Considering the areas relevant for this project, we can say, in the first place, that we have a highly motivated group of teachers, for whom collaboration and teamwork are the natural way of being in this profession.
Defending human values is at the top of our priorities and we all share this common principle: “no one is left behind”. We often engage in volunteering actions and we also promote initiatives that aim at developing a critical set of values that every human being should nurture.
Assuming the need for young citizens to be “values literate”, our teachers do everything to prepare students well and provide informed guidance that creates the foundations for success now and in the times to come. Choose any given day, and you will find our school abuzz with teachers and students engaged in a variety of curricular or extra-curricular activities which are targeted at values literacy.
Here we have some examples of values-themed school activities and projects:
“First Day of School Reception” (older students and teachers welcome younger students and do everything to make them feel they belong to the same team; this has proven to foster long-term friendship bonds; the same happens with new teachers that are warmly welcome at school, an experience that most seem never to forget);
“Generation Orchestra” (a social project which started in Venezuela and whose aim is to provide children from unfavourable conditions around Lisbon region with an extensive and comprehensive educational programme that will help their social integration. We achieve these goals through musical education, especially orchestra playing, since working together for long periods during the week, makes them know each other, respect each other and work with each other towards a common goal, the final public presentation. Therefore we also help them to gradually build their personalities in order to prepare them to be able to choose in the future a profession away from marginality, crime and drugs);
“NIC (Núcleo de Intervenção Comportamental = Behaviour Intervention Team) and School Counsellors” (teachers provide critical support for students, as far as personal and social competencies and school work planning/guidance are concerned);
“Eco-Escolas” (under the eco-friendly school umbrella, we develop a variety of initiatives as Global Action Days, Litter less Campaigns, Healthy and Sustainable Eating Habits, Recycling, Clean-Up Days,…);
“Celebrating Festive Days/Seasons” (Halloween, Christmas, Carnival, Easter, El Día de Reyes, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, La Chandeleur, 25 de Abril, Dia de S. Martinho… these and more are all an important part of our school’s culture in which we involve as many students, school staff, parents and community partners as possible; as part of a “rite of passage”, 9th graders have a special celebration before leaving to secondary school; all this not only helps create a positive and dynamic vision of school but also promotes fundamental values, such as dedication, gratitude, friendship, tolerance, cooperation and happiness).
Most of these activities imply intense preparation, lots of research and the production of educational resources / materials. Thanks to a highly motivated and very skillful teaching staff, we always get very positive responses from students and this, in turn, helps improving our school outcomes. Most of our teachers have an engaging personality and teaching style. They gather on a regular basis to define clear objectives for lessons or activities and do all it takes to meet those specific objectives. They have good classroom management skills that ensure an overall sense of respect.
As far as communication with parents is concerned, form teachers make themselves available for phone calls, meetings and e-mails, maintaining an open communication with parents on subjects like results, discipline, or other school issues. There is an on-going process of teacher-training/development initiatives designed to enhance teachers’ pedagogical ability(workshops; conferences; training courses; foreign teacher comission visits…) and our school pioneers in several education projects that are being experienced in Portugal (PPIP; Edulabs; Future Classroom Labs).