DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS STORY
The young female student comes from a socially and economically deprived and problem family background. Due to the difficult family context and the fact that the mother forced the daughter to transfer to this lower secondary school in Portugal against her will, rendered the student’s school integration particularly difficult at the beginning.
The student rebelled against her mother’s decision and thought she had been deprived of her friends, her relatives and her familiar background. She could count on her mother’s support in this climate of change. It was the mother who helped her overturn her negative feelings and difficulties. In the place she had lied before, the student had had an unsuitable lifestyle, very misadjusted from what is expected from girls her age, especially in what concerns the company she kept and the frequent going out at night, for example.
She now likes the school and the activities she takes part in, especially sports and the school library activities. She feels integrated in the school, despite some conflicts with fellow students that have included violent episodes. She is aware that she has been much helped at school, especially by the headmistress, who personally has taken an interest in her and facilitated her integration in the school environment, and by the Individual Student Support Office that advises her on her schooling and learning. The student is tutored in several subjects, but she does not like the tutoring because it focuses on Mathematics, a subject she dislikes, and it also focuses on talking about the past, which does not pleases her.
Her favorite subjects are Visual Education and Technological Education, Portuguese Mother Tongue and English. She likes reading, and does it often.
She likes herself better since she enrolled in this school. She feels that she is a better person than she was in her previous school. She has greater autonomy, she is not violent anymore, or mistrustful or dominated by others. She has more confidence; she is more open about her feelings, surer of herself and takes affirmative action. She expects from the school that it will open up a future for herself and the opportunity to do the sports activities she likes, such as futsal.
Her plans for the future are to work with horses, and experience she has had the opportunity to try in the past. For the time being she values most about herself the change she has gone through, since she has left maladjusted lifestyles and drugs behind. She feels well in this school and would not change. She feels that at school she can fall back on the familiar support that is not always available at home.
This success story highlights how important it is for the successful integration of a student that she feels safe and that she feels she belongs in that particular environment. The fact that the student started by violently rejecting the school was no impediment to overcoming the initial stages of maladjustment. Time was important, as were peer relations, who recognized her rejection for what it was and showed concern for her, and the role of the headmistress who impersonated the trust offered by the school.
Although the student does not deny that she received important familiar support, the school has a fundamental role in this story. It is that of recovering s student for school and successfully integrating her. The student herself is capable of admitting that at first she had self-excluded herself deliberately from the new school. Success may be attributed to the repeated and articulated efforts of the class teacher, the headmistress, the Individual Student Support Office and the tutor assigned to the student. As a whole they showed the student that the school cared for her and wanted her to be fulfilled and happy as an individual. These efforts were then seconded by the student herself who today is able to narrated her story as exemplary for others that may experience similar difficulties.