Escola Secundária Manuel de Arriaga, Horta, Azores

Escola Secundária Manuel de Arriaga was founded in 1854 and it is the only low secondary /secondary school on Faial island.
Manuel de Arriaga School organises its activities and projects according to the National curricula, but the Azorean Regional Government has implemented since 2015 the programme ProSucesso (i.e. Plan for Promoting School Success) which highlights as its ultimate goal the reduction in the rate of early school leaving as well as the improvement in the students’ success in every school level, all in agreement with the strategic framework for European cooperation in Education and Training (“ET 2020”). Setting the three strategic axes: focus on the students’ learning success, promotion of the staff’s professional improvement and straightening the connection between the school and social partners, we conceive these international exchange programmes as an element of unifying all these goals and also as an effective way of improving our teenagers’ life expectations. Our mission is also to give them the chance of moving away from their parochialism, out of their comfort zone and getting in touch with other cultures and develop their spirit of Europe and world belonging.
Manuel de Arriaga School develops extracurricular activities which involve a considerable number of students.
Therefore, through the curricula adjustments and the diverse projects and clubs, the school aims to develop and improve pupils’ competences which may not be completely targeted during curricular sessions, providing them with tools which certainly prepare them to face real world challenges. Within the subject offered by the school, we can find the Reading Education Project which aims to develop student’s reading skills and habits through the reading of different types of texts, making them aware of the direct impact their reading skills may have in their life/professional success. The students also have the chance of improving their literature and performing skills with our drama classes and the drama group which has been active for 30 years and has participated in many theatre regional and national events.
Our school is located in Horta city, a small community in Faial island. The distance from mainland Portugal as well as the high flight costs hinder the Azorean young people to have the same access to travelling and getting to know other cultures as the other Portuguese teenagers do. Under the motto ‘More than a dot in the middle of the Atlantic’, our school aims to enhance the knowledge regarding the significant worldwide historical role our island played in the past (our port was a mandatory stop in the transatlantic flight connections between Europe and America in the middle of the 20th century and an important basis for the now extinguished telegraphic communications between the two continents, making Horta one of the most cosmopolitan Portuguese cities).
The school building is rather recent, dating from 2007, drawing in Horta’s architecture one of the most modern schools in the country. The school facilities provide the pupils with the chance of profiting from the excellence in teaching from ICT, history, sciences, languages and sports. The school building offers: a museum, a school theatre (for 200 people), study room / recreation rooms; yards, computer rooms, science labs, sports facilities (outdoor and indoor sports fields, swimming pool, fighting room, gym and a sports hall).
Beyond that we also believe that we must prepare our pupils to the world, due to the growing desire of mobility and need of flexibility. In this way, we have implemented for five years the programme ‘Entrepreneurship: the key to success’ which through the methodology of ‘learning by doing’ makes young people aware of their own entrepreneur skills and provide them with tools they might use to create their business or be intra entrepreneurs.
The implementation of an Erasmus+ project in our school would be the consolidation of all the purposes behind the organisation of the school year, because the school may not fulfil its role as an educational institution, without offering its pupils the chance of stepping beyond the walls of their daily/school life and getting in touch with other teenagers coming from diverse countries, with their specific life experiences and cultures. Literature will certainly be the unifying link through which every partner country may be acquainted to each other’s culture and the consequent exchange of knowledge will definitely bring the improvement in every students’ skills, preventing them from leaving school and start cherishing their own educational path.