Upper-Secondary School

The Tröllaskagi Upper-Secondary School, located in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland, began operating in the autumn of 2010.  It functions under Iceland's newest legislation for education and provides more flexibility in study options.  The school offers an ambitious program with diverse teaching methods that focus on student performance and independence.

The school's objective is to prepare students (typically ages 16-20) for university study.  This is accomplished by having them complete their work through an efficient schedule that focuses on their needs in three major areas: learning under teacher supervision, self-study with access to learning materials, and distance learning.  Self-management is the core virtue of this approach, as the power to learn is placed primarily in the students' hands.

The bulk of the learning materials exist in the online teaching program of the school, “Moodle.”  This includes all instructions and details of the assignments, along with instructions on how to access reading materials that are not in textbooks or in the online teaching program.  It is divided into weekly modules, which open Monday mornings and close Sunday evening.  The program allows students to turn in their work online, which means that unless there is an extreme circumstance, students can always be expected to deliver their assignments.  Also, the program allows the instructors to be creative when incorporating resources from the internet with their curricula.  Many new projects have been created as a result of this system.  

The school does not only provide distance learning for students.  Thanks to the technology available, the school is also capable of providing distance teaching for subjects that do not have a qualified local instructor.  Virtual classrooms are increasingly more popular and effective as technology continues to improve.  All students are required to have laptops, and a wide range of free programs are available for them to use for study and communication purposes.  This does not, however, undermine the importance of face-to-face communication with peers and instructors.  Thanks to the flexibility of the schedule, students have been afforded work time during school hours, which they can use to work on any assignment from any class, collaborate with peers, or take advantage of one-on-one time with instructors.  Feedback from instructors is extremely important, and is continually made available to students.  This is in addition to the four regularly scheduled progress reports issued by staff to all students each semester.

Our Motto:  Innovation –  Creativity – Courage

As this is a new school, “Innovation” is the hallmark concept of our motto.  In order for a brand new school to create a niche in the world, it is important that staff and students are innovative in promoting the school and implementing new ideas.  “Creativity” is a basic element that provides focus on arts and culture in schools, but is by no means a limiting factor.  We encourage creativity in all areas of study, and use it as a beacon to guide our progress.  And finally, “Courage” is having the strength to follow new paths.

The Program

The new legislation for upper-secondary schools has been in effect since 2008.  It may seem quite different to those who know the old upper-secondary system well.  The program awards college credits which are equivalent to three days of full-time work, with 6-8 hours of student work per day.  For each five credit class, four hours a week are with a teacher for each week of the semester.  The students are allotted six work hours per week.  These work hours can be used according to the students' needs, either by dedicating the time toward one area of study that requires more time, or dividing it among many subjects.  Students are encouraged to manage their time wisely in school to minimize their workload at night and on weekends.

The programs available at this school are:

Social Studies and Humanities
Sports and Outdoor Track
Natural Science
Special Education

For those who practice sports, the outdoor track and field area is divided into competition and recreation areas.  The “Art” program is divided into three distinct programs:  Fine Art, Art Photography, and Creative Music.

When students choose electives, we recommend that they try to bundle their electives together.  We cannot always guarantee that there will be a variety of electives available throughout each semester.

Midterm week
In the middle of each semester we have a special week where we take a break from the regular classes.  During this week students are still required to attend school, where they continue work on different projects or attend short courses.

Reception of Students

According to regulation 654/2009, the school is required to organize a welcome program for students whose native language is not Icelandic.  The expectation is that students will be able to understand and use the Icelandic language.  However, when it is possible and appropriate, adjustments may be made to the welcome program for exchange students.  English is widely spoken by both staff and students alike.

Students can enroll in the school online at www.menntagatt.is, or at the school office.  After enrollment, counselors will contact the student's parents or guardians and complete an interview with them.

Education in Iceland

Differentiation of Individual Needs
Students organize their courses through consultation with the counselor, who assesses whether the student requires any special support in each individual subject.  The Guidance Counselor can assign special education support if needed.  We emphasize the student's participation in the classroom to ensure social inclusion and to strengthen social ties.

Peer Support
The Guidance Counselor can also assess whether the student requires special support from a group of classmates.  In such cases, he will select (in cooperation with the supervisor and principal) one or more students studying the same or similar subjects.  These supporters are to assist the student with their learning at school, and to help them adapt to the school environment and the culture of their peers.  We place emphasis on the idea that the student receiving the support and the supporters are on equal terms—one does not manage the other.  Also, students working as peer supporters may qualify to earn extra credit for their support.

Follow-up and Organization
Supervisors monitor the learning path of both the native students and exchange students.  Action will be taken if a supervisor determines that the workload, attendance, or a student's social inclusion is unacceptable and has consulted with a guidance counselor about ways to improve the situation.

The Local Flavor

Ólafsfjörður and the surrounding areas offer a variety of activities.  Plenty of hiking and skiing in the mountains, kayaking and boating in the lake, camping almost anywhere, and surfing in the freezing ocean for the extremists.  A short bus ride can lead to even more unique experiences, such as whale watching or museums.

Contact Us

Phone:     (354) 460-4240

E-mail:     mtr@mtr.is

Address:    Menntaskólinn á Tröllaskaga
        Ægisgötu 13
        625 Ólafsfirði