I made a quick reference to today’s topic toward the end of letter sent at the start of the school year–it’s time for The École to devise a new strategic plan and a new vision for the future. Fear not; bilingualism and multiculturalism will remain at the heart of our project, but it is time for us to define more clearly the skills and competencies we wish our students to develop–with the trifold objective of integrating those skills and competencies into our curricula at every level, putting projects in place that promote them, and being in a position to effectively measure the progress we make. It’s a subject I broached here, taking the example of generosity or empathy.

We want to devise an ambitious strategic plan that we can all be proud of, and in order to give it every chance of success, I am delighted to inform you that The École has signed a partnership with Humans Matter, a cognitive design company. Humans Matter will use artificial intelligence tools (natural language processing) to analyze responses given in individual interviews and specially devised questionnaires to uncover the salient points that crystalize our community.

What excited me most during my preliminary talks with Humans Matter was the possibilities the collaboration will open for us thanks to the concrete examples provided by their researchers. During the fascinating conversations I had with them, I learned that it is possible, indeed common, for their methods to reveal previously unperceived/unexpressed needs in communities like ours. Needless to say, I am extremely excited to discover what we all have to say about our school.

The first phase will begin in the coming weeks–we’re aiming for early December–when you will all be asked to complete an online survey about what is important for you in your child’s school, what we should do better/more, what you would love your child to learn, etc. In parallel, some of you will be invited to a 45-minute individual interview with the researchers from Humans Matter (I am working on drawing up a list of 20 people who are representative of our school).

The beauty of The École is our diversity, which means our dreams, needs, and desires are neither uniform nor universal. By collaborating with Humans Matters, using their tried and tested scientific methods, we will avoid biases, opinions, and approximations. We have before us an unprecedented opportunity to define the school of our dreams and determine the future of our students. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to work with a team of researchers who will take full advantage of what we have to say and empower us to take targeted steps to achieve our objectives. It is quite simply the stuff of dreams for a head of school.

I know I can count on you all to participate actively in the process. The end result will only be as good as the quality and the care we put into our responses. I am certain those answers will be just like The École: fascinating, intelligent, and pertinent.