47 new schools joined Schools For All project
On 29-31 October and 5-7 November 2021, the first two Academies for the school year 2021-2022 of the project Schools For All took place in Athens, welcoming a total of 25 new schools to its network!
The three-day workshops of the ‘Schools For All’ Academies, addressed to schools of secondary education with reception classes, is based on experiential and participatory activities aiming at engagement, empowerment, collaboration between school representatives and trainers, as well as at exploring the individual needs of each school. The very way of learning and collaboration is both an objective and a challenge, as schools are invited to work in a similar way during the implementation of the action plans they will design.
The training programme includes, among other things, a presentation of the project’s operational framework, introduction to the whole school approach and focuses greatly on the theoretical and practical design of action plans by and for each school. Every school is represented by a team of three: a school director, a teacher and a parent, setting the basis for the whole school approach.
The Academies are the first step of meeting and working with representatives of each school’s team on the project. This is a particularly important stage before the trainers start training and mentoring visits in the schools which they will support throughout the school year. Through dialogue and collaboration during the Academies, common concerns, similar or different operating conditions of the participating schools emerge, providing the ideal context for the creation of a dynamic sustainable network of schools that will continue to exist after the end of the school year.
Through experiential activities in the courtyard, discussions, presentations and group work aimed at developing an action plan, participants had the opportunity to reflect on the needs of their school and their role in it, taking an active part in the design of the action plan.
“The three-day academy was a very good experience. The knowledge came gradually, to the extent that we could assimilate it, it was experiential and prepared us to implement the project ourselves. The bottom line is that it concerns the whole school, which needs to be mobilized towards the inclusion of refugees” commented Angeliki Ilia, headmistress of the 2nd High School “Theodoros Angelopoulos”, at the end of the Academy.
“The most important thing I learned is that we take small steps at a time and to not expect that we will be able to solve a problem once and for all. We should be optimistic and fight step by step to achieve our goals even though we face frustrations” pointed out Georgia Pantidou, headmistress of the 3rd Vocational Lyceum of Lamia.
The Academies provide the theoretical and practical framework as well as the sense of belonging in a broader school network, which is an empowering tool. Dimitra Hatzinikolaou, teacher at the Gymnasium of Drosia explained “We learnt how we as teachers can empower ourselves in our daily practice and psychologically so that we can cope when the difficulties are great and we feel powerless. I learned how I can address some of these challenges in collaboration with my colleagues.”
The active participation of parents throughout the process and their subsequent involvement in the design of action plans is a necessary condition for linking the school to the family and the community and ultimately for achieving a democratic, inclusive school. “I am glad that there is a group of people who want to improve the current situation. There are people who are trying for a better future for refugees, who want to help, and this should be more obvious to us parents” said Silvia Visomirska, parent of a student of the 41st High School of Athens. “The school is a living organism and it is constantly changing for the better and for the worse. When we all have open minds and open horizons things will change for the better,” said Aristidis Giannarelis, a parent at the 1st High School of Kaisariani.
“We were given the methodology and inspiration!” said Eleni Papageorgiou, teacher at the 3rd High School of Chalkida, and this is exactly the goal and value of the Academies.
The two 3-day-academies in Thessaloniki took place on 19, 20 & 21 and 26, 27 & 28 November 2021. 22 high schools from Kavala, Ioannina, Kozani, Igoumenitsa, Igoumenitsa, Drama, Thessaloniki, Kilkis, Larissa, Mytilene, Veroia, Samos and Katerini successfully participated in these two Academies and Schooles For All welcomed them officially as active members of its school network for the school year 2021-2022.
The 47 in total new schools joined the ‘Schools for All’ school network and started out dynamically, participating actively in the three-day trainings through their representatives. The trainers soon will start mentoring visits and trainings at the schools, so that each school can create a tailor-made action plan for an inclusive environment for refugee students. Each action plan will be implemented throughout the school year, during which schools, trainers and the whole Schools For All team will be in close cooperation.
We are excited and ready to support a creative school year for the new schools in our network for an inclusive, democratic school!
The project “Schools For All” is being implemented under the “Local Development and Poverty Reduction” programme in Greece, by the European Wergeland Centre (EWC), under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and with the support of the Institute of Educational Policy (IEP). The “Local Development and Poverty Reduction” programme in Greece, financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, was awarded a total budget of 6,5 million euros as part of the EEA Grants 2014 – 2021. The program aspires to contribute to enhancement of social cohesion and reduction of economic and social disparities. The Fund Operator for the “Local Development and Poverty Reduction” programme in Greece is SOL Consulting S.A in partnership with Human Rights 360. More information: https://www.asylumandmigration-eeagrants.gr