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Warsaw Centre for Socio-Educational Innovation and Training

Who are we?

Warsaw Centre for Socio-Educational Innovation and Training (WCIES) is a local government-operated teacher development facility, an institution providing knowledge and education, whose work is perfectly reflected by the motto “Warsaw – the City of Education”.

The Centre was established on 10 July 2008 by a resolution of the Warsaw City Council, upon the initiative of the Education Section of the Warsaw Municipal Office, and it started its operations on 1 September 2008. WCIES works in close partnership with the Education Section, its educational activities being supervised by the Chief Education Officer for the Mazovia Province. The Centre is headquartered at ul. Stara 4 in Warsaw.

Our goals

The key purposes of the Centre are to support the Warsaw education community and improve the quality of services provided by Warsaw schools and educational facilities. These objectives are being attained through:

• performing tasks set out in the educational policy of the City of Warsaw,

• organising and providing teaching counselling and educational supervision over the counsellors,

• supporting teachers and headmasters in their professional development and in performing various roles in the educational system;

• introducing systemic educational solutions (projects, training courses, conferences, seminars);

• promoting social and educational innovation;

• developing a training offer and organising various forms of skill-sharing;

• initiating various forms of work in schools and educational facilities;

• developing, propagating and collecting educational information for teachers;

• initiating and fostering international collaboration in education;

• advocating devolution of the authority in education in Warsaw to community stakeholders by enhancing parents’ and students’ impact on the functioning of the school;

• providing individual teacher consultancy.

Our target groups

WCIES works for the whole Warsaw educational community, in particular addressing the needs of the following target groups:

o education managers,

o headmasters,

o teachers,

o teaching counsellors,

o parents,

o the youth,

o leaders of non-governmental organisations,

o selected personnel of the departments of the Warsaw Municipal Office responsible for social policy.

The entire Centre's offer of professional development is free.

We offer a wide range of different forms of training designed by teachers- teaching counsellors, commissioned by the Education Section or provided as part of the Centre's statutory objectivess to meet the day-to-day needs of the Warsaw educational community. Our consultants are also available for individual meetings.

Structure and Team of WCIES

Centre's principal staff is composed of: teachers-consultants, specialists (Arkadiusz Walczak, Director of the Centre, Małgorzata Meissner, Teaching Counselling Coordinator, Beata Łuba-Królik, Education Management Cooperation Coordinator, educational project coordinators: Małgorzata Barańska, Beata Grzelak, Izabela Podsiadło-Dacewicz, Beata Walkiewicz, Izabela Witczak and Young Learners Resource Center/educational project coordinator Małgorzata Zasuńska and teachers-teaching counsellors (in the school year 2013/2014, persons).

A teaching counsellor is a teacher trained to support the professional development of other teachers in a selected field of instruction. Teaching counsellors use their knowledge, skills and experience to help teachers in making key professional decisions.

The model Warsaw teaching counsellor




The system of teaching counselling / Interdisciplinary teaching method teams

Pre-school Education Team and Early Primary School Education Team 

Psychological, Teaching and Special Education Counselling Team

* Psychological and Counselling Centres

* school guidance counsellors

* therapy

* special education: education for people with intellectual disabilities, hearing-impaired and deaf, and visually-impaired and blind people

Humanities Team

* Polish language

* Cultural intelligence

* History

* Library

* Civil education

Science and IT Team

* Mathematics

* Information technology

* Computer studies

Natural Sciences Team

* Nature studies

* Geography

* Chemistry

* Physics

* Biology Foreign

Languages Team

* Russian

* English

* German

* Spanish

* Other Romance languages

Occupational subjects, fundamentals of business and occupational counselling Team

* Occupational subjects in different specialties

* Economic and consumer education

* Occupational counselling

Interest and Ability Development, Artistic and Technical Education Team

* Music

* Visual Arts

* Technology

* Work with gifted students

* Cultural education

Physical Education Team

* Physical education

* Health education

* Extracurricular activities

Religion, Ethics and Philosophy Team

* Religion

* Philosophy

Selected strategic WCIES programmes develop pro-community and civic attitudes


WCIES offers its services for education managers and headmasters to advance professional development, a streamlined exchange of experiences, promotion of creative headmasters and innovative solutions in management and administration of educational facilities.

We promote and implement various forms of partnering and exchanging experiences, including conferences, seminars and qualification courses whose purpose is both to disseminate the latest developments in the management and administration of educational facilities and to develop personal skills and competence in, among other things, time management, decision-making, delegation of authority necessary for an efficient organisation of own work and the work of a teacher team.

The following are examples of seminars for managers:

Personal data protection in education: legal regulations and the applicability of Personal Data Protection Act in education, rules governing audits by the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data and record-keeping obligations of schools.

Labour law: the latest developments in labour and education law.

Office instructions in the educational facility: development of basic competences in drafting and using office instructions.

Care of diabetic children in the pre-school and school settings: issues related to Type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents and the principles of conduct towards them against the background of the latest treatment methods.

Educational property management: presentation of legal regulations governing the duties of a headmaster as a property manager. Centre's activities for managers are designed in particular for headmasters with limited experience in the role (junior headmasters). Thanks to such custom-tailored development solutions, junior headmasters receive assistance in performing their facility management duties and personal development. The junior headmasters participating in the Centre's projects, for instance, "Mentoring as a form of support for a young headmaster", are given an opportunity to consult individually with mentors (experienced headmasters) and to attend development meetings with professional coaches.

The Centre also holds qualification courses for education managers. The purpose of such curses is to prepare teachers who plan to take on the role of a headmaster for the efficient and creative management of an educational facility. Currently, two courses are conducted. The qualification courses develop competences in such areas as social communication, team leadership, application of education and financial law, management of school's development, self-education and planning of self-development, back-office organisation or working with the school's external stakeholders.


Academy of Form Masters

The programme "The Academy of Form Masters" provides support for educational facilities in performing their formative and preventive tasks to develop good rapport with students and strengthen the form master's authority, manage conflict and crisis situations and tackle the phenomena of serious social dysfunctions, social exclusion in peer groups and increasing violence among children and adolescents.

The strategic objective of the programme is to integrate teachers, students and parents around mutual goals and formative actions taken in a given facility, and to create a flexible and adaptable formation system.

The programme's target groups are form masters and guidance counsellors (with less than three years of work experience) in Warsaw middle schools, interested in advancing formative competence, counselling and psychology skills and the quality of their work.

The participants in the programme are expected to animate development of formative competence in their professional settings by:

• supporting headmasters in developing the professional competences of teaching staff in their schools,

• inspiring and activating teachers to develop formative competence,

• stimulating and motivating creativity,

• integrating school's community around important goals and formative initiatives.

The programme features a series of lectures on pedagogy and psychology and workshops individually supporting teachers in their formative work and care of vulnerable students.

In addition to training activities, participants in the project may use a number of individual support initiatives (consulting, mentoring, coaching) designed to review their formative competence, designate development areas and discuss real-life cases of their pupils in order to find the best way to solve the problems.

A support group for form masters, launched as part of the project, will continue to meet monthly.

EURO 2012 = EQUALITY + TOLERANCE. The School Programme of Preparations of the city of Warsaw for the UEFA EURO 2012 European Football Championships

The objective of the project is to develop the image of a responsible and consciously functioning democratic and civic school, open to others and the outside world. To achieve this, participants in the programme learn certain skills in understanding and observing human rights through the promotion of active involvement in sport activities, good communication practices and the ethics of supporting sport teams.

They key goal of the programme is to teach children and adolescents attending Warsaw schools how to responsibly participate in EURO 2012 and support sport teams in an ethical way.

In the long term, the project’s aim is to promote and support creating a network of contacts, joint initiatives and actions, as well as communication between individual stakeholders through a simultaneous, partner and team-based involvement in education against racism and xenophobia in sports.

The initiative is addressed to form masters, teachers of physical education, sport coaches in all types of about 750 Warsaw schools and educational facilities.

Between 2010 and 2012 the Project comprised a two-day training course open for all interested teachers, conferences (the launch conference was held on 4 October 2010, a summary event is planned for May 2012) and a competition for a programme to prepare the youth for EURO 2012 at schools/educational facilities . The project operates the website http:euro2012.wcies.edu.pl. Also, the programme developed an educational package with informational materials to assist the youth in their preparations for the challenges associated with UEFA EURO 2012 European Football Championships.

Education of foreigners

The programme involves the courses: Fundamentals of the teaching of Polish as a second/foreign language; Fundamentals of work in an intercultural classroom setting.

The programme's target groups are teachers of Warsaw primary and middle schools. Each school delegates two teachers: a teacher of Polish as a second language or, if there are no foreign students in the school, a teacher who may teach Polish as a second language (for example, foreign languages teachers, teachers of Polish) and a teacher of any subject in a intercultural classroom setting (classes including foreign students).

The initiative is aimed at creating a system to support foreigners’ education at Warsaw schools, supporting the educational and formative work of teachers who work in the intercultural classroom setting and teach foreigners Polish as a second language, and promoting multilingualism and multiculturalism in Warsaw schools.

Global education at WCIES

- Representatives of WCIES take part in the Zagranica Group's intersectoral process of developing global education in Poland. The process includes five intersectoral meetings on the understanding of the concept, criteria and position of global education in the formal education system, engagement of new and improvement of the activity of existing global education actors, financing.

-The Centre participates in the peer review of global education materials and activities, whose purpose is to initiate a wider partnership between organisations and institutions involved in global education and a discussion on the key aspects of the project.

The review will result in developing good practices in the following areas:

1. Educational materials

2. Actions and campaign activities for students and teachers

3. Support programmes for schools and teachers

4. Competitions for global education projects

- The Centre works with NGOs involved in global education, such as Partners Poland Foundation, Institute of Global Responsibility, Centre for Citizenship Education, Polish Humanitarian Action. An example of the implemented global education initiatives is the series of meetings and workshops on Africa and the continent's inhabitants, held in partnerships with the Foundation Africa Another Way:

Is Africa really wild? A meeting to discuss the image of Africa and the impact of stereotypes about Africa and Africans on Polish literature, media and public opinion.

Family and home = Tradition and culture: the African family as a medium to understand the African culture and tradition.

How to talk about Africa? A course in addressing the subject of Africa and Africans for classroom purposes.

Young Learners Resource Center

YLRC is a Polish-American project addressed to teachers of English who teach Young and Very Young Learners. The Center in Warsaw was opened in November 2006 as the first of a number of YLRCs in Poland. Official agreement between American Embassy and the City of Warsaw was signed by Ambassador Victor Ashe and the President of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.

The mission is to create a sense of community between teachers of English, support them in a process of lesson preparation, encourage them to become innovative and creative teachers who would use attractive, authentic teaching materials and teaching strategies.

The Center is the only place in Warsaw providing so many American books for children. Teachers can borrow numerous big books, materials on culture, CDs with songs, flash cards, etc. The AccuCut machine and Accu-dies are very popular. Thanks to them teachers may create very attractive materials for their lessons. As well as materials the Center offers also professional training for teachers of foreign languages.

International projects

WCIES has also been involved in international projects. In the years 2012 and 2013 we participated in Amgen Science Teacher Training Initiative (ASTTI). In 2013 we joined two Comenius Regio projects: “ELIC Enhancing Language and Intercultural Competence” and „Gender Equality and Human Rights in our Schools”.


Selected elements of WCIES training offer for counsellors:

1. A qualification course for junior teaching counsellors in adult education techniques, psychological skills, work management, IT.

2. Thematic courses such as Counsellor's Code of Conduct, ICT Teaching Method workshops: modern techniques of presentation, creation of short videos; Legal developments in the areas of education, educational reform, changes in PTCCs

3. Transactional Analysis Study

4. The Assembly of Counsellors: the cyclical, several-day long away seminar for counsellors devoted to exchanging experiences, presenting good practices, work planning and integration.


In pursuing its statutory objectives, WCIES advocates for devolution of the authority in education in Warsaw to community stakeholders by enhancing parents’ impact on the school life. Thanks to this initiative, members of parents' organisations and Parent Councils may voice their educational proposals and are afforded a "private space" for duty shifts, meetings and contacts with teachers, counsellors and headmasters. Members of the Warsaw Forum of Parents and schools' Parent Councils have a practical opportunity to use the Centre's infrastructure and the knowledge and skills of its staff.

The programme Parents in the School Community – the Warsaw Forum of Parents and Schools' Parent Councils is an element of the educational policy of the City of Warsaw. The project involves workshops and training courses for parents as well was a consultation desk staffed by members of parents' organisations on a shift-basis. During the shifts the desk offers individual advice, facilitates the exchange of experiences and information.

Themes of the Forum:

- Parents' role in creating the school's climate

- Developing and supporting talents in children - a partnership between parents and teachers.

- Do we want democracy at school?

- To teach and to raise: the cohesion of educational and formative activities at school and at home

- Do the today's youth need authorities?

- School self-governance based on an alliance of parents and the headmaster (law, competence, partnering with local government in city districts)

As part of the actions for the community of parents of Warsaw school students, the Centre implemented a research project on parental self-governance. The purpose of the project was to describe the impact of Parent Councils on the school life. The results were used in the implementation of the operational programme of the Educational Policy of the city of Warsaw "Parents in the School Community – the Warsaw Forum of Parents and Schools' Parent Councils" constituting a part of the strategic programme "Civil and Self-governing Society".


Examples of initiatives addressed directly or indirectly to students of Warsaw schools

The EU competition for students of Warsaw middle schools from 1st to 3rd class level (October 2008 – May 2009) divided into 3 stages (a school level, a district level and a community level) aimed at advocating an attitude of tolerance and acceptance towards other nations, their culture and language, promoting the concept of united Europe, disseminating knowledge of Europe and the European Union during geography, civic education and foreign language lessons as well as extra-curricular activities, developing skills to access information from various sources devoted to European issues and enhancing the sense of European identity

"The Life of Fryderyk Chopin in Concert" (musical)

The musical titled "The Life of Fryderyk Chopin in Concert" was developed as part of an innovative action programme targeted at teachers and students in the 2010 Chopin Year. This project was directed to music teachers, day care room teachers, school coordinators of the Chopin Year and all the interested parties to inspire them with an idea of how to teach about the life and artistic output of this famous Polish composer in an unconventional manner. The libretto, written specifically for the musical, and the original score enriched with hand-picked passages of Chopin's works were used as the main theme of a series of workshops in singing, dancing, scenery- and costume-design . The activities were led by top-class specialists in choreography, directing and stage design. Participants of the vocational training course held as part of the project were given the first-hand experience of how to arrange and manage their work with students in particular areas. Also, thanks to numerous teaching and organisational tips.

They found out how to stage the musical at their own establishments. This was also the occasion to share inspiration with other participants and network with them. Students of Warsaw schools performed the "The Life of Fryderyk Chopin in Concert" musical during the final celebration of the Chopin Year. The cast members had been selected in a casting followed by a 3-month rehearsal period coordinated by the WCIEIS.

The Centre published the education kit comprising the libretto, songs written in notes, description of dances and choreographic compositions, ideas for stage design, teaching and organisational tips. The kit has a beautiful graphic design. It is supplemented with CDs with soundtrack and recordings of songs to practise singing and dancing with students.

The Berlin competition for middle and secondary schools students (January – June 2011) held to mark the 20th anniversary of signing the "Berlin and Warsaw's agreement on friendship and cooperation”.

As part of the educational partnership of the cities students' competitions were run simultaneously.

In Warsaw the competition was divided into two stages. At the school level teams of five students prepared a presentation on the following topic: "Warsaw – Berlin. Sister cities. History. Present Time. Future". At the city level the teams solved a test on history and presence of Berlin. The winning teams were awarded with a trip to the sister city Apart from sightseeing the itinerary included a meeting with municipal authorities.

Warsaw. I like it! The competition on the history and culture of Warsaw for 1st to 3rd and 4th to 6th class Warsaw primary schools students and 1st to 3rd class Warsaw middle schools students (January – June 2012). The aims of the competition are :

- To arouse students’ interest in the history of Warsaw and to encourage them to learn about the present situation of the city.

- To develop the ability to work through the project method.

- To develop skills to access information from various sources.

- To shape the local identity.

The competition is held separately for three age categories: 1st to 3rd and 4th to 6th class of primary school, 1st to 3rd class of middle school.

At the 1st to 3rd class level the competition can be entered by any five-to six-member teams, such as class representations, groups from a day care room, children attending special interest clubs. The competition consists of two levels. At the first level all teams carry out projects, whereas at the second level teams selected by the Municipal Competition Committee take part in a field game.

At the 4th to 6th class level students work in teams of three to six, supervised by a teacher. At the first level all teams perform two compulsory tasks and three tasks selected by them out of the ones proposed by the organiser (e.g. students are asked to point to a drawing, photograph featuring a given place or district from which they come or are requested to choose a painting featuring Warsaw or an event which occurred in Warsaw and act out a scene painted by the author; introduce a resident of a given district (a famous or unknown person ) and solicit from him or her information on the surrounding area; design a coat of arms, other than the existing one, for their district). To complete the tasks each team has to submit a guidebook, an album or a portfolio of maximum then 10 size A4 pages or 10 slides. At the second level teams selected by the Municipal Competition Committee take part in a city game.

At the middle school level students may work in teams of 2 to 6 persons. At the first school level a team performs a research work discussing one of the four topics listed below: Warsaw as a modern city in the 19th, 20th and 21st c.; Warsaw – a dream v. reality; Warsaw – today's visions of the future; the Vistula –a green corridor in Warsaw

At the second city level, a team performs the task consisting of preparing a work on a given topic (namely on the basis of iconographic material, passages from literary works and culture-based texts, monographs, etc. they present the topic in any form, for instance, in the form of a dialogue, theatrical scene, description) and a test verifying their knowledge and skills related to the history of Warsaw.

Extracurricular classes for Warsaw school students - can we do it differently? Linguistic exercises for secondary school students

Target groups are ambitious students of secondary schools and the final class of middle school who are curious of the world and want to understand mechanisms that govern contemporary culture, who were invited to attend a cycle of five meetings during which we offered them an opportunity to improve their command of the Polish language, indispensable and easily accessible skills useful not only in a school setting; we also discussed the overcoming of patterns; controversial texts; constructive approach to ignorance and encouraged asking inconvenient, rebellious or “too inquisitive” questions. The classes were also attended by teachers, who wanted to learn about methods used by other teacher-practitioner holding the above extra-curricular classes.


In implementing the foundations of the Educational Policy of the Capital City of Warsaw, the Warsaw Centre for Socio-Educational Innovation and Training partners with non-governmental organisations engaging in local educational initiatives. The priority target group are member organisations of the Committee for Social Dialogue in Education. Likewise, the WCIEIS collaborates with other associations providing training services.

The basic condition for cooperation between WCIES and its partners is the requirement that the implemented initiatives must be addressed to teachers, education staff, parents, the Warsaw youth and that no fee can be charged from members of target groups, thus the activities are non-commercial in nature.

WCIES partners with non-governmental organisations both on the content level, developing educational programmes, and provides them with the Centre's infrastructure such as class space.

The Centre provides, on a permanent basis, the premises for meetings of the Committee for Social Dialogue in Education. The NGOs members of the Committee have been provided with a separate room which may be used for their statutory purposes (as a venue of board meetings, gatherings, concept meetings).

The rules governing the use of WCIES workshop classrooms by NGOs are available at www.wcies.edu.pl, in the "NGO" section.

The non-governmental organisations partnering with WCIES include:

- ARTeria Foundation: multicultural education for teachers

- Centre for Citizenship Education: trainings for student's representative bodies

- Pro Humanum association: workshops for the youth organised as part of the project "Walls Talk"

- Society for Activity Development in Children "Chance"

- "Origami" Association

- Federation of Educational Initiatives

- Members organisations of Committee for Social Dialogue in Education. 

Ministerstwo Edukacji NarodowejKuratorium Oświaty w WarszawieUrząd m.st. Warszawy Biuro EdukacjiPolin Muzeum Histori Polskich ŻydówStołeczne Centrum Edukacji KulturalnejCentrum Nauki KopernikMiejska Polityka Spoleczna