Rysensteen Gymnasium is situated in the centre of Copenhagen. Around 1100-1200 students attend the school as well as 125 employees. Rysensteen Gymnasium began as Laura Engelhardt’s school for girls in 1881, but the school has been co-educational since 1958. The school offers an upper secondary educational programme, corresponding to the students’ 10th to 12th year in the Danish school system. Compulsory school attendance covers 1st to 9th grade in Denmark, so attending upper secondary education is a choice the students have to make themselves. The school offers a range of specialized study programmes within all faculties – science, humanities and social studies – as well as within a range of creative subjects such as music and drama.
Rysensteen Gymnasium is a campus school situated in Vesterbro. Apart from Rysensteen’s main building from 1886, the school’s existing building stock also includes recently equipped science laboratories across the street in the Copenhagen meatpacking district, whilst all physical education takes place in DGI-byen, a large sports centre just opposite the main building. In 2011, the school opened a string of newly equipped classrooms plus a huge project workshop of altogether 2,000 square meters also in the meatpacking district. Students at Rysensteen therefore get to experience many aspects of the vibrant neighbourhood of Vesterbro on a daily basis.
Rysensteen Gymnasium is a school based on a firm set of values. The school profile is highly democratic implying that the students are very engaged in their school life – also outside school hours. We seek to encourage an open and respectful dialogue and our approach to teaching is characterized by a curiosity for new didactic perspectives on teaching, with a strong emphasis on creativity. We call this the learning laboratory. All lessons are based on what we term 1:1 teaching: all students bring their laptops to class. Alongside the application of different IT-learning strategies, the teachers at Rysensteen are very much preoccupied with experimenting with different ways of stimulating the students, e.g. through the methods of cooperative learning, a focus on skills development, as well as cross-curricular projects. At Rysensteen, we are ambitious on behalf of our students in the hope that the individual student will go as far as possible in the development of his or her skills. We have a close cooperation with further education institutions in and outside of Copenhagen. At the same time, we make great use of nearby cultural and political institutions as well as local businesses. Classes visit these several times during a school semester.
Internationalization plays an important role at Rysensteen Gymnasium. From the summer of 2011, all classes are given an international focus – a continent or a region, in which the class will have a partner school. During their school time, each class will regularly carry out area studies of the given area, and will also visit it in their final year at school. Concurrently with this, there are many other international activities for both whole classes and individual students, e.g. participation in Model United Nations (MUN) and Model European Parliament (MEP), and exchanges in Dortmund, Brittany and the Hague.
The latest branch of our democratic profile is the Global Citizenship Programme or GCP, which has been placed at the top of our agenda since August 2011. The school’s aim is for students to develop not just citizenship but world citizenship during their time at Rysensteen. The collaboration with partner schools all over the world is obviously an important part of reaching that goal.