Volume:2, Issue: 1

Apr. 1, 2010

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
It is amazing how fast the time is running and how fast there comes a moment for a new journal issue and for the new joy of meeting with you again. This issue is devoted fully to a very topical but not very well developed theme of authorial schools, their theoretical analysis and practical implementation in different educational institutions of Russia, USA, and other countries in the world. I need to confess that the topic itself is very personal for me because a large part of my research, publications, and “life” in education is connected with it. This is the reason why I decided to write a theoretical article about authorial schools myself. You should also mind that the English version of this article is not a word-to-word translation of its Russian version that is because there are very few articles in English about authorial schools and the topic is less known to Western readers. I hope that Russian readers will understand and forgive me for this. (Whatever you say, there are some privileges of being Editor-in-Chief of this journal.)
Student-Adult Joint Management to Improve a School’s Spirit
The author presents a number of key elements which when taken together allow to create a true democratic school with a teacher-student cooperation. School co-management is introduced as a model of joint and public decision-making and implementation where all participants in the educational process are equal. Another issue that is analyzed in the article, is how to effectively shape students’ democratic experience within the school culture.
Leo Tolstoy and the Yasnaya Polyana Pedagogical Institute
This paper introduces to the English-speaking readers some new facts and materials which allow to better understand Leo Tolstoy as a great Russian educator and a founder of the first free school in the tzarist Russia. The authors analyze Tolstoy’s primary approaches to pedagogical education and disclose his intention and plans to build a teacher’s training institution in his estate.
Leo Tolstoy
This article is practically a response of its author to the article of the American researchers published above. Though Dr. Boguslavsky does not only present his opinion and feelings about the American paper but he also elaborates on the topic itself, mostly describing Leo Tolstoy’s activities as the founder of the Yasnaya Polyana school for the village children.
Authorial Schools: Definitions, Typologies and Tendencies of Development
The purpose of this article is to introduce the readers to the results of the author’s earlier long-term research of humanistic authorial schools in the 20th century. Considering an authorial school a specific phenomenon of the educational reality allowed the author to analyze its main characteristics, to point out primary definitions and tendencies of its development; it also permitted to build some classifications and typologies of such schools. In a way this article is meant to become an introduction to a number of descriptions of different authorial schools presented in this journal issue, starting with the papers of some school founders such as Olga Block and Jack Mc Gurgan, moving further to those who have been implementing authorial concepts in practice (Yael Barenholtz, Kathy Slawson and Betty Disney), and finally introducing researchers of some famous authorial schools of the past (Mikhail Boguslavsky, Richard Scheuerman and Arthur Ellis, Rosa Valeeva).
Newport-Mesa College High School
This article written by the school principal in association with the community college administrator assigned to this program talks about a very productive and challenging authorial model which proved to be reproducible in different educational settings. The authors clearly indicate their primary keys for success and introduce to the readers some intriguing strategies and techniques. They also show how effective could be such methods as developing individual learning plans and arranging for academic tutorial sessions for everyone who needs them.
The Just Community Approach in Israel: Process of Adaptation
The author describes the goals, the process and the problems of implementation of Lawrence Kohlberg’s Just Communitiesin Israeli schools. The article presents a detailed overview and a deep analysis of the changes in social education created by just communities. Many insights provided by the author will be equally challenging for researchers and school practitioners.
Janusz Korczak’s Holistic System of Education
This article introduces the readers to the history of a very special and very dramatic though very successful school created by a prominent Polish educator and writer Janusz Korczak. The author, being practically the first Russian researcher of educational insights of Janusz Korczak, manages to show his primary ideas which make his school both strictly authorial and unique. At the same time his concept definitely has a number of well-developed techniques and strategies which are well presented in the article and which can be replicated in other educational establishments.
The Timeless Light of “Red Dawns”
This article introduces the readers to a very famous and a very successful school commune of the 1920s and 1930s, almost forgotten later in the history of education, which was founded and headed by Ignaty Ionin. The author portrays the history of the school’s development and its gradual growth into a true effective educational establishment with such core values as labor, intellectual and creative activities, self-management, and project learning. The article does not only disclose new facts from the school’s life but it also clarifies the reasons for its founder’s success and his life tragedy.
BASIS Schools: Good Teachers, High Expectations and a Little Bit of Tension
The author is the founder of one of the most successful charter schools in the nation, and because of that her story of school’s way to success, her self-analysis and readiness to evaluate the school are so challenging. She attributes school’s success to a rigorous and well tested curriculum and increased expectations on students, as well as to the work of dedicated teachers who are experts in their disciplines, and also to the freedom allowed to charter schools in the state of Arizona.
A Response to Olga Block’s article
The story of BASIS schools is a story, well told in National media (e.g., Newsweek, US News and World Report, and The Washington Post) of a very impressive school. Drs. Olga and Michael Block have succeeded in taking the best of their knowledge, administration, and permissive local legislation, to create a remarkable education program. A significant observation in Block’s article is her sense of the level of participation, discussion, and spirit within the American classroom, accompanied by the lack of academic structure and disciplinary depth. That fairly well sums up the strength and weakness of the American system. I will comment briefly on the strengths of BASIS as an alternative to our current system, and offer a challenge as well
Strategies for Developing a Strong School Culture
HOW CAN SCHOOL CULTURE BE DEFINED? No single individual can make a school successful, however, a single individual, if he or she is the “leader,” can create stagnation and an unhealthy school climate. This is a phenomenon described more fully by the University of Texas education department on its website, www.uteach.utexas.edu. In their article, “Understanding School Culture,” the authors provide three examples of typical school cultures: the bureaucratic, the collegial, and the “toxic.”

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