Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School
Address: Virtatie 4, FI-01600 Vantaa, Finland
Welcome to the website of Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School. On this website you can find some basic information about our school.
Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School was established in 1996. It has three different curricula, namely the General Curriculum, the Music Curriculum and the Dance Curriculum. New students choose the one which suits them best when they apply for a student place at Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School. Music in all its diversity has always been a speciality of Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School. A special dance curriculum further expands our range of performing arts. Besides music and dance, Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School is also known for its special expertise in the fields of information technology, media studies, mathematics and natural sciences. We also have an extensive language program and we have a lot of good international connections. Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School is active in physical education instruction as well and our students have made some remarkable achievements in sports.
Our school is located in the Myyrmäki area in the city of Vantaa. It has around 1000 students altogether, 120 of whom are studying in the music and dance curriculum.
What is our school like? Hardworking students earn good results. Creativity and art education are also valued in the supportive and appreciative atmosphere of Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School. Our own traditions, many of which are common to all Finnish upper secondary schools, lighten the workload of school years in their own special way.
Upper secondary schools in Finland do not have year grades.
The school year is divided into five terms (course periods). In each term the student has a different schedule and a different selection of courses.. Students compile their own individual timetables for each period choosing courses from a vast selection. Each of these courses lasts approximately 38 lessons during the period. Studies include from 45 to 49 compulsory courses depending on the level of mathematics studies. The total number of courses required is 75, which must include at least 10 optional courses. This adds up to 6 courses per period on average during the three years of studies. The studies in the Music Curriculum include from 37 to 41 compulsory courses, again depending on the level of mathematics studies, and at least 12 music courses in addition to the minimum of 10 optional courses. The required total number of courses in the Music Curriculum is 75 courses as well.
The upper secondary school ends in the national Matriculation Examination. The tests of the Matriculation Examination are compiled based on enrolment in compulsory and optional courses. The compulsory tests are:
1. The Mother Tongue Test (Finnish, Swedish or Sámi)
2. The Second Official Language Test
3. The Foreign Language Test
4. Either the Mathematics Test or the General Studies Test, as the candidate chooses
In addition it is possible to participate in one or more optional tests. (Read more about the matriculation examination on the website of the Ministry of Education, http://www.minedu.fi/yo-tutkinto/esiteen.html)
Emphasis areas of Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School
Music, dance, mathematics, media studies, natural sciences, information technology, physical education, internationality and languages.
Other subjects include: history, philosophy, psychology, religion, social sciences, visual arts and health education.
You can study music in all curricula of Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School. Music has become an especially well-known part of the education at our school as a result of our excellent and esteemed chamber choir and high-quality musical theatre productions. In addition, our school has a modern recording studio, which the students can use. Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School with its emphasis on music offers an excellent chance for students interested in music, or aiming for the music industry, to combine their hobby and upper secondary school studies. Though the Music Curriculum offers an opportunity to replace some compulsory courses with music courses, students do not have to choose the Music Curriculum to take advantage of this great selection of courses we offer.
Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School has several choirs, such as the chamber choir and a girls' choir. Other music groups for students include a Big Band and a vast range of rock bands. Important parts of the music education are the lessons of expressive art. This is the foundation of the large yearly musical theatre productions open for all students to participate in.
Music courses include: music knowledge and history, big band, choirs, rock music, ear training, chamber music, individual instrument tutoring, classical solo-singing, recording techniques and computer-aided music.
The Dance Curriculum was established at Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School at the beginning of the school year 2000-2001. 7 new students are selected into the Dance Curriculum every year. The teaching of the dance curriculum is carried out in cooperation with Vantaa Dance Academy and other dance institutes. In addition to Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School courses, students can get course credit for attending courses in other schools providing basic dance instruction. All courses, including music courses, of our school are naturally available to students in the dance curriculum.
Mathematics and natural sciences
Mathematics and natural sciences education has a solid base in our school thanks to a wide range of courses and a renovated science laboratory with great equipment for hands-on learning and lab work. Students studying advanced mathematics can take up to 17 courses of mathematics, ranging form statistics to space geometry. Technical devices, such as graphing calculators and computers, ease especially the statistics and probability calculations and the numerical methods courses. The physics courses range from a computer-aided lab course to courses preparing students for studies in the higher levels of our education system. Lab work using measurement sensors attached to graphing calculators is the state-of-the-art in physics teaching. Education in natural sciences encourages students to take an interest in the environment and the laws of nature. Experimenting in our modern physics and chemistry laboratories provides students with first-hand knowledge of them. Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School has a Sustainable Development Program and the school is working on putting the principles of this program into effect. In collaboration with the country's largest daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, our school has a blog where everyone interested can participate in discussion on sustainable development.
Information technology instruction is of very high quality at Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School. Students can use the computer laboratories with modern computers and fast internet connections from dawn to dusk when they are not in classroom use. Students can choose up to 7 applied IT courses in our school. The highlight of the year for students interested in computers has traditionally been the Lamerfest event every autumn. The wide lobby of our school with spectacular light shows and excellent audio system provides a great setting for Lamerfest. Great atmosphere is guaranteed!
Subjects: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography and information technology.
Vaskivuori upper secondary school has a sports centre, a public swimming pool, a football hall, an indoor ice-hockey area and other outdoor activity possibilities in its immediate surroundings. The school cooperates with the Vantaa Dance Academy and local sport clubs, such as the Vantaa Football Club. It is possible to qualify for an upper secondary school diploma in physical education during the third school year. This requires passing at least 5 PE courses.
Physical education courses include: ball games, swimming, hiking, aerobics and downhill skiing.
Vaskivuori Upper Secondary school has a comprehensive foreign language program. English, German, French and Swedish can be studied as first foreign languages, and other languages offered include French, German, Spanish and Russian. There are also short courses in Chinese, Japanese, Estonian, Latin and Italian. Courses in Finnish give the students a solid basis in advanced writing and oral presentation, and introduce them to a wide variety of literature.
Education tools include a TV with satellite channels, a VCR/DVD and a CD player in all classrooms, as well as a digital visualizer and projector and a laptop computer station with Internet in each classroom. The school also has two language labs and movable wireless headset stations in the language department. The school has Wi-Fi by means of which students can use their own laptop computers and smartphones for classroom work.
International contacts offered during upper secondary school years play an important part in enabling the students to function without difficulty in an increasingly inter-connected world. Vaskivuori School was the coordinating school of an EU Comenius multilateral partnership from 2003 to 2006. The title of the project was 'Intercultural Communication through Performing Arts', and the project partner schools were Jacob-Grimm-Schule in Kassel, Germany, I.E.S. Pablo Gargallo in Zaragoza, Spain, Liceo Scientifico Statale Elio Vittorini in Lentini, Sicily, Italy, and Sint-Lambertuscollege in Westerlo, Belgium. During the school year 2006-2007 our school coordinated a Comenius language project entitled 'Cultural Tourism'. The partner school was I.E.S. Isidra de Guzmán in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. We participated in a two-year Comenius multilateral partnership 'The World of Tomorrow: Living Pictures' in 2007-2009, and we have had Individual Pupil Mobilities with Spain in 2010 and 2011.
Our music groups, sport teams and other representatives of the students take part in many international events, not only as representatives of our school but as representatives of Finland, as well. Foreign student and teacher groups visit our school several times during each school year. Our foreign exchange students take part in normal schoolwork. In classrooms, satellite TV and the Internet support the learning of foreign languages and brings international material to other lessons as well. We are constantly communicating with our partner schools in one way or another. Our long-time partner schools are located in Saaremaa in Estonia, Reading in England, Szolnik in Hungary and Kassel in Germany:
1. Saaremaa Ühisgümnaasium, a secondary school in Saaremaa, Estonia http://www.syg.edu.ee
2. Prospect College, a secondary school in Reading, England http://www.prospect.reading.sch.uk/
3. Varga Katalin Gimnazium, a secondary school in Szolnok, Hungary http://www.konyvtar.c3.hu/varga
4. Jacob-Grimm-Schule, a secondary school in Kassel, Germany http://www.jgs-kassel.de
“The Climbing Day”: The very first school day for new entering students is called “The Climbing Day” to symbolize climbing the first few steps into the school community. This day is dedicated to orientation and planning of studies.
Independence Day celebration: Finland’s Independence Day is on the 6th of December. Independence Day is a national holiday, but celebration in schools takes place on the day before or the day after. A new tradition is to announce the autumn graduates during the celebration.
“Porridge feast”: During the last days before Christmas holiday there is an evening “porridge feast”. This feast is organized by the first year students for their fellow students and teachers. Porridge feast is a fun, humorous ”Christmassy” feast. The name of the feast comes from the serving of hot porridge with fruit gravy.
Christmas church: On the last day before Christmas holiday there is a Christmas service for the whole school in the local church. The service is planned in cooperation with the Myyrmäki parish.
School leaving party of the senior students ("penkkarit" in Finnish): In mid-February the students who prepare for the matriculation examinations leave regular school work behind. On the day of leaving they dress up in funny clothes, make a lot of noise and throw candy to the younger students. The day also includes a farewell coffee with the teachers and a show organized for the whole school. The celebrations also include a ride around the local community, during which the seniors make a lot of noise and throw candy to onlookers. Many seniors also go on a sea cruise together.
Senior ball: On the evening and the day after the school leaving party of the senior students the new seniors start their own celebrations. The main event is a senior ball for friends and family in the evening after the school leaving party and for the other students the day after the school leaving party. The new seniors of the school have been practising very hard during the autumn and winter for this event. They dress up in a festive and distinguished way and perform some old dances.
Graduation day: Probably the most important event of the three upper secondary school years is the graduation event on the last day of the spring term. The students who have passed the matriculation examination will receive a diploma and a white student cap and a warm hug.