Viherlaakso is the oldest Upper Secondary School founded in Espoo but still modern, innovative and young in terms of spirit and pedagogy and methods of teaching. There are about 500 students studying in Viherlaakso at the moment but the School is still growing during the next few years. Viheri, as we call our school, is the one of the largest Upper Secondary School in Espoo.
In our school students should set a realistic, yet challenging goal, plan their studies for a full school year and do their best to achieve their goals. The living as a Student is a balanced mixture including hobbies, social life and academic work. All that builds up the good future for an individual. Initially on the most important thing is to learn good study techniques and study habits, that means focused, intensive studying daily bases both in school and at home.
At the start of the studies pupils will be introduced thoroughly to studying culture at the upper secondary school, for example rules and studying techniques in different subjects and the skills to use laptops in digital learning environment.
Second and third year students make their own schedules based on the choices of the subjects made. In Finland the Upper secondary school syllabus includes at least 75 courses. One course lasts seven weeks and each week includes three 75 minutes lessons. Courses are offered in three different types: compulsory courses, advanced courses and school-based applied courses. The students have to study 47-52 compulsory courses depending on the number of languages in their syllabus and the level of math they are studying.
During the third school year the students are studying courses for the matriculation examination and they will have at least four test in the examinations.
Viherlaakso High Values
Viherlaakson High is steered as a school by the values defined by the Espoo City Council. These values are
1. customer and citizen-orientedness
2. tolerance and equality
3. creativity and innovativeness
4. partnership and community spirit
5. getting results and having a long-lasting effect
6. sustainable development.
Viherlaakso High Values in Practice
Sustainable values are the basis of all education. At Viherlaakso High we consider the meaning of the school regarding the student’s growth of personality and our practices are evaluated and developed on that basis. Our goal is for the student to feel that he/she studies meaningfully both regarding his/her education aims and life management and values his/her study results. The interaction between students and teachers and the teacher’s relationship with the student have a significant influence on the student’s psychical growth. Also, the students’ relationships with one another are important for good study results, and thus the practices at our school must promote the interaction and social relationships between the students.
Students are confident in their own abilities and appreciate themselves. Education and counseling is to help students to find their own academic path and potential new interests and intellectual resources. Students will be aware of their own cultural background. He tolerates diversity and respect other people’s beliefs and individuality.
The joy of work and responsibility
The student understands the meaning of work and appreciate it. The students can plan their studies and learn to make solutions meaningful for themselves and the community. He is an active and capable for critical thinking. The students are aware of their actions and responsibilities for the group.
We pay special attention to the student’s communication skills, especially in language skills and the means of expression and the media. Multi-lingual, and many ways of expression, the dominant student is cooperative and willing to active interaction with others. The student’s personality is developing in a climate of open and direct interaction.
Courage and honesty
We try to increase positive attitudes towards life. Open discussion is one way to find new meanings in daily life and have the confidence to influence the future. Honesty and solving the everyday challenges strengthen the cohesion of the community and helps to continue the development, growth and prosperity.
The Creativity is an important value in our school. The traditional definition of creativity is that creativity always brings out something new; new problem to solve the problems, a new perspective or product.
Creativity is rarely completely new and original; usually a creative solution is consolidated prior knowledge in a new way. Although a feature of creativity is thinking outside the box, exiting from the formulas and the property, is the creativity also persisting processing of information.
We believe that every student can be creative and creativity of each student can be developed. We think, that, the creativity is much broader feature. Creativity is the activity, enthusiasm for learning, the pleasure of its own success and performance, skills to solve problem as well cognitive as social. Teaching from the perspective of creativity, is above all, supporting the learning, the development and the maturity of the student’s unique personality and identity.
Creativity is not something limited inside boundaries of a certain subject. The creative process is always outcome of analysis of the knowledge, feelings and methods acts of studying.
The Agreement for good studying
The students, teachers and parents share a vision of good learning.
Friendliness is a good behavior as greeting, participation, helpfulness, gratitude, obeying rules and guidelines during the school day. Each member of the community maintains and develops a common good spirit.
The teachers, stuff and students treat each other equally and with respect. Every member of the school community is committed to work together.
The good quality of studying and teaching requires planning. All of those rules and schedules, work habits, study practices are planned and agreed with together and the students at the beginning of the course. During the planning process they will also discuss what the students are waiting for the teacher in oder to learn better and more. They will also discuss the role of a teacher. How they can learn better using different working methods and how the teacher are helping them learning and understanding.
Commitment, responsibility and results
The teacher and the students discuss also about the student’s obligations such as a commitment to study according to planning and the responsibilities for the group. In this way, the student is expected to create a positive atmosphere in class. The student is also expected to know what means good learning in this certain course and the student commitment to study.
The compliance with the planning
The teachers are committed to intervene to the poor studying. If the student does not study according the rules, the student may be suspended.
There are also other staff as nurse, psychology and social worker available for the specific problems.
History of the Upper Secondary School of Viherlaakso
If you think Espoo in the 30’s and 40’s it was considered to a Swedish speaking small village in the countryside near Helsinki. In year 1940 the number of inhabitants in Espoo was 11540 and there was not Upper Secondary School for finish speaking children in Espoo. Viheri was founded in 1939 and the first School building was built in 1947.
At this stage, state and local government was not able to meet the growing educational and training needs which was proven to be very clear in many localities. Fortunately there were enthusiastic and willing citizens to sacrifice their time and money to create private schools for those places where the need has been obvious. Later the school was sold to the City of Espoo.
Viherlaakso Upper Secondary School
Mailing adress Principal: Jussi Rekilä
02070 ESPOON KAUPUNKI
tel. 050 5425631
Asst. Principal: Anni Pajari-Talasniemi
tel. 046 8771265
Principal: Jussi Rekilä
Kutojantie 2 D, 1st floor