Two days filled with interesting meetings, inspiring stories and educational workshops and debates- is how you could summarize the 9th National School with Class Festival. During the last days of May, we met in Warsaw with students and teachers from all over Poland, to celebrate and recap another year of work with the Foundation’s programs. Read our report from this joyful event!

This year, close to 130 of our programs’ participants took over the Targowa Creativity Centre in Warsaw for two days, on the 27th and 28th of May. We began with an opening ceremony and a word of welcome from Agata Łuczyńska, the Foundation’s President. This was also the moment to get to know the participants- 21 student-teacher teams from the School with Class 2.0, Solidarity. Pass it on! (Let’s play the Fraternity Card!) and School with Design programs.

After the opening ceremony, teams from all over Poland presented the results of the work they did during this school year. They did this from colorful booths, in two rounds, thanks to which the participants from different schools could hear about each other’s experiences and achievements, look at colorful posters documenting their work as well as take part in the activities prepared by each team. School with Class 2.0 participants talked about the changes they implemented in response to the needs they diagnosed in various areas of the school’s life. At the Solidarity. Pass it on! (Let’s play the Fraternity Card!) booths we could learn about how they worked with images and get some writing tips, and then, with the support of the students, write our own postcard with a message of solidarity. Teachers and students from the Warsaw School with Design program talked about other changes they made to their educational spaces, why they made them, and how it influenced their relationships and the way they feel at school.

At the end of the first day, we held evaluation workshops during which we discussed what took place in each of the programs during the past school year. Among students and teachers who participated in a particular program, we reflected on what was most important to them, what was challenging, and what they could improve when they undertake future initiatives.

The second day of the Festival was a day of debates and workshops, during which we drew upon the experiences and materials of the Foundation’s other programs. We started with the Decoder’s Event– a debate concerning the European Union. It took place as part of the international R-EU-Connected program. Bartłomiej Balcerzyk, the Head of the Information and Social Communication Department of the European Commission Representation Office in Poland and Alicja Pacewicz, the Head of the School with Class Foundation Council. Experts answered students’ questions and confirmed facts or debunked myths concerning the EU. The debate included tasks and voting which engaged the students and teachers. To finish with, after filling out the lyrics of An Ode to Joy– which was one of the tasks- we sand the European Union anthem together.

Later in the day, we invited participants to take part in workshops. Teachers could join workshops on safety on the Internet (Be Internet Awesome- how to conduct exciting classes on cyber security) or choose a meeting focused on helping them understand the youth of today (Pop culture in the language young people use, and how to use it in education). At the same time, students participated in two workshops. Based on materials from the Added value program and following the Design Thinking method, they designed their ideal space for relaxing in during school recesses. And during the workshop on fake news, they discovered the rules governing fake news and then created their own fakes. All this to learn about and better understand the mechanisms behind this problematic phenomenon.

The two-day festival ended with a conversation with students and teachers, to check what they liked best, what they learned and what they might like us to improve in future events. Both during the summary, and most of the Festival’s activities, it was the students who spoke up the most and bravely expressed their opinions. We are very glad about this since the Festival is foremost an opportunity for young people to gain confidence and talk about their discoveries and achievements.

Celebrating Our Programs- report from the 9th National School with Class Festival