaccination; wearing masks; student cohorting; physical distancing; ventilation; hygiene and cleaning, allows our schools to prioritise student and staff wellbeing while keeping our schools operational. Advice and guidance for parents and carers about the return to classrooms can be accessed here.
A big welcome to our new (2022) Years 7 to 11 students and their families!
Last week, the Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, Georgina Harrisson, sat down for a short conversation with Professor Sharon Goldfeld, a paediatrician and Director of The Centre for Community Child Health. Professor Goldfeld has decades of experience in state government as a senior policy maker in health and education. During the 2020 second COVID-19 wave, she analysed the school transmission data for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. During the discussion, Professor Goldfeld shares some practical tips for families when talking to children about COVID-19, the layers of protection in place in our schools, and the benefits of getting our students into the classroom to learn. View the video here.
Parents are reminded that all students are expected to be at school unless they are unwell. Students should not attend school if unwell, even with mild symptoms. Under these circumstances, you should get tested for COVID-19 and closely follow NSW Health directions. Find your local testing clinics here.
Under Level 3 settings, overnight excursions and camps are not permitted. Term 1 2022 settings are currently under review by the Department and will be updated as soon as possible. At this stage, we are continuing with our planning for the first Residential School of 2022. As our state continues to make progress in suppressing COVID-19, we remain hopeful that we will once again be able to enjoy the fun and excitement of ‘res’.
In 2022, we will welcome a record number of new students to our school. Last week, we hosted a livestreamed ‘meet and greet’ for our new (2022) students and their families, providing important information and insights into how our school operates. In the coming weeks, our new students will also have the opportunity to meet some of their future classmates and teachers as they explore the virtual learning environment. Advice has been provided via email to all new Aurora families. Please contact the coordinating office on 1300 287 629 if you have any questions or concerns.
At the livestream, staff spoke of the strong connections Aurora students form with their Aurora peers and teachers. We also shared data which supports a widely held view that the Aurora experience for students is characterised by an engaging and challenging curriculum, a strong sense of belonging, and an environment where students feel comfortable to be themselves. At the livestreamed iRes 2.0 presentation assembly, Jaslyn Mackenzie (Year 10) spoke about her Aurora experience. If any of our new students or their families are in doubt about the importance of ‘finding your tribe’, don’t take my word for it, listen to Jaslyn.
In 2022, Aurora College will welcome our second intake of Year 5 students through the Department’s Opportunity Class Placement Test. To be COVID-19 compliant and to reduce the interaction of students from different schools, the Department made the decision that applicants will sit an online test in their current school, instead of at a test centre. To facilitate this, the test is being held much later this year.
Key dates in this process are as follows:
If your son or daughter has applied to sit for the Opportunity Class Placement Test and you have questions of concerns about the process, please contact the Department’s High Performing Students Team on 1300 880 367. We wish all applicants the best of luck with the test.
Encouraging high levels of student attendance is a responsibility that we share with students, parents/carers and partner school staff. As you are aware, a recently commenced initiative in this space is the fortnightly student attendance reports that are emailed to parents/carers and Aurora College Coordinators. I refer you to the Student Wellbeing – Learning and Support section of this edition of The Auracle, for further information on our plans in this area of operation. We welcome your feedback and suggestions on how we can continue to improve our processes. Please feel free to email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
As I write this article, our Year 12 students are sitting for their first written HSC examination in English. It has been a particularly bumpy road for the 2021 cohort, but each of you has shown great determination to complete your secondary education. I hope the completion of the HSC is the next step in happy and fulfilling lives for all of you.
Enjoy another great edition of The Auracle.
Chris Robertson | Principal
Again, this year Term 4 residential needed to go online due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. While we were unable to meet in person, the Aurora staff led by Virginia Cluff, Connor Boyko and Serena McLean organised many fantastic activities and experiences for our students. Activities ranged from guest speakers such as Dr Richard Harris, a livestream of Grand Illusions, Year 10 Kahoot Trivia and the penultimate ‘glow’ online disco where staff, students and families were able to dress up and dance to some great tunes in the comfort of their own lounge rooms. A big thank you to students and staff for making this very different residential such a success.
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 parents/caregivers are required to inform the coordinating office of Aurora College within seven days if the student is sick, or:
The Aurora College Coordinators are required to inform the coordinating office of Aurora College if the student:
The NSW Department of Education requires all students to attend school until Thursday 16 December, the last day of teaching for Term 4 2021. Prior to this date, students in all year groups will be engaged in meaningful work based on the curriculum and syllabus requirements.
If parents are seeking permission for their child to be absent from school for a period of time, then the Exemption from School – Procedures should be followed and permission sort from your home school. A copy of this documentation should then be forwarded to Aurora College.
We continue to work with our partner schools in preparation for 2022. With our support, this term our partners will:
Further information can be viewed by all community members on the Partner School Information page of our website.
Carolyn McMurtrie | Deputy Principal
Supporting positive school attendance is a shared responsibility – everyone has a role.
Every day counts, as regular attendance helps students to:
Attendance reports are sent out each fortnight, at the start of a timetable cycle, covering the previous two weeks data. Each day, there is an entry for the students classes and any absence information related to that class. If an absence is already explained, the explanation and the source of the explanation is listed here as well. Reports are sent to parents as well as the partner school to provide everyone with the best and most current information about a students attendance.
We welcome feedback from parents as to how we can make this information more readable. Already, we are planning to implement a “traffic light” system into the report so that absences that have not been explained are marked with a yellow “warning” light, signifying that it needs attention, and absences that have been explained are marked with a green “safe” light. If you have any other ideas, please pass them on to the school at email@example.com
Julie Ruming | Head Teacher Wellbeing
COVID-19 wasn’t going to dampen our enthusiasm to connect and have fun engaging in new challenges.
Our first session was a particular highlight with a Battle of the Minds challenge. All Year 5 students gathered in an iRes Microsoft Team to connect and prepare for the challenges ahead. Small groups which comprised students from each class were formed to solve maths problems, break codes, cyphers and create codes to communicate solutions. Our final team challenge for the day was a coding challenge that required students to design, iterate and code their spheros to escape the deadly Aurora Volcano. The activity was a fantastic opportunity for students to make connections, problem solve their way through designing and building bridges, and coding Spheros and Micro:bits to escape and signal a warning.
Masterclasses from The Maths Show demonstrated the mysteries of numbers as students calculated a series of numbers to determine a magic number. We also learnt about famous scientists and mathematicians in history that paved the way for our knowledge and understanding of maths today.
The Surfing Scientist, Ruben Meerman, demystified The Periodic Table and shared with students why the table has been organsied in the current form we see today. The thrill of dry ice and the experiments that were demonstrated were, without a doubt, a highlight of these sessions.
STEM.T4L brought our iRes week to a close with sessions on CoSpaces. We learnt how to code and design a rotating Solar System online. We look forward to integrating this knowledge this year and next, as we discover augmented reality (AR) further.
We were also fortunate for our iRes to join the high school to connect with Tim Rowett from Grand Illusions.
Our iRes week concluded with the GLOW Disco where we danced the night away decked-out in glow sticks with family and friends. We challenged each other with our best moves, our air guitar and pet dancing. Thank you to all the parents and friends who were able to join us to make this night so memorable.
To coincide with our masterclasses from the Richmond Agricultural Unit of Excellence, our Stage 3 team gave students a problem to solve: to create a mechanical pollinator. Students used their knowledge of bees to explain the importance of pollination and what could occur if bees were to continue to disappear, due to colony collapse disorder. They used their skills of the design thinking process to define, design, prototype, iterate and communicate their ideas.
Heading into Term 4, we are beginning our final STEM build: Space! Space is a wide, varied topic that students have a lot of interest in. During iRes, we teamed up with STEM.T4L for a Masterclass on CoSpaces, a 3D world building application. Students were able to recreate the Solar System, considering planets location and orbital speed.
For the rest of the term, students will be looking at a Space topic that interests them, whether it be space junk, the lifecycle of stars, or many more possibilities. They will become experts in their topic and create a prototype to demonstrate their knowledge. All the teachers are very excited to see what the students design.
Serena McLean | Assistant Principal
Advanced English said farewell today and in our last lesson ever, in a ‘virtual formal’ hosted by Marnie Etheridge and myself.
So how did that work? We …
That last one caused a few tears for the teachers because among their big world plans are also small, everyday hopes – of love and family. We are sending these young people out into the world as well balanced, academic workers, but also as dreamers – and the world needs more of them right now.
Congratulations Year 12 Advanced English – first cab off the rank for exams next week. Good luck!
The Extension 2 course is a year long research and writing project – a student undertaking this course is in the top 1,500 students in the state. The course asks them to decide on an academic concept and then see which form (poetry, short fiction, multimedia, script etc) would be best for expressing their idea. Those writing short fiction write a 6,000 word piece and a 1,500 word reflection, explaining their compositional and research choices. They must also springboard off things they were taught in Advanced or Extension 1 English!
The course requires extensive research into the history of the form they choose, as well as the subject matter. Neve spent a year deep diving into the structures and background of short fiction from Edgar Allan Poe to postmodern composers, to take us into the world of Sir Joseph Banks. Her aim was to use this knowledge to tell the hidden story of women during this time and explore the concept of miscommunication between the ‘language’ of women and the ‘language’ of men. Neve appropriated the story of Daniel Solander (Bank’s right hand man) and reimagined him as a woman. Her story plays with the short fiction form, giving it a post modern twist in structure while incorporating original extracts of Bank’s journals.
Jowen Hillyer | Head Teacher English, HSIE and Languages
Students in Year 7 and 10 have completed their final mathematics assessment for the year. Students in Years 8 and 9 will finishing their tasks this week.
Students have done an extraordinary job adapting to the traditional exam being held online this year.
Students also participated in a variety of maths-focused activities at iRes, including Year 7 students who made a maze using CoSpaces Edu, where players had to answer maths questions to progress! Students enjoyed seeing some programming and gaming applications for maths.
A Masterclass by Dr Prashan in week 2 on ‘All Things Maths’ had students completing a variety of different activities and seeing mathematical applications in different jobs and recreational fields. Students were given challenges in break-out rooms and worked together to investigate how mathematics is present in everyday life.
We want to wish our Year 12 graduating students all the best in their studies and upcoming exams. They have been a particularly resilient year group, dealing with unprecedented circumstances, and we wish them well into their futures.
We also want to welcome our 2022 cohort as they start their Year 12 journey this term. It is an exciting time for students who are now in their final year of secondary schooling.
Karen Bellamy | R/Head Teacher Mathematics and Software Design & Development
The science faculty is saying good bye to one of our most loved teachers, Dr Geoff Goldrick, aka Dr G. Dr G was one of the foundation teachers at Aurora College, bringing an incredibly up-to-date knowledge to every lesson, and inspiring many students to pursue a career in science. Dr G will be greatly missed, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
Mrs Erin Richardson is also leaving us, but just for a short while, as she will soon welcome a new baby. We wish her happiness and joy with the new addition to her family.
On you behalf, I welcome two new staff members, Mr Damian Arnold and Miss Shikshya Bagale. Both teachers have joined the science team this term. We are sure that their expertise and enthusiasm as new Aurora teachers will make them a great asset to the school.
The highlight so far for this term was our iRes. Students in Year 8 and 10 presented their researched topics of interest. The investigations and the presentation skills were outstanding, showing the excellent work done by students and teachers in preparing for this important event in junior science. The prizes and final results will be announced in the next edition of The Auracle, but in the meantime, following are some examples.
Leila – Does eye colour affect someone’s ability to see in the dark?
Grace – Does sunscreen application really matter?
Esther – The 5 seconds rule myth
Genevieve – Does myopia result primarily from the particular genetic make-up of an individual or from environments they are exposed to?
Emma – Why do boomerangs come back?
Last term, 64 students participated in the International Chemistry Competition. This competition aims to promote interest in chemistry and to show the role of chemistry in society. This test gave students the opportunity to apply their chemistry knowledge and to practise exam style questions for their future HSC exams.
Welcome to Year 12 to all students who are continuing with us, and to those who are joining us for the first time.
Year 12 is going to be really busy, so we want to give you few tips:
We are here to help you achieve your best HSC, so never be afraid to ask for help!
Here are some tips, rules and procedures for year 12 2022
The assessments for Year 12 sciences that are due this term are:
Year 8 – plastic pollution awareness flyers
Year 9 – speed and velocity graphing skills
Year 12 Biology – In class practical – reproductive organs in plants
Year 12 Physics – calculating projectile motion
Silvia Rudmann | R/Head Teacher Science and Agriculture
Well it was a busy week but, iRes 2.0 was a huge success! The students enjoyed the array of activities that were available to them during the week!
We know that a real residential experience would have been your preferred way to spend the week; however, the feedback has been wonderful, with the masterclass by the 2019 Australian of the Year, Dr Richard Harris, among your favourites. It was an inspiring talk on the part he played in the rescue of the children from a flooded cave in Thailand. His amazing story gave the students an insight into solving an almost unsolvable problem.
The trivia afternoon was a great way for the whole school to compete in trivia. It is with great pleasure that we announce the winning trivia team for 2021. The Prize is a plaque on the “You Nailed it” trophy.
The winners were:
TEAM 11 on 138,865 points!!
Following are some images of staff and students competing in the Virtual Amazing Race. This event had many fun activities, with teams of staff and students in Years 7 and 8: re-creating a famous movie or TV scene; solving a puzzle and crossword; and deciphering some very mixed up songs.
Virginia Cluff | Instructional Leader
On Wednesday 20 October, Aurora College convened online for our annual presentation assembly. This event is a time for Aurora College students and staff to reflect on the year that has passed, and to celebrate the achievements of those students who received awards in 2021. It is also a time to acknowledge our graduating Year 10 and 12 cohorts who, for some, have spent four and six years’ worth of schooling with Aurora College.
A warm thank you to Emma who gave the ‘Welcome to Country’ and to Jaslyn who delivered a moving address on behalf of the Year 10 cohort. The students were also fortunate to listen to two Aurora alumni, Georgia Benton-Bryant and Matthew Tynan, who extended their congratulations to our graduates and also delivered some insightful and thought-provoking advice for our students moving onto senior school and tertiary education.
Our major award recipients were also acknowledged. The first of these were our universal achievers.
The universal achiever award is one of Aurora Colleges’ most prestigious awards. It is the accumulation of years of achievement with each universal being the sum total of 125 Astra awards. Our 2021 recipients are:
The ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership Awards started in 2006 to recognise students who demonstrate leadership and teamwork within both the school and the broader local community. At the same time, they recognise those who display strong values, such as doing one’s best, respect for others and “mateship” – characteristics that are integral to Australian society and Aurora College.
These valuable traits were easily recognisable in the recipients who have consistently proven themselves as assets to Aurora College, constantly striving for excellence and above all else, respecting their teachers, peers and acting as role models. Our 2021 recipients are:
The Ampol all-rounder award is a nationally-recognised award, with the chosen recipient joining an illustrious group of high achievers. The award recognises the student for exemplary conduct, academic achievement, attitude, personal conduct, ability to lead, and service to the school, sport and the arts. Our 2021 recipients are:
This award recognises the recipients’ science and mathematics abilities, while highlighting the value the Navy, Army and Air Force place on STEM skills and STEM career opportunities within the Defence Forces. The recipients of this award have continually demonstrated an aptitude in these areas. Our 2021 recipients are:
Congratulations to our Year 10 and 12 cohorts, as well as all award recipients.
Connor Boyko | R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning
Congratulations to our newly appointed SRC team for 2022.
After an extensive application process which included nomination by peers, we would like to congratulate the following students who form the 2022 Aurora College Student Representative Council.
Please note that Year 7 and Year 11 representatives will be elected early next year.
Dr Prashan Karunaratne, from Macquarie University, delivered a masterclass with a difference last week, showing us how mathematics can be applied to all walks of life!
We worked out how many NRL games will be in the season with the new team, the joys of Excel spreadsheets and how to hit the million dollar mark in Superannuation. It was a fun and engaging masterclass with lots of real world applications.
Marnie Etheridge | R/Head Teacher Teaching and Learning
Career as a Data Scientist
Data Scientists investigate large datasets and interpret them to gain insights and make recommendations for clients or employers that are easy to understand and important for future practice.
The Good Careers Guide states that Data Scientists may work individually, but usually work in a group or team, depending on the size of the business and their data. Data Scientists may communicate largely through e-mail and face-to-face meetings, where personal communication skills are critical.
There is an extensive and current calendar of events on the careers website that gives students links to; webinars; virtual open days; and careers events across New South Wales that may be helpful in making decisions about future career options.
To navigate go to the careers website\important information\calendar of events to see the following display:
University Study and the Gig Economy
Remember, employers are looking for:
So, while at university, set yourself up be the kind of graduate employers are looking for. Don’t assume that a certain qualification only leads to employment with certain companies and don’t second-guess where the jobs are. You can also value-add to your skill set by doing Work Experience, Industry-Based Learning, Overseas Exchange, and taking ‘breadth’ subjects while at university.
To find out more about the Gig Economy and how it works, have a look at this article (it’s American, but it gives you a really good overview and still applies)
International Borders Are Opening, Gap Years Are Back!
It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for. Not only are domestic borders opening around Australia – but we will soon see people heading overseas. From Nov 1 travel exemptions will no longer be required, and airlines have already increased their routes. New South Wales was first to announce that double vaccinated travellers won’t need to hotel quarantine when returning.
The good news is Gap Years never stopped. However, the positive travel announcements mean there’s more opportunities and it will be easier for school leavers eager to get overseas. The importance of a Gap Year for young people remains strong. Especially considering many spent their final years of school in lockdowns with online lessons.
Letz Live have launched a new Camp Assistant programme in the UK to commence March 2022. Many school leavers thought a Gap Year for 2022 wasn’t possible, however, they now have this exciting, new option.
Working at a leading outdoor education centre, the role of a Camp Assistant will see participants helping with a range of activities. This could be anything from paddle boarding to quad biking, sports and more. This 6–8 month programme is very similar to Letz Live Boarding Assistant programme, where accommodation and meals are included, and participants receive a salary and ongoing support.
Applications for this programme are currently open. Find out more here: www.letzlive.org/programmes/working-holiday-uk-activity-camps
School Leaver Information Kit
The School Leaver Information Kit (SLIK) is a great resource that can help you get ready for life after school.
This transition can sometimes be challenging, and the COVID-19 pandemic has presented some uncertainty. With changes to the education and workforce landscape, you might be wondering if your planned decisions are still a good option or what new alternatives are available and how to pursue them.
There are lots of options for education, training, and work in 2022 to help you further your career. This information kit has been designed to help you understand what those options might be and assist you to choose the right one for you.
You can download a copy of the kit from: https://yourcareer.gov.au/media/xlcbghjw/school_leaver_information_kit.pdf
Note: This link currently takes you to the 2021 version. The 2022 version will be made available via the link soon.
This November, we are trialling a new digital book library at our school. Students can access this library on any computer or device at home or school.
This digital library is packed with thousands of fiction and non-fiction titles suitable for each age group, so they can keep on reading about topics they like, explore new subjects they are curious about, or learn more about the people and places that are a part of their lives.
MyON is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so students can read every day, anytime, and anywhere they have an internet connection.
Login details and instructions have been posted to the Students Team, but if there are any issues, please contect Ms Lieschke at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Lieschke | Teacher Librarian
What is your teaching background?
I was teaching at Gorokan High, in the Central Coast for 17 years before I became a full time teacher at Aurora College. In my previous life, I was teaching at university level in Richmond and Argentina.
What is your local community like?
The Central Coast is a beautiful spot in Australia. I live closer to Lake Macquarie; the sunsets are stunning! My closest neighbour is Mr Webb, who lives just a few blocks away from me.
What is your favourite subject to teach?
I love all the sciences, but my heart is in biology. All sciences are related and connected to each other; everything is a ‘living thing’ for me, including the entire planet.
What do you like about teaching at Aurora?
Teaching in Aurora is amazing, because the students and the teachers are amazing! The teaching and learning in Aurora is challenging and engaging. It keeps my brain going 24/7 which is motivating to keep going with my passion to teach and learn more. I learn a great deal from all the students every day.
Anything else you would like to share?
I am a volunteer in the STANSW for the last 10 years and a couple of weeks ago, I was awarded the Service Recognition Award for all the work that I do with them. I prepare workshops, present in nearly all the conferences, and help new teachers to be initiated in teaching science. It was a major surprise for me to receive this award and I was thrilled.
Happy World Teachers Day 2021
World Teachers’ Day is an opportunity to recognise the 160,000+ primary, secondary, and early childhood teachers who work in NSW. This year the NSW Department of Education celebrates World Teachers’ Day on 29 October 2021.
Students and staff at Aurora College took the time to post shout outs to recognise the contribution of their teachers and colleagues.
Julie Ruming | Head Teacher Wellbeing
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.