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Start date: Jul 20, 2016, End date: Jul 19, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Our school has now reached fifteen years of age. Having managed during that time to answer the basic existential questions, the question that arises next is: What now?We have re-evaluated our conception and attitudes. We have been thinking about what direction to take next, relying on the experience gained during those earlier years. We have also looked at how the needs of children have changed over the past 20-30 years. We have not neglected questions about the requirements of the job market, and have taken into account the need to approximate European parameters. We have come to the conclusion that, even though (because of the huge interest in our school) we are in a position to choose elite students – children without problems in any areas, perhaps from well-situated families – it would be best for our school that we choose students with a wide range of needs, skills, and innate abilities. We believe the world is not black and white, and has problems that we need to deal with, without closing our eyes to them. That's why we consciously accept to our school children of all intellectual levels – from excellent students to those with special needs in areas of behaviour and learning. We even have a special class in which students with borderline intellectual abilities are integrated into the school. These special needs, and the need for quality inclusion and integration, have led us to focus on the personal career growth of teachers in this area. In each class, we have several special needs children that require proper integration into the class community. We bear in mind that one day they will be adults and will want to find employment, which often poses a big problem for them. And so, in their education, we want to focus on their strong points, so that they can use their natural qualities to the maximum potential. In order to do this effectively, we ourselves need professional development in areas of special pedagogy, methodology, psychology, and the arts, which are tried and tested therapeutic tools in integration.In parallel with this, we are working on building a high-quality school management that will support our pedagogical team. Apart from taking care of the daily needs of operating the school, it is responsible for developmental activities – projects, communicating with partner schools and associations, PR, and communicating with the Ministry of Education, where there are live discussions going on about changes in our educational system. For us it is vitally important to have on board people who support the non-pedagogical side of the school's operation. That's why we make an effort to send our managers for further education, in order that they become familiar with other environments and gain resources to further develop our school. On this occasion we are sending 7 teachers for job shadowing to various Waldorf schools and institutions that integrate people with disabilities. We are sending a further 9 teachers to courses focused on integration and non-traditional forms of teaching. We are also sending 2 managers to self-development courses in the area of school environment management.Expected outcome: We have high expectations, especially from the job shadowing, where we anticipate that the environment and thinking of host organizations, being similar to our own, will have a strong inspirational influence on the everyday work of our teachers. The courses will benefit us by bringing newly acquired skills. The benefits of this project will be an improvement in the quality of our employees, and the creating of conditions for high-quality inclusive teaching focused on the individuality of each student and the fulfilling of his or her potential. In the area of management, we aim to improve our communication with the Ministry of Education and with other partners.The resulting suggestions will be incorporated into the school's development plan and the European Development Plan. For our employees this will mean an increase in their professional abilities, self-confidence, contacts, and qualifications as represented by European certificates and tools.This project represents one step towards raising the level of education we offer, creating cooperation with other schools and associations, and gaining the knowledge needed for our school's internationalization.
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