A school is made up of the people who work and learn in it every day. Regardless of how it will change, and whether the changes will happen because of you or due to external factors, it is the people who are most important. This is why it is important to analyze the needs of all the different members of the school community as well as plan and implement solutions which will help improve the school’s operation together. School with Class 2.0 will help you do this.
The School with Class program has operated without interruption since 2002. Its concept is based on the Design thinking method (DT) which we borrowed from business and adapted to needs of the world of education. DT helps design innovative solutions based on expectations and real needs.
To schools which join the program, we offer support in going through the demanding and difficult process of change- from creating and interdisciplinary team, through analyzing the needs and expectations of the school community, to designing new solutions and perfecting them. We value not only the final result of the year’s work, but every stage of the process the school has implemented creatively, innovatively and consciously.
Each new iteration of School with Class 2.0 has its motto. It is our way of emphasizing the things which are particularly important to us in our work with schools. In past years we have focused on the strength that cooperation offers or the benefits of using ICT in the everyday work of the school. Last year we chose Take the school in your hands as our motto. We watched with great satisfaction as it proved true at each stage of the process, not only among the teachers but also among the students. This is why we decided that this year we would make just a small update and work with the motto Take the school in your hands! Anew! It continues to serve as encouragement for all members of the school community to participate in change. We would like to emphasize, however, that the new school year and the new iteration of the program mean a new opening, new challenges, working in new teams and with a new energy. We believe that each participant will add their own interpretation for what these words mean to them. Not only the teachers but also the students. It is important to us that you include the children and young people at every stage. Give them a voice and share the responsibility for the school.
WHAT DOES THE WORK LOOK LIKE IN THE PROGRAM?
Change is best planned and implemented as a team. This is why in School with Class 2.0 you create a Team of at least four people. It should include the principal, a coordinator (selected from among the teachers) and at least two teachers or a teacher and a member of the staff. We also encourage you to invite students to join the Team.
We divided the work into four stages. The Team has specific tasks to complete as part of each stage. The Coordinator supervises the work on each task.
STAGE I: The Team’s first task is to inform the school community about the participation in the School with Class 2.0 program. It is a great opportunity to find allies in the school who will support you in planning and implementing the changes. It is also a good time to consult the community on the direction of this year’s changes. Next, you choose an area of change from the 10 suggestions we present:
- Equal Opportunities
- Passion for Learning
- Useful Knowledge
- Evaluation and Appreciation
- Security and Trust
- Good Relationships
The next step concerns analyzing within the Team the resources the school possesses and what it is lacking– you consider the school’s resources in regard to the chosen area. You consider the strengths and weaknesses of the school, the chances of implementing the change, and external limitations.
At the end of the first stage, you design a study for identifying needs which will help you discover what are the expectations and needs of the members of the school community in regard to the chosen area. Your Team’s task is to plan how and from whom you will collect this information.
STAGE II: You conduct the diagnosis of needs you designed and analyze its results. Based on the conclusions you draw from the diagnosis and on the analysis of resources, you define a specific goal for your school.
STAGE III: This is the time to come up with a plan for the upcoming year. As in a true brainstorm, there might be many ideas. You choose maximum five ideas, based on the criteria we prepared for you: student participation in implementing the proposed change, significant involvement from the school community, introducing new solutions, introducing lasting (for many years) change in the school.
The next step involves assigning expected results to the planned actions. It is important that they be an answer to the school’s chosen goal.
The next task is designing a work schedule. Remember to work as a team and involve as many people as possible in implementing the changes, including students and other members of the school community.
STAGE IV: Time to act! Now you implement your ideas and introduce the planned change into the life of the school. You task also includes making sure that what you are doing is bringing the expected results, is appreciated by the recipients, is implemented well and thus leading to the fulfilment of the school’s goal. Regular monitoring is the starting point for modifying and improving the implemented solutions.
The final step is analyzing the entire process of change, checking whether our goals have been met and collecting the conclusions drawn from the year’s work.
The program is supported by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation.