Meeting of principals and staff members from schools in the Horizons Scholarship Program

On May 26th, we hosted a special online meeting for principals, teachers, educators and school therapists, who support and teach Horizons scholars.
The meeting is a form of continuing our collaboration since November, 2019. We wish to support the Horizons schools in developing their social component. By ‘social component’ we mean a holistic approach to students’ development, which concentrates less on their scientific progress and more on their social activism and abilities. It’s a form of taking care of the relationships built at school, of treating students as a crucial part of the environment, in which they can also affect change and impact the school. We encourage cooperation, the ability to work in groups, building resilience and courage to take up new challenges, as well as an openness and empathy towards others.

This time, the meeting concentrated around wellbeing in general: the wellbeing of students, teachers, principals - the entire school environment. Together we thought of ways to create a space of comfort and safety, especially in these tough pandemic days of social distancing and e-learning. 

We were happy to invite Oktawia Gorzeńska to join us - a great expert on innovation, change, leadership and digitization in education. Oktawia is also a graduate of the Leadership Academy for Poland, a long-time school principal, creator of the ‘cloud school’ and the Flagship Microsoft School. The discussion with Oktawia was coordinated by Agata Łuczyńska, the President of the School with Class Foundation.

The experts concluded that the topic of wellbeing is tricky among Polish schools since the word itself has little specific meaning. We perceive it as a sense of balance, safety, the possibility of growth, both for individuals and society. At school, it applies to students, teachers, principals and the entire staff and is built on the quality of educational process and a professional culture based on trust, cooperation and feedback. A student, who was treated as an individual at school, who was given agency, the possibility to decide for oneself and make mistakes, and received support when he needed it - will carry this experience into his adult life and will be a more engaged worker and citizen. He will be more likely to cooperate and simply do good. 

During the second part of the meeting, participants were invited to a broader discussion about methods of taking care of the students and staff as well as taking care of their own wellbeing during the pandemic. We shared positive experiences and tools which proved effective in different schools. We also looked for solutions to challenges which schools currently face on the eve of preparation for the upcoming school year and talked about our concerns regarding the future. The meeting strengthened our feeling that sharing experiences and thoughts and substantial dialogue are a crucial part of consciously taking care of our wellbeing, together. 

The meeting was organized in cooperation with the School with Class Foundation, who is our partner in the search for the ‘social component’ in schools since the very beginning of the project. Małgorzata Chmielecka, our program manager, was a fantastic moderator of the meeting. We hope to see you all soon!