Newsletter 3 February 2012

Girlstalk in Nepal.
Girlstalk in Nepal

Dear reader!

Siberian cold and plenty of warmth spiced with educational challenges. The contrast in everyday life and efterskole life has been drawn after the adventures of the January expeditions. As the cold weather set in, the students moved closer together and there have been a remarkable number of community-building activities. Throughout the week, a group of students have been creating joy and positive recognition by sending out sweet and encouraging messages as flyers, posting IT on walls and doors, and organising small events around the school. For example, popcorn was served at the assembly and in the office we received chocolates and smile labels!
We could do with it too, as we've spent the whole week thinking about and dealing with that nasty incident last week when a bunch of boys partied the night away. The other day we held a parents' meeting and a meeting with the pupils involved. The outcome of this process is described below, which also includes, for the first time, parent comments written for the Newsletter. The aim is to show that an openness and transparency about the process of creating a constructive and positive cooperation between school and home, so that we can find out if we can restore the lost trust and respect. Comments are welcome!

Visit to the Danish Embassy in Kathmandu.

The week has mainly offered academic work and processing of the many impressions from the profile subject expeditions. There has been a special focus on the project assignments in Years 9 and 10, and the pupils have been well prepared methodologically and have been assigned personal counsellors.
In addition to working on the upcoming profile subjects, we have also focused on how one's "self" - independence - is formed. This topic is very topical since building one's/ oneself is also about taking a stand on the values and norms of others. In the process of building a strong self, one is often confronted with having to adapt to different values and norms, and being able to say 'no'. The key becomes to stand by who you are and not play with double values or morals.

Girlfriend table on Italian evening

This coming weekend we have invited the future pupils of years 12-13 and their parents for an interview at the school. In addition to a conversation about academic and personal goals and expectations, current students will talk about their successful profile expeditions to Nepal, Miami, Ghana, the Nordic countries and India. The new students will also have their RE backpack for the many expectations and order school clothes for the start of school.

In the coming week there is an OSO and a project assignment for all students. The whole school will be buzzing with students working on projects, and especially in Year 10 it will be exciting to see what products and presentations students can produce for the presentations. Work in 117 specialisations in creative, technical, health and craft disciplines, etc. The teaching team is organised in tutor and supervisory roles and help will be available from morning to evening. Students are welcome to bring their own printer, but it is certainly not a prerequisite!

Pedagogically, the week has been very diverse. The many positive experiences around the pupils' project of spreading joy and motivation have been spiced up by a fantastic culinary theme week where we have travelled through Mexico, Spain, France, Italy and tasted national dishes in a themed dining hall. On the other hand, the teachers' group and pedagogical council have been working to get to the heart of the question: how could a group of boys organise a party on an ordinary Wednesday evening last week. This question has been elucidated through, among other things, letters from the boys and a dialogue meeting with parents and boys the other day. At the meeting, we received an explanation that most of all suggests that, due to the group dynamic, they have pushed the boundaries of their socialising to the point where no one spoke up when they violated the school rules. The group has created a subculture, which unfortunately also means that for some of the boys we will continue the dialogue until we are certain that they have disclosed everything, are open to cooperation with all adults and other students at the school, and can enter into normal and normal conditions so that we can rebuild trust. If we do not have this certainty, we will terminate the co-operation. In the text below you can for the first time read parents' reactions to our pedagogical method and as it appears, there is respect and recognition for the fact that we seek dialogue, even though it would have been far simpler, but less developing, to simply expel the students. On Friday 17 February, the rest of the parents' group has the opportunity to comment and debate the school's pedagogical practice with the undersigned, because the extensive dialogue method must not lead to a dilution of rules and frameworks at the school, but a strengthening of the formation process in efterskolelivet.

In the past week, we have unfortunately had to say goodbye to 3 girls who, for various reasons, have decided to break off their cooperation after the profile trips have ended. It is regrettable, but also an expression of the fact that some of them have struggled for a very long time to keep homesickness etc. at bay until the great goal of the profile subject was reached.

In the coming week new student support forms after the Finance Act was passed.

Next week those interested in Funen, Central Jutland and Southern Jutland can visit us at the fair Education without borders in Odense. Here we exhibit together with AFS Interkultur, and focus especially on our specialty "education beyond all borders" including the offer of 3 months exchange to European schools in our Ranum Europe programme.

Have a great weekend and as the students have written everywhere - think positive, you are amazing - you make me happy - you are beautiful! (-and remember to multiply by 2 because we are in North Jutland).

Yours sincerely
Olav Storm

By the way you wash an elephant - by starting at one end and continuing to the other
Quote guest teacher Anders Dahl Nielsen (India team) Reference to the newsletter...

Parents' opinions on the pedagogical process of sending a group of boys home.
Annex to the Newsletter of Friday 3.2.2012

Dear Parents
Last week there was an incident where a group of boys broke school rules. My son is one of them and at the time of writing the school has not decided whether he will be allowed to stay. He has now spent a week at home thinking things through and I am sure it has been the most thoughtful week of his life. It is my experience that the school, with Olav at the helm, has handled the situation well. On the one hand, no one doubts that the school's rules have been broken in an unacceptable way. On the other hand, the young people and we as parents have been invited to a dialogue on the matter. Our children have been told that they must put all their cards on the table and offer how they can become part of the culture at the after-school school - in other words, become good Ranum students. In this way, the school lives out its own values, as dialogue is encouraged instead of conflict. It shows our children inclusive and democratic values in practice. And they need that. Because everyone needs to know that they need to be shaken out of their own selfishness. At today's meeting, that shake-up seemed to succeed. The boys realised that it would be a gift to be allowed to stay at the school. That approach makes them want to send more children to the school. That's why on Saturday - whatever the decision on Thursday - we'll be at the event for next year's students, so that the sister from August can become a student and be socialized into a shared culture that prepares young people to become citizens.

I am a parent of a son who has been repatriated as a result of nightmares and alcohol consumption. Herewith I would like to describe how the school has handled the situation. Last Thursday, 8 students were expelled after they had a party on Wednesday night. The pupils were asked to describe the incident individually. They were asked to put all their cards on the table, including previous similar incidents. They were also asked to describe what they themselves would do to restore the trust they had broken, should they be allowed to return. All pupils and parents involved were then invited to a meeting on Wednesday evening. At the meeting, Olav told us how seriously the school viewed their action and what the consequences were for the school's teachers, pupils and management, with many meetings and conversations. He also made it clear that the young people's future at Ranum Efterskole is hanging by a thread. My experience of the young people was that they were all genuinely sad about the situation, and that they all have a great desire to return to the school to repair the damage. We had a very good dialogue, which was very constructive. Everyone had their say and many ideas and suggestions were discussed. We are grateful to the school for taking the initiative to hold the meeting and are pleased with the super professional way in which the matter was handled. Each family had parallel personal conversations with the teachers, who at the next learning meeting will decide whether or not each student may return. Whatever the outcome, it has been a learning process for the young people and I have been confirmed that Ranum Efterskole is a good choice. XXXXX

Thank you for your constructive way of dealing with a really tough situation - and of course thank you for giving xxxxx a second chance. I really hope he is able to live up to the trust you show him - in any case, he is very committed to being a good Ranum student (including, of course, abiding by the rules).
I am also sure that your way of dealing with the situation is much more instructive for the boys than a "grey paper" repatriation.
I know that it costs you a lot of resources that could be used for more positive activities in the school - so I just want to let you know that it is really appreciated from here. XXXXXX