"The ability to take away faxes, blue slips, photocopying of huge sheets of data around leave and to automate signing in and out were the big draw cards".

- Phil Noble, Director of Boarding




The Story of Prince Alfred College:

Established in 1869, Prince Alfred College is a leading day and boarding school for boys located in Adelaide, South Australia.

 We caught up with Phil Noble, Director of Boarding at Prince Alfred College (PAC), to discuss the school's experience implementing Reach.


How long has Prince Alfred College been utilizing Reach Student Life Management, and what motivated the decision to adopt it?

After attending a National Boarding Conference in 2012 and hearing about Reach's journey, Phil Noble, Director of Boarding at Prince Alfred College, was eager to be one of the trial schools. "I made contact and was lucky enough to trial, and we have been using it ever since," he shared. The primary attractions were the system's ability to eliminate faxes, blue slips, and the photocopying of large data sheets related to leave, as well as automating the signing in and out process. "The ability to view the location of boarders and quickly access personal information of each boarder, their family, and consent details was crucial in the first few years," Noble explained.

Over time, as more modules were added, the school benefited from features like pastoral notes, events—where Noble contributed his insights for system development—roll calls, and data reports.

Addressing Boarding Program Needs

When asked about the specific needs or challenges within the boarding program that prompted the implementation of the Reach Events module and the Pastoral Points system, Phil Noble recounted the process. "After I presented my model of managing the activities portfolio at a conference in Melbourne in 2018, Garry made contact and we brainstormed the building of the Events module within Reach," he said. This collaboration led to the development of a module that could assist other houses, engage more boarders in events, and provide staff with tools for management and coordination. "Pastoral Points is something we have added recently," Noble continued, explaining that it tracks boarders' positive actions such as service, volunteering, helping others, and engaging in activities. "We use this data to award the different levels of our Rushton Ripple service program." Additionally, senior staff can utilize these points to aid in writing pastoral reports for the school.

Successes of the Reach Events Module

The implementation of the Reach Events module has led to several significant achievements within the boarding program. "The ability to easily confirm numbers, share information, and send invites to parents and students has been invaluable," said Phil Noble. One critical management tool has been the generation of roll calls with contact details for each student participating in an activity. "These roll calls can be duplicated, shared with the main desk, and taken to the event," Noble explained.

Furthermore, the capability to pull data and save it in master records for individual and total participation awards and records has been a huge success, streamlining administrative processes and enhancing overall event management.



Recognizing Boarders' Contributions: Earning and Tracking Pastoral Points

Pastoral Points within Reach are earned and tracked through a comprehensive system that highlights boarders' contributions to the community. "At the end of each year, we award a prize for the student who has participated in the most activities throughout the year," explained Phil Noble. The events module facilitates this by using a master sheet to record each student's name and their individual activities. Additionally, the pastoral points system is set up for staff to note comments on volunteering, service, acts of kindness, and support. "Last year, we launched our Rushton Ripple Service program," Noble continued, "where we acknowledge these contributions. These numbers are then measured against our different levels, and certificates are awarded at the end of each term to boys who meet each milestone."


Feedback and Continuous Improvements

Feedback from staff and students regarding the Events module and Pastoral Points system has been overwhelmingly positive and has driven several enhancements. "Students and parents love that they can see the outline of events in Reach at the start of each term," noted Phil Noble. The capability for students to sign up or unregister from activities through the Reach app has significantly increased student agency in managing their experiences. Staff have praised the Events module for its communication features, allowing them to convey participation details one day, two hours, and during the activity itself via the messages module. "The ability for staff leading each activity to check sign-up numbers and attendance allows them to make necessary adjustments for group management," Noble added. Additionally, the ease of printing data for roll calls and managing groups in the field has been a commonly appreciated feature!



The Future of Community Engagement at PAC

Looking ahead, Phil Noble envisions a dynamic evolution of community engagement within the boarding program at Prince Alfred College, with technology playing a pivotal role. "As an early adopter of Reach and an active user and provider of feedback, we foresee a long relationship with the system," he remarked. Recent improvements, such as pushing leave notifications to the app instead of parent emails or mobile numbers, have streamlined the leave approval process. Additionally, the ability to complete live roll calls from multiple devices exemplifies how Reach continues to enhance operational efficiency.

By leveraging technology like Reach, Prince Alfred College is set to further enrich the boarding experience, fostering greater engagement and seamless management. As the school continues to adapt and innovate, the ongoing integration of advanced tools will undoubtedly play a crucial role in supporting the community and enhancing the overall boarding experience.