Sec­ondary suc­cess spawns maiden vir­tual class

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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