Characteristics of the school
We are a state school in Sokolov located in the Western part of the Czech Republic. We are proud to announce that in 2019 we are going to be celebrating our 125th anniversary. For more than 35 years the school has run extensive language classes providing students with more language learning. The school capacity is 600 pupils and we currently have 584. We are also the only school which specialises in teaching languages in the Sokolov region, providing education in line with the educational programme ‘’Schools open to languages and Primary/Secondary education’’.
In the language classes, where students have extra language lessons and opportunities, we offer English, German, and Russian; with an initial focus on English. Students initially start learning English from the grade 1 and from grade 3 they continue to study English more intensively. By grade 6 they begin to study German and subsequently by grade 8 they begin to study Russian. To qualify for the (extensive) language classes at our school, 2nd grade pupils from the whole the Sokolov region must undergo an entry exam. Thus, students are accepted to the language classes on the basis of entrance exam results. In addition to providing students with extensive language learning, the school also provides quality education and preparation for further education.
Moreover, school graduates are very well prepared for further education and are easily accepted to study at all types of secondary schools. In the last 10 years, the school implemented a final graduation project to help prepare students for writing, researching, and ultimately presenting and defending particular topics. This project closes the stage of compulsory school attendance and provides experience which greatly assists with students’ further education, especially with writing seminar work and ultimately their final papers at high schools. In addition, as this is a specialized language school, some of the 9th grade pupils write and defend their papers in English.
One of the school strengths is a high-quality teaching staff composed of people who are happy to learn new things, improve their teaching methods and skillset, whilst responding to current developments in all areas. The school offers a wide range of afterschool activities (clubs) for the pupils not just languages but also research (science), IT, and sport. Our club “Nenuda” (“Not bored”) is currently offering over 20 different after school activities/clubs this school year.
The school implements a number of collaborative projects. One of the most important projects since 2013 is the project Čteme společně (“ We read together”). This is a project in which primary and the Junior High students meet regularly with older students who act as tutors for the younger pupils. During these meetings, the students assist their younger peers with reading, solving tasks and engaging in discussion. The great benefit of the project, in addition to the active collaborative work of all children involved, is its effect on the prevention of bullying; as younger pupils often make friends and confidants among older pupils. We also plan to extend the project to other educational areas such as mathematics and natural sciences.
In addition, our school is very successful in the area of primary prevention and has a minimal preventive plan set up at school. The framework for this program (since 2013) is as follows: adaptation programs (grade 6); programs for the prevention of bullying (grade 7); programs for the prevention of addictions (grade 8). These have been implemented in cooperation with the civic association Odyssea Praha. It is important to note that courses have had excellent results and the outputs have been processed further.
The school also offers above standard career advice services. For 10 years, our pupils have been tested in application COMDI, the most comprehensive test in career guidance. At present, we are the only school in the Sokolov District to provide this testing continuously. In addition to which, every year the school principal organizes meetings with representatives of secondary/high schools for the 8 and 9 grade pupils and their parents. We invite our former pupils to talk about their studying at all types of secondary schools, and implement Parental Days whereby pupils’ parents present and introduce interesting professions.
Thus, guiding our students in the right direction is one of our main priorities. In addition, for those who wish to push themselves even further, there are opportunities for these students to become members of a pupils' parliament - a governing body of students who positively and actively work in the school.
The school actively cooperates with students and parents outside of school subjects in meetings and partnerships. As part of a parent cooperation, we offer “parental cafes” - regular meetings in cooperation with a school psychologist, where also professionals from areas related to education are invited. We have also run projects such as, “Sit down, please” where pupils, parents, teachers and other town organizations contributed to the creation and painting of colourful individualised benches portraying positive messages. These benches were placed around Sokolov and can be found in the Old Town square and the city park. The project has been met with positive feedback from both Sokolov citizens and tourists visiting the town during the summer season.
Other projects include cultural learning and exposure to English from international speakers of the language. For the last 4 years we have been carrying out the Project EDISON BASIC (organized by the AIESEC agency). Students/trainees from different countries around the world who though presentations about their countries to our students. They meet the students, present and talk to them about their traditions, customs, culture and their sights and monuments. The project helps our pupils to improve their English, whilst educating them first hand on cultural differences and similarities. We are also actively searching for partners for other international projects.
As previously highlighted, we have excellent teachers, and very skilled and motivated children, with the desire to work hard, to learn and improve. However, what we do not have is enough technology to meet the digital literacy demands of our digital native students. There is one computer room with 30 computers which are all over nine years old for the entire school. Some teachers have laptops, and some work on desktop computers in their offices. As we would like to become an accredited ECDL center (the first in Sokolov district) by 2019, we would very much welcome and appreciate new computer equipment. Also, we believe that the purchase and implementation of tablets would make teaching in school subjects more effective. Thus, we aim to move towards digital literacy to provide our students and staff with future learning.
Mgr. Petra Šišková, director of the school.