Dear Preshil Families,
No matter who you are or how many years you’ve been around schools, the lead-up to the first day of the new school year can be filled with both excitement and trepidation. Like my family and me, I imagine you and your children are experiencing at least a little bit of both. We sincerely look forward to welcoming you back to campus and making sure all of our students feel welcomed for the first day of Term 1 on Tuesday 31 January 2023! Part of that welcome will be starting things off together as a whole school in the Arlington Front Garden with a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country from Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Perry. We invite all members of the Preshil community to join us at 9.15am for the ceremony.
One of the things that I enjoyed last year during my first year in Melbourne was learning about the seasons of the Kulin Nation. We begin the school year in the Biderap Dry Season, characterised by hot and dry weather, with high temperatures and little rainfall. During this time, butterflies can be seen flying, the grass is tall, and the Southern Cross is visible in the southern sky. I am looking forward to being mindful of these seasons throughout the year ahead.
As a school community, we are committed to focusing on stewardship of the environment and sustainability. We recognise the importance of taking care of our planet and want to do our part in protecting it for future generations. We will be implementing various initiatives and programs throughout the year to promote sustainability in all aspects of our school, from our classrooms to our facilities. We look forward to continuing our journey to our accreditation with Sustainability Victoria. We are excited to work together as a community to make a positive impact on our spaces, and we hope to inspire our students to become lifelong stewards of the planet. We recognise that this stewardship of the earth is also a legacy of the many generations of First Nations people who have cared for this land for millennia.
One of the ways that I wanted to start this year is by congratulating our Year 12 students from last year. Among the many great joys of working in a school is seeing children learn and grow and then take their next steps upon graduation. As a school community, I want to make sure we celebrate the journey of these students and acknowledge their hard work in addition to all of the hard work done by their teachers, peers, and family members to support them.
Towards the end of last year, we welcomed this group of young people into our Alumni community with a special Legacy Celebration. During this event, we put many of them on the spot to ask them about their Preshil experience (please click on the links below to view their recorded thoughts).
Many spoke fondly of how their learning started at the Arlington Campus and how this experience created a love of learning that continued on for their time at Blackhall Kalimna. They also referenced how options are limitless at Preshil, and how Preshil has helped many students to develop meaningful bonds with others, an acceptance of self and how being yourself is what people want and is something to be valued. Many students commented on how Preshil helped them appreciate how differences are what make you special and make you stand out; that this is not something to be ashamed of or try to fix, but rather to embrace. They observed how accepting and inclusive our community is and how in life, it is meaningful to find friends with whom you can be authentic and trust. When you attend Preshil, you have a chance to be yourself in a space where you are encouraged to be yourself, developing self-belief and a strong sense of belonging. Some students spoke about how the interaction between students and teachers is like no other and relationships are truly at the centre of all that we do.
One emphasised the experience of learning how to structure thoughts and ideas, and another how their creative experiences, such as the art exhibitions. the production and the many community events have shaped their future. Someone developed a love of science and chemistry, and someone else developed a passion for philosophy and art! Another recognised that Preshil helped her to feel comfortable and respected when interacting with adults. Yet another described their experience as a unique blend of accepting school culture, where you can also be challenged by the work and also develop a sense of work ethic. The Class of 2022 departs Preshill eager to do many things, such as learn new things, travel and meet new people.
Listening to these students’ reflections, it is apparent that the experiences gained from a Preshil education are rich, nuanced and varied.
While we should be careful not to overemphasise narrow academic outcomes and exam results because they are just one measure of a student’s development, I do want to share with you some insight into the students’ pathway outcomes and IB results that were announced over the break. The students experienced tremendous success and are coming away from Preshil with a great variety of choices.
Our students’ median score of 32.45 (out of a possible 45) is higher than the global IB average. 100% of our 2022 cohort received ATARs ranging from 65.05 to 99.80, allowing many of them access to their first preference.
They are a group of students with a wide range of interests attending a variety of tertiary institutions and diverse fields of study. They are studying everything from fashion and biomedicine to law and engineering. They are attending schools from RMIT to Australian National University. One of Preshil’s strengths is our diversity of learners, and each and every student deserves praise for the work they have put into understanding who they are, being true to themselves, and reaching their potential.
Below is a graphic with all the schools and fields of study:
Again, I would like to sincerely thank our whole community for nurturing and guiding all Preshil students throughout their journeys, for supporting our students with their dedication, and expertise, and for providing our students with opportunities to know themselves and explore their passions and purpose. We congratulate all our recent Year 12 students. We have every confidence in them and can’t wait to see what they will go on to do.
Before sharing some of the exciting events coming up, I want to provide you with you a full copy of the 2023 School Calendar, which you can download below or access on COMPASS. This year at Preshil, it is our ambitious intention to develop a calendar that is inclusive and representative of our diverse and international community.
We have initially informed our calendar with United Nations Holidays and Holidays and Observances in Australia. We also need your help! If your family or community celebrates something that is not listed below, we invite you to please contact us by email (email@example.com) to let us know.
Together, we are committed to developing an awareness of global and local celebrations and observances.
We know that the constructive and supportive partnership between home and school can be integral to a student’s ability to flourish and thrive. An important part of that is helping parents see and understand the intellectual and social-emotional learning that goes on at school. We are looking forward this year to all of the different ways that we will celebrate learning and make that learning visible for all to see. This will be done in a variety of ways in the different areas of the School. This will include communications home to parents through Xplor in the Kindergarten, Seesaw in the Primary School and Google Classroom in the Senior School.
You will also receive newsletters at each respective campus highlighting various elements of the programmes and curriculum. This year, our Arlington Argus and BK Broadcast will continue with three editions of each distributed each term. These publications are intended to provide families with valuable insights into the learning and school-wide activities taking place throughout the year. They will include information about the many inquiries, themes and initiatives that our IB students undertake. In addition, we will have a variety of events throughout the year to introduce and then celebrate all of the rich learning taking place. Please download the summary of our 2023 Celebrations of Learning for more information.
In the coming days, you will hear from your Heads of Campus, welcoming you to the year and sharing some important details with you to help prepare you for a successful year ahead.
One of the special aspects of the student experience at Preshil is the sense of community. We want to do our best so that Preshil serves as a meaningful community for parents as well. To that end, we launched a number of parent committees last year. Look out for committee descriptions and ways to get involved in an upcoming message. In addition to committees, we have been thinking about all of the ways we can create space and opportunity for parent community building and connection.
In 2023, we have an exciting line-up of events planned, including opportunities for learning, socializing, and community service. We invite all members of our community to participate in and contribute to the vibrant culture at Preshil. Please download the summary of our 2023 Community Celebrations for more information.
And don’t forget, Preshil is turning 90 years old this year! We look forward to celebrating this milestone with our entire community, including current students, alumni, staff, parents, and friends of the school. We plan to mark this occasion with a series of special events and activities throughout the year, to reflect on our past, celebrate our present and look forward to our future. It’s an exciting time, and we are delighted to share this special milestone with everyone who has been a part of our community over the years. We hope you will join us in celebrating this momentous occasion and be a part of the memories that will be created as we look forward to the next 90 years. Please look out for more details as the year progresses.
I look forward to this new school year with the Preshil community!
All the best,