ICS – Rita Borsellino

The I.C.S. “Rita Borsellino” is located in the historic center of the city of Palermo in a neighborhood called Kalsa. The school includes three school complexes and a gym:

– The Amari complex which is home to a nursery school and a primary school
– The Ferrara complex which is home to a nursery school and a primary school
– The Roncalli complex which is home to the lower secondary school
– The San Basilio gym is the gym that supports the lower secondary school in the morning hours and is the gym that supports local associations in the afternoon hours.

What distinguishes our school is the combination school-family or school-territory which is not a slogan, a bureaucratic automatism, an empty union, devoid of concrete content, direct testimonies, tangible evidence. This is not the case with our comprehensive school which prides itself on actively collaborating with parents and third sector entities to address problems and seek solutions, share, innovate, experiment with new relationships, together. We have articles, videos and social pages that attest to a long but constant process of building an identity, that of the educational community of which we feel proud to be part.

Those who choose our school choose a philosophy, choose to become part of an educational community in which not everything is perfect but can be improved together, in which there is no shortage of problems but solutions are found together, in which immediate answers are not expected but they are built slowly with mediation and mutual interest. Those who choose our institute believe in the value of the plurality of languages and life experiences, believe in welcoming all pluralities, believe that everyone can benefit from the relationship with the other and the other, regardless of any cultural and social background. We don”t like to create homogeneous but heterogeneous groups.

Only in nursery school do we tend to make groups that are homogeneous in age but heterogeneous in everything else: males and females, Italians and CNI, disadvantaged and special educational needs. Those who choose our institute know how important we believe it is to reflect together – as a community – on the presence of children and young people of non-Italian origin in our classrooms and on the inadequacies, including cultural ones, of the school, political and social system with respect to the cultures of origin of these young people, their double belongings and double absences, the histories of transit that many of them carry.

Starting to “decolonize” our gaze, together with them and their families and the territory, we are convinced is a great enrichment for everyone. We do not pride ourselves on being a school where anything goes as no school -as a system to weak ties- is perfect: the logic connected to the fragile didactic continuity, to the transfer of teachers, substitute teachers, union meetings and strikes are common to all state schools but our institute tries to operate daily according to a logic of service and a clear vision: it is essential to promote stable links with the territory to fight against school dropout and make schools more democratic and inclusive.

The school is a primary service to support the community and must be given priority as such organized. The priorities must aim to guarantee essential services such as school time activated in the shortest possible time (staffing permitting), an institute calendar that respects the needs of working families, listening desks, study support activities and school orientation, school sports and extracurricular (free or with contribution but within reach of the neighborhood), a summer time service for those who have no other options or for those who want to stay in the area, considering that – from summer 2020 – a large swimming pool is also active in the outdoor space of the San Basilio gym courtyard.

The project action aims to strengthen a vision towards which the school has been tending for a decade now, through participatory planning interventions activated inside and outside the school
context, becoming an important point of reference in the territory.