J. Verdasca, J.L. Ramos, A. Candeias

University of Evora (PORTUGAL)
This proposal describes the "School Communities of Learning Gulbenkian XXI" project, whose main purpose is to promote the quality of student learning, reflected through the quality of their school results, and manifests itself through the acquisition of basic knowledge within the formal curriculum and reasoning abilities (analytical reasoning, practical reasoning and creativity), resilience and responsibility.

Schools that adopt this model of formal education are characterized schools because they are rooted in their communities, open to the world, oriented to the future of new generations and, through a culturally rich and diverse curriculum have as ultimate goal the development of their children and youth potential.

This model is implemented through the formal curriculum, mobilizing their actors to transform the multiple components of the education ecosystem, which implies an effort of collaborative participation in cultural transformation and modes of organization and pedagogical work of the school.
Moves within a framework oriented to educational attainment and mobilizes organizational, and instructional processes as well as technology. The main focus is the unique and full potential of each student, a compromise between the basic pillars of knowledge and the fundamental pillars of citizenship in order to improve a culture of well-being.

This project will be implemented in two basic schools from Portuguese Educational System, namely the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade, and it starts with cohorts of students of the 3rd grade. The pilot program in academic year 2014-2015 and it expires in July 2018, involving four classes, in two groups of schools.

The range of responsibilities required progressively to school, due to the changes, either in the sphere of family either in the society, making it so extensive and expanded, on their social role, is requiring new actions from the school in order to readjust and to balance its educational and social role, without losing its main raison d'être as an educational institution and the locus of learning and equity.

In terms of curricular organization, this project is based on an open curriculum model fulfilling, either the prescriptions of the national curriculum, recently reaffirmed in the Law n. º 91/2013 and, and, on the other hand, the specific indications emerging from the needs of a local curriculum, designed and approved by the local school community within the margins of the curricular autonomy.

This is a challenge that requires a continuous research of strategies to promote the integral development of the students and the emergence of standards of excellence in the acquisition of knowledge and skills development, requiring the redefinition of the teacher functions, either within the mediation processes and guidance of the learner, either in tutorial actions.

Within this challenge of continuity and transition to the future, the pressure for change is strongly skewed toward the role of teachers, the leadership of educational support services, the technology and the spatial solutions for school environments grounded in methods of learning based on research, creative problem solving and community oriented learning processes for students’ culture of wellness.