Ås ungdomsskole is a secondary school with approximately 350 students in a rural area about 45 minutes south of our capital, Oslo. The municipality of Ås has a population of about 19000 and is characterized by open cultural landscape that is dominated by agriculture. Being the home of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences: NMBU, Ås attracts students and academics from all over the world, making it a culturally diverse and open minded town.
Our school has about 45 dedicated teachers, many with high academic degrees both in the natural sciences and humanistic subjects. The school has for several years taken part in a program qualifying teachers in leading philosophical dialogues, aiming to challenge student’s critical thinking and to improve their dialogical and collaborative skills. With the implementation of a new national curriculum in Norway all teachers are being educated towards facilitating in-depth learning and in educating for an uncertain tomorrow. Currently, our school is taking part in our third KA2 Erasmus+ project “Social Inequalities in Europe”. Our first project was about Human Rights and our second project, which we initiated and coordinated, was geared towards teaching for Sustainable Development. The experience of taking part in international projects has been highly productive and the greatest strength we have identified so far is that it boosts teachers identity and empowers students in such a way that they have initiated a lot of activities to improve their school environment and local environment and believing that they are indeed able to make an impact.
The Performing Arts department consists of a group of skilled and enthusiastic teachers and plays and takes on a crucial role in tying the school to its local environment by contributing to parent-teachers meetings, yearly Christmas shows and graduation ceremonies. The elective Theatre and Stage management is a popular choice among our students and is offered on all three grade levels. We take pride in being described as an inclusive and warm school, by both parents and students, and seek to continuously improve our practices in this area. Being the school in our municipality that hosts the “welcoming-class” for newly arrived immigrants and refugees, makes the task of continuously striving for our school to be an arena for social inclusion even more meaningful.