By: Charlotte Kasper
Two weeks ago Long Beach High School had the incredible opportunity to welcome and host faculty from Kulosaari School in Helsinki, a secondary school in Finland. Finland’s education system has consistently been ranked as one of the top in the world which made their coming to visit our school an even more interesting opportunity. In addition to observing students and staff in the high school’s IB classes, AP, and Talented Writers classes, students were able to ask questions about the similarities and differences between the Finnish and American education systems.
Some of the differences in our school systems were discussed; such as, in Finland courses are changed every seven weeks and sports are done outside of school. Also, at the end of 9th grade students in Finland are able to choose between secondary school and vocational school. The numbers of students continuing on to university are also vastly different from the United States.
What did the visitors find interesting about our school? One mentioned that they were impressed with our music and art classes because of the access to and availability of various instruments. Also, the staff was impressed with the freedom that students have in their projects in music and art.
Some of the guests also met with select board members for National Honor Society and National Art Society in order to discuss the types of community service present in our school and how they can begin to implement similar programs. Also, the staff members, principal and assistance principal of the school held a presentation / question and answer session with the Long Beach High School’s staff at the end of the school day.
The visit was insightful for both visiting staff from the Kulosaari School and the students and staff at Long Beach High School. Teachers and staff have discussed possible partnership opportunities in communicating and working with the Kulosaari School in the future. The hope is to continue to bridge our collaboration beyond the United States.