FAQ and answers
During our meetings with parents we answer numerous questions. Many of them are raised at almost every meeting, therefore below we present a set of answers to the most frequently asked questions. If you don’t find an answer to your question, please contact us by phone or by e-mail. We will be happy to meet you and give you the answers.
A minimum period of candidacy is 2 years, and so it was in our case. Meanwhile, our teachers took part in numerous training organised by IBO, including ones organised abroad.
One of the necessary parts of our application was to document that we have budget and a business plan that will ensure continuity of the school’s functioning, also in terms of the aforementioned teachers’ trainings.
Each candidate school has their own supervisor, a person who supports them in the period of extensive work. Our supervisor is a person who currently works in a primary school at the Canary Islands, and used to work at a primary school in Warsaw before. She knows Polish reality, and is an experienced coordinator of the programme, too. She is in constant contact with Małgorzata Arczewska, our school PYP coordinator.
One of the most important elements of the evaluation of new schools are supervisory visits, so we have already had the opportunity to meet our coordinator in person.
Having made sure that a school operates in a way recommended by PYP experts, IBO will award us a status of IB world school. The logo of the organization will be displayed on our website, and the name of our school will be officially listed among thousands of such institutions all over the world.
What guarantees our success are:
- our determination: from the beginning our school was set up on the basis of IB ideas, and receiving the certification is our priority, ensuring the highest quality of education
- clear procedures of IBO: the organisation supports, trains and supervises Open Future team so that we achieve the assumed goal, and we learn from them and follow their recommendations
- parents’ support: they are aware of what we aim at, and accept our actions; our actions aiming towards obtaining the certification are included in the learning agreement we sign with parents
We are happy to announce that on the 31st of October we have submitted official application for IB authorisation and we are awaiting a confirmation of the date of their supervisory visit.
Of course, at the initial stages of their education, students can answer in Polish or in their native language even during the English part, yet our experience proves that they start to try to communicate in English relatively quickly. In the beginning they use single words, and in the course of time they start to formulate whole sentences, too. Teacher’s consistence is important here: even if a child asks the teacher a question in Polish, the teacher will give the answer in English if it happens during the English part.
In a longer perspective, middle school students should fully understand the teacher, speak English fluently and write skilfully in that language, too.
The walls and corkboards at school are decorated with students’ works and with visual aids supporting natural acquisition of the language. The support of volunteers and assistants from all over the world makes the students aware of the purpose of using English as a means of intercultural communication.
What distinguishes us, though, is the teaching methodology. Instead of memorising bare facts, we rather put emphasis on raising students’ curiosity and motivating them to independent discovery of knowledge. We work with the use of project-based learning.
A student can change school to a state one at any point, and the information we have from other IB-certified schools proves that their educational results are above average.
It may take your child some time to adjust to new teaching methods, but children are flexible in this respect.
An important thing is that frim the very beginning of IBO education, emphasis is put not only on progress, but also on shaping students’ attitude. A student has to follow the rules, be kind, accept diversity and intercultural differences. This requires us to work on social skills, too. At Open Future, children work in groups a lot, and the people in the groups will change so that they learn to function in a changing environment and to adapt to new circumstances quickly. IB students can solve conflicts quickly, and build empathetic relationships with peers. You will see how quickly your child will initiate games and conversations with other children whom he or she will meet for the first time, e.g. during a family visit at your colleagues’ house. This sensitivity towards others and their needs, respect towards different opinions, accompanied by the ability to argument and convince people to your opinion will help children easily adapt to new social circumstances.
One of the features of a good leader is the ability to adapt quickly, and forming a leadership personality is one of the main goals of IBO educational philosophy.
All Open Future teachers take part in regular trainings organised by International Baccalaureate Organisation. These training are conducted by world-renowned IBO experts, and organised both locally and internationally: last year’s one was organised in Lisbon.
One training costs a few thousand PLN, and the cost is fully covered by the school. We invest a lot in our staff, because we believe that a qualified and motivated teacher is an answer to the needs of modern education.
The trainings are valued by the teachers from other Polish schools who have been certified by IB, as they give the unique opportunity to learn the methodology from world-renowned experts, to get to know teachers from other countries and to exchange ideas, which can be followed by further consultations. The words that ATUT and Monnet schools used the most often to describe the aforementioned trainings were: inspirational and motivational.
Working in a great team
In an IB school, a lot of time is devoted to planning the work together with other pedagogical staff members. Teacher’s task is to present their goals to the other teachers, as well as to say what classes he or she is going to conduct and in what way he or she is going to organise them. The meeting has to be conducted in a creative atmosphere where each teacher can count on his or her work mates’ support in bringing up interesting lesson ideas. It is important not to fall into routine, so that each lesson brings positive emotions to the teacher, and, in consequence, to the students, too. After a project finishes, the pedagogical staff meet again in order to evaluate what had been done, what went according to the plan, and what could have been done better Such meetings are a source of great motivation to the teacher, when he or she sees they are not alone in their problems, and that they can count on each other. On the other hand, reports from such meetings are sent to IBO and have influence on the evaluation of school’s work, which is an additional motivation for teachers to treat the planning and summary stages seriously. It can be said that this brings up the fire in them.
The wages we offer, higher than average wages in this occupational group, have to ensure decent life to our teachers, so that they can fully devote themselves to working at Open Future, without the necessity to take up some additional, afternoon work. After their work, which lasts no longer than 8 hours per day, our teachers can rest and devote their time to their family and passions. They have to feel appreciated, also financially, which will give them the sense of value of their work. This will give them fire to work. Home office and remote work possibilities on certain days give teachers autonomy in terms of planning their work and the realisation of their tasks.
A teacher has to be a role model for students, in every dimension, therefore it is beneficial for the school to provide decent salary to its employees. Developing teachers’ competences, creativity and engagement have influence on the wages of these people, who are crucial to teaching results.
All the aforementioned actions aim at educating elite teaching staff who will provide education on the highest level, within IBO philosophy, and who will be able to light the fire of creativity in students.
In 2015 we started a middle school which is going to follow IB teaching philosophy: Middle Years Progamme (MYP). Our coordinator for this programme is Magdalena Godyń. Middle school classrooms are located on the first floor of the building.
In 2018 we are planning to open High School which will finish with International Maturity Exam. This will be a summary of our efforts to provide continuous education within IB-certified programmes.
Within the next few years, we are going to build our own, spacious building which will provide space for all grades. The building will have its own kitchen, as well as full-sized gyms and a pitch. The planned location is close to the current one so that it is convenient in terms of transport both for our students from the neighbourhood, and for those coming from more remote parts of the city.
In the future we are going to develop a network of Open Future schools in other locations in Kraków, and, in further perspective, also in other cities in order to provide high-level education for children in the whole country. We also hope that we will be able to fund scholarships for children from abroad so that our students can build relationships that they will benefit from in the future.
That is why Polish universities will accept Open Future alumni with no obstacles. What is important, though, is that International Baccalaureate is respected at majority of universities worldwide, too. Therefore, an alumni can choose whether he or she wants to study at the Jagiellonian University, the University of Warsaw, in New York or in London. It is difficult to predict where these young people will want to continue their education in 12 years’ time. It’s important that opportunities will be open for them.
Teachers need to fulfil the requirements stated by the National Ministry of Education. Our additional requirement is fluent command of English.
Middle school and high school
Our middle school hires subject teachers who fulfil the requirements of National Ministry of Education and who have fluent command of English. From the beginning of the education at middle school, a part of classes is conducted in English.
Support in the recruitment process
Our recruitment process consists of a few levels. At each level, the HR team consists of experienced recruiters, as well as of a psychologist, a pedagogue and an English linguist who are there to help choose the right candidate and to make sure the recruited person possesses certain traits that are necessary for teacher who will successfully manage to take up teaching within a modern educational system of IBO.
Teaching methodology applied at Open Future differs from the methodology f traditional schools, that is why it is important to choose teachers who want to face such a challenge and who will face it successfully.
Number of students in a class
The classes consist of not more than 18 students. This number is stated in education agreements so accepting a new student is possible only if there are free places in a certain class.
We offer free trial days for students who are transferred to Open Future. These are five days during which the child has the chance to meet his or her possible classmates and the class teacher, while the teacher can observe students’ academic and social skills, the parents, in turn, can have a closer look at how the school is organised and what our methodology is like. After the trial days, the school and parents make a mutual decision whether to continue cooperation or not.
English and Polish
Our aim is to educate students in a way that will enable them to speak Polish and English fluently by the end of their primary school education. Yet, it is possible to join Open Future at any level of education. Even if your child has not learned in this way before, he or she will catch up after a few months.
Students being transferred from other schools whose level of English is below the level of their classmates from Open Future are obliged to take part in compulsory compensation classes in English. The same concerns students who have difficulties with Polish: compensation classes are compulsory to them, too.
Acceptance of the group
Children at Open Future learn to cooperate with various people from the very beginning of their education. One of IB learner attributes is ‘open-minded’. Our teachers work on developing this trait in every student. Our experience shows that newcomers are welcomed in the group with warmth and curiosity. Teachers make sure each student feels well and adapts quickly.
Classes start at different times, so students are welcome to come to the playroom in the morning. After classes, they can also spend time in the playroom or tke part in various extra activities offered by Krakowska Fabryka Talentów Non-Public Community Center.