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I am excited to let you know that Preshil is starting on an important journey. We will be thinking deeply about our school, what sets us apart from others, how we can make it better and how we can continue to create wonderful experiences for our teachers, students, and their families.

The school is embarking on a journey to review and develop our mission, vision, and plans for the next 3-5 years, and I am thrilled to introduce Dr Jeremy Yuille from Meld Studios, who will be facilitating this strategic planning process. Meld Studios is a respected strategic design agency that has been operating nationally since 2009 and is a leader in human centred design, which is an approach to strategy that puts real people in the centre of the design process.

The last time the school embarked on a collective strategic review of this size was just over a decade ago and through that process we were able to engage with our entire community to imagine a future for Preshil, informed by many voices including parents, students, staff, past students and alumni. Through this process we set the same goal and hope to achieve similar levels of engagement and involvement to shape our next decade.

Our first step is to understand how we’re doing today as a school. We’ll look at how we work, our strengths, our challenges, and where we could grow. We also want to learn why some parents and students choose us, while others don’t, with the view to articulating more clearly what makes Preshil the right environment for students.

Importantly, we’re not doing this alone. We’re working with a team of experts who will help us identify ways to make Preshil even better. They will work with our community to create new ideas and design a future that makes Preshil a place where everyone wants to learn.

The end result will be a clear plan for the next three years. It will include specific goals, leadership strategies, financial management, opportunities to seize and plans to handle any possible risks, all while keeping in mind the needs and experiences of our community.

This is an exciting journey as we courageously shape Preshil’s future. I invite you all to join us on this transformative journey.

MORE INFORMATION ON HUMAN CENTRED DESIGN AND THE STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS

After a lengthy tender process, the Preshil Board of Directors are excited to work with Meld Studios using human-centred design (or HCD) to shape our school’s future. HCD is a way of solving problems that starts by understanding the people we’re designing for, and then co-creating solutions that fit their diverse needs.

What is human centred design?

Human-centred design is an approach to problem-solving that places the needs, desires, and behaviours of the people who will be impacted by a solution at the core of the design process. It involves understanding the perspectives and experiences of the people who are using a system, empathising with their needs, and involving them in the design and decision-making processes. The goal is to create outcomes that are not only functional and efficient but also meaningful and satisfying for the individuals using them. Here is short video that explains what it is and how it works:

Why is it relevant to Preshil?

As a progressive school, Preshil has always sought out the experiences of students to shape and drive learning outcomes and we believe that we should aspire to the same approach when it comes to designing the operations and strategy of the school. This means avoiding the simplicity of taking a “top down” approach to where we should be heading, but taking the time to listen and understand the experiences of people engaging with the school and where possible, bringing them into the creation of possible futures. For this very reason we believe that the human centred design approach is relevant for a strategic planning process at a Preshil because it aligns with the school’s values, encourages stakeholder engagement, supports innovation, promotes adaptability, addresses unique challenges, improves user experiences, and fosters empathy and understanding. By putting people at the heart of the planning process, the school can develop strategies that truly meet the needs of its students and community.

So what will this actually look like in practice? What should we expect?

Over the next few months, you can expect to hear from Jeremy from Meld and the school about activities that seek the input of your child, yourself and other members of the Preshil community. These activities will include surveys, interviews, and group discussions which we hope to learn about your experiences, challenges, and dreams within our school.

A core part of this work is coming together, so you can expect to learn of workshops where members of our community can come together and share ideas. By participating in activities and discussions, we’ll gather different perspectives and co-create solutions.

We all have to acknowledge that we do have a large community, so we won’t be able to reach everything and everyone with the same level of depth, but we want to be able to provide the space for these conversations to happen.

The types of activities may include:

  • Reviewing and articulating our mission, vision, values and behaviours
  • Listening to the challenges and strengths that each of our cohorts experience and examining opportunities that arise from these discussions
  • Coming together to workshop and explore, test, experiment and review responses to specific strategic questions that come up in regards to the school’s future
  • Coming together to listen and provide feedback
  • Listening to finalised directions and plans and seeking to understand how each of us might play a role in making this happen.

When will it be complete?

We’re undertaking this process over the course of the next six months, with the aim of ratifying the strategic plan at the school’s next annual general meeting in May 2024.

How do I put my hand up to be involved?

Here are some suggested ways that you can get involved in this important process:

Participate in Community Consultation: Keep an eye out for announcements about upcoming community consultations. These might take the form of surveys, interviews, and group discussions. Your input is valuable and will be instrumental in shaping our new strategic plan.

Join a Workshop: Attend workshops led by Jeremy and the team from Meld Studios. These interactive sessions will provide an opportunity to explore, test, experiment and review responses to specific strategic questions. It’s a chance to share your ideas and work collaboratively on the future direction of Preshil.

Share your Experience: Your everyday experience at Preshil is crucial in shaping our understanding of what’s working well and what areas we need to improve. We encourage all members of our community – students, parents, staff, and alumni – to share their experiences, challenges, and dreams for the future of our school.

Provide Feedback: As our strategic plan develops, we will seek your feedback. Look out for opportunities to review our progress and provide your insights. Your feedback will help refine our plan and ensure it accurately reflects the needs of our community.

Stay Informed: Keep up to date with the latest developments in the strategic planning process. We’ll be sharing updates regularly through newsletters, social media, and on our website.

Be an Advocate: Share information about our strategic planning process within your networks. Encourage others to get involved and contribute their perspectives.

Thank you in advance for your involvement and support.