Secondary success spawns maiden virtual class
Corowa Public School students are among 48 that will take part in the state’s first ever primary school virtual opportunity class as announced last week.
The ground-breaking enrichment program for gifted and talented primary school students builds on the success of the Aurora College virtual Selective High School.
While opportunity classes have operated in schools across the state for many years, the new Aurora College virtual Opportunity Class will enable students at some of the state’s smallest and most remote schools to gain similar benefits.
Commencing this term, the Aurora College virtual Opportunity Class pilot program will include 48 Year 5 students, including students from Corowa Public School.
Students were selected from the following schools state-wide: • Beelbangera Public School • Bermagui Public School • Bodalla Public School • Broken Hill Public School • Broulee Public School • Burke Ward Public School • Calare Public School
• Cobar Public School • Corowa Public School • Dunedoo Central School • Eden Public School
• Forbes North Public School • Forbes Public School • Griffith East Public School • Hermidale Public School • Ivanhoe Central School • Jindera Public School • Merimbula Public School • Milton Public School • Morgan Street Public School • Pambula Public School • Parkes East Public School
• Sutton Public School
• Tathra Public School
• Temora Public School
• Temora West Public School
• The Sir Henry Parkes Memorial Public • Upper Lansdowne Public School
Students in the schools selected to take part in the pilot were selected based on a short portfolio, which included Year 3 NAPLAN, school-based data, a recommendation from their class teacher, endorsed by the school principal and information from the student about what they hope to gain from the virtual opportunity class experience.
The students will join together for two 90-minute lessons each week, building to four 90-minute and one 45-minute lesson each week next year.
The virtual lessons are ‘synchronous’ with students using laptops, headsets and a webcam supplied to each of them by the program.
Kits are being supplied to their schools so they can participate in STEM lessons which will be an emphasis of the program.
They will also be challenged by ‘masterclasses’ conducted by experts in their field, such as Sally Larsen from Behind the News and the CSIRO’s Rob Hollows.
Like Aurora College for secondary students which has specially-selected teachers located across the state, one of two teachers for the new virtual Opportunity Class, Jessica Kennedy-Williams will teach students out of Bourke Public School.
Highlighting the importance of parents as partners in effective education, the Aurora College virtual Opportunity Class is hosting a webinar for parents of its new primary students which will present Dr Ruth Phillips.
A leading expert in gifted and talented education, Dr Phillips will provide invaluable insights for parents on how best to support their gifted and talented children.
Aurora’s teachers are selected through an EOI process and on the basis of their subject expertise and their capacity to deliver engaging and innovative lessons in a virtual environment. All Aurora teachers and executive staff have completed the GERRIC mini-Certificate in Gifted Education course.
Forty-eight students from around the state, including Corowa Public School, have been selected for the first ever primary school virtual opportunity class.