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Australian first as students start in primary OC class

Students from 28 rural and regional primary schools have commenced the first virtual Opportunity Class pilot program.

Aurora College students

Aurora College’s virtual Opportunity Class pilot program engages Year 5 students Jye Forbes, left, and Kobi Hemsted at Bermagui Public School.

Aurora College operates the ground-breaking virtual pilot program comprising an intake of 48 gifted and talented Year 5 students.

It builds on the success of the Aurora College virtual high school.

The pilot program class covers the state from Tathra to Tenterfield and Broken Hill to Beelbangera, including some of the state’s smaller and more remote schools.

Like Aurora College for secondary students, which has specially-selected teachers located across the state, one of the teachers for the new virtual Opportunity Class, Jessica Kennedy-Williams, will teach students out of Bourke Public School.

Her two colleagues, Serena McLean and Lisa Pearson, will teach out of Aurora’s Sydney office.

Students and teachers 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.

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 with Dr Ruth Phillips, a leading expert in Gifted and Talented education.

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