Volume:1, Issue: 3

Dec. 15, 2009

Dear friends, colleagues, authors and readers of the journal,

Unfortunately, I am addressing you in this capacity and from this website for the last time. After long discussions and many painful thoughts, we have made a decision that the journal should be closed. This is not an easy decision to make but it feels that at this point it is the only right one.

Twenty-five journal issues is a lot, and at the same time it is not much at all, of course, depending on your point of view. Still, we can only hope that through the journal we have managed to bring attention to a number of critical and undeveloped issues in education in the United States and Russia.  Since everything remains online and free, you will have a chance to continue reading and perhaps finding some new ideas and inspirations there.

In conclusion, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to each and everyone who made this journal happen for nine years – our authors and readers, members of the Editorial Board and reviewers – without you we would have never succeeded and gained an audience from over 140 countries. Special thanks go to the journal web designer Alex Minakov whose skills and patience were exceptional. Thank you so much! It has been my honor and privilege to serve you all!

Always yours,
Tatyana Tsyrlina-Spady,

In This Issue
A Letter to the Readers
I am happy to greet you again and introduce a new journal issue which is mostly devoted to a popular and widely used Russian concept of school holistic systems. The foundations of this concept were created by famous Russian educators Alexander Kurakin, Ludmilla Nowikova and Vladimir Karakovsky and are well developed by the Center of Theory of Education, Institute of Theory and History of Education, Russian Academy of Education (RAE), headed by an Associate member of the RAE, Dr. Natalia Selivanova. Due to the Center's tremendous work and activities, numerous publications, conferences and seminars, the idea of school holistic systems became widely known and largely accepted by the educational community all over the country.
What Do We Know Today about a School Holistic System?
The author briefly describes the main ideas of the concept of school holistic systems, stressing the importance of interpersonal relationships of businesslike and emotional-psychological types.
The Dynamics of the Goals of Vasily Sukhomlinsky’s “School Holistic System”
The author fully describes the life and activities of a very famous Soviet humanistic educator Vasily Sukhomlinsky who “gave his heart” to children. Sukhomlinsky’s theory and practice is presented in an unusual way – from the point of view of the ‘holistic school system’s concept which makes the article even more valuable.
Reflections about School Holistic Systems and “Educational Spaces”
The author, a very famous humanistic Russian educator, shares her own experience of constructing different school holistic systems, first, as a school teacher, and then, as head of the Russian J. Korczak’s Society and a founder of the integration summer camp for children, teenagers, and young adults. The article describes a unique and constructive process of mastering a social environment that allows the creation of a new educational practice and improves the quality of life for both children and adults. The paper does not give ready-made answers, rather it raises serious questions.
Integration of Academic and Club Activities in the School Holistic System
The author strongly supports the idea of integration of academic and extracurricular activities and brings valid proofs which show how important it is for the creation of an effective school holistic system. He also describes different levels of such integration and different types of schools which use the concept of integration.
A Center of Education: Past, Present, and Future
The authors are administrators of a well-known Russian school with a very developed infrastructure, combining a number of different schools and extracurricular facilities. The article presents a long history of the school development with interesting insights and reflections. Readers will find an analysis of ways to connect education, labor, sport, art, and health care under the roof of one Center of Education. The authors share their thoughts and challenges their school has faced.
Holistic System of St. Petersburg School No. 260
The article presents a conceptual framework, goals, objectives, and a description of a few primary programs that School No. 260 uses to create and sustain its school holistic system.
An Open House for Creativity
The author is a school principal of a large public secondary school in Tula region, Russia. The article gives an overview of a school holistic system, describing its objectives, primary activities and most interesting methods and strategies. One of the highlights of the school extracurricular activities is their school theatre that unites both children and adults, and helps to develop their creativity level.
School as a Model of a Civil Society
To be a school principal is a complicated task that demands strength and commitment, especially if this is such a famous school as Moscow “School of Self-Determination.” The author, who is the head of this school, shares with the reader a number of primary ideas and principles of how to build a truly educational and democratic environment for students and teachers, how to involve everyone in the process of co-management, and how to make dialogue an essential part of school communication. The article provides challenges for educators interested in creating a genuine school oriented towards students’ academic achievements and their personality and character formation.
An Anti-Crisis Model of Education
The author raises serious questions of the connections between the present economic crisis and the current quality of education in the world. She challenges the reader with an analysis of three modern threats, and finally presents the concept of the Center of Education No. 1804 in Moscow and its achievements. A technology of value-orientated self-management is also introduced to the reader.
Anti-Crisis Model of Education. A “First Responder” to the Anti-Crisis Model
While I read the article with admiration for the author’s courage at tackling such an ambitious and complicated topic, I was also skeptical of what seem like simplistic educational solutions to multi-layered, global economic dilemmas. I couch my response with a desire to know more about the content and experience of this educational model in action. As a “first responder”, (what in the United States we call the first group of helpers on the scene of a crisis), I am also mindful that some of my reactions may or may not be to the words chosen for the translation. We may have similar meanings that trigger different emotions in me, as the reader, because of the particular words chosen to explain them. In this case the article has been translated to English from the original Russian. I acknowledge that words are merely symbols for our mental models, and that as such they can trigger personal, emotional and culturally laden responses.

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