- Sergey Vasilyevich, how did the idea of creating a new type of school, which has no equal in Ukraine, come about?
- Odessa has always been the center of science and education. And these good traditions should be continued. We have gained good experience in organizing the educational process. We have built two universities, three colleges. When seventeen years ago we opened the International Humanitarian University, a non-state higher educational institution, many did not believe in the prospect of its development. The first set consisted of only seven people. And today 6 thousand students study there and almost 500 teachers and employees work there. The National University "Odessa Law Academy" was also built from scratch, and today more than 20 thousand students from all regions of our country study here.
Now we have also built the School of the Future from scratch, which has already received a license. There were many who wanted to build a multi-storey residential complex or an entertainment center with a casino on this place. And we have built a full-fledged secondary school with a total area of 22 thousand square meters in an area where there is an acute shortage of schools, and those that are functioning are very overloaded.
- Now, looking back, I would like to know how it all began.
- Our school, being a general education school with all the necessary academic disciplines, has an important distinctive feature. The city received an exemplary educational institution focused on the spiritual education of children. We started the construction of our school from the Temple. By the way, until 1917, all educational institutions began to build from temples. And we took this path. The new is the well-forgotten old. We have announced a competition for the best project. Postgraduates of the Odessa State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture (OSACA) responded by submitting more than 50 projects, each with its own vision of the school of the future. And the visualization itself, in our opinion, turned out to be interesting, in the center of which is the Temple, and from it, like rays, educational buildings spread out. As a result, we have implemented this project.
The design project of the school complex was completed by Kiev architects - three times nominated for the State Prize in the field of architecture and construction.
- Every visitor, I think, is amazed by the front part of the complex.
- The main entrance is a calling card of any home. And even more so for the most modern educational complex. The facade of the school is made in neo-baroque style. The space under the dome is decorated with mosaic patterns. In the niches of the arch framing the entrance, there are mosaic compositions. A whole group of mosaic workers worked on their creation. And in the niches of the facade, there are sculptural compositions. Upstairs along the facade there are four mosaic panels of the Mother of God - the Kasperovskaya Mother of God, the Mammal, the Protection of the Mother of God and the Educator. The mosaic is made of smalt using special smelting technologies.
- But this is, so to speak, a beautiful form. What will be the inner content?
- Construction of the International Academic School "Odessa", the School of the Future imposed special obligations. And we tried to do everything. The project provided for a high level of education, full-fledged physical development, the formation of creative skills in various circles of the artistic profile. In addition, we have taken into account the spiritual component.
A center for spiritual education and creativity will grow here. In my opinion, the spiritual development of schoolchildren is also very important. Our school has built two churches - St. Sergius of Radonezh and St. John the Divine, where children will be taught spiritual values.
Pupils will be able to attend electives and listen to lectures on the history of religion, study Christian ethics. Spiritual knowledge is very important for the younger generation. They contribute to the upbringing of such important qualities in children as compassion, kindness, love for one's neighbor, and self-sacrifice. But these subjects are not compulsory, because the question of religion is a delicate question.
- Why is your school already called the School of the Future?
- This is not accidental at all. The entire educational process in it will be built according to special programs using the most innovative technologies. All classes are already equipped with interactive displays Smart board (87 inches diagonal) - for easier assimilation of the material. All school documentation will be kept in electronic form - diaries, lesson schedules, notes and comments. Children, teachers and parents will have access to this information. There will be a completely new approach to the learning process. For this, from August 15, the retraining of teachers who will work here begins. They will have to undergo retraining in order to be fluent in the electronic system that the entire school is equipped with. Our classrooms of the school are equipped with modern furniture and office equipment, and the painters tried to make each class unique in design. It is impossible to confuse the office of a foreign language and Ukrainian literature, physics and chemistry.
- What academic subjects are in the area of special attention at the International Academic School "Odessa"?
- Starting from the first grade, the students of our school will learn foreign languages. We have added Hebrew to the English, French and German languages. Knowledge of foreign languages expands horizons, prospects in future professional life. This is a big bonus in further promotion. And the emphasis in teaching will be on the exact disciplines: biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry.
- What is the subject of your pride?
- Perhaps the fact that the compulsory disciplines in our school from the first grade will be chess and swimming, twice a week. We have an Olympic pool with six lanes and stands, with a modern water purification system and special pumps that will fill the pool with artesian water from an underground lake with huge reserves of water. In addition to the main large pool, there is also a small pool, where primary school students can study. The school sports complex includes a huge sports hall and a summer sports ground. We pay attention to physical education.
- Will the school staff be able to take care of the children of working parents?
- We tried to take into account everything so that the child could be on the school grounds for 12 hours. In order to make such a long stay away from home comfortable for a student, we have created all the conditions and opportunities for games, recreation, and, of course, food. The educational complex includes: educational buildings, a school cafe, a cinema concert hall, a dance studio, various classes, sections, studios. That is, everything is provided so that after lessons pupils can go in for sports, creativity, attend optional classes.
- In today's realities, not only comfortable conditions for the student are important, but also the issues of his safety. How much have you taken into account modern requirements?
- Great attention has been taken into account to the security system. There were special requirements for the technical part of the complex: fire alarm, video surveillance system. This is required by the safety of the educational process and the protection of the school from unexpected visitors. We have created all conditions for children to feel comfortable, cozy and confident. The life support of our school is thought out to the smallest detail. During construction, we used the most modern and safe materials. The school has not only its own gas boiler room, but also alternative heating systems: heat pumps and more than a hundred solar collectors, which will provide heat to the school and heat the water in the pool. This is much more economical than traditional heating.
All the requirements for children with special needs were taken into account: there are elevators, ramps. Odessa is lucky. I am proud of this project!
- What will be the staffing level of the classes?
- The first enrollment of students to the International Academic School "Odessa" has already been completed. It is still small, although the school is designed for 1200 students. It is necessary to work out all the details. For parents who wished their children to study at the International Academic School "Odessa", we organized excursions so that they could see everything with their own eyes.
Classes will be small - 15-17 people, a maximum of 20. This is especially important during a pandemic. And how can you well prepare pupils in classes of 40-45 people?! And in nearby schools this is normal. It is necessary to relieve existing schools, build more new kindergartens and schools. We work efficiently and for the future.
- Will there be a fee for tuition at your school?
- International Academic School "Odessa" is expensive in content. The cost of it will pay off no earlier than in 20 years. In order for the school to be state or municipal, the state and the city should somehow participate in the process of its creation. After all, school is a social project. Neither the state nor local councils helped in its construction, no equity participation. Not a penny was allocated from the budget. And we would not have been able to implement this project if it were not for the support of our political force - the Ukrainian Maritime Party.
But the principle of social equality is important for us so that all children can attend school, regardless of religion, place of residence and material wealth of their parents. We hope that over time, the educational institution will conclude an agreement with the city council to create a certain number of budget places so that children from large and low-income families who are unable to pay for education can also attend school. If the city pays for utilities from the budget, we will be able to teach half of the schoolchildren for free.
Now while all the deputies are busy with the upcoming elections, they have no time for that. I think the agreement will be concluded with the new deputy corps of the Odessa City Council. In the future, it is possible to educate children from nearby suburbs and areas. After all, there are many talented children in this or that field of knowledge, athletes. This proposal of mine has already been supported by the Regional Council, Governor Maksim Vasilyevich Kutsy has become interested in the idea. In order for children living in the Odessa region to have the opportunity to study at the International Academic School "Odessa", it will be necessary to build a school campus, there is a place for one on the territory of the educational complex.
- What would you like to wish the citizens of Odessa who are interested in studying at the School of the Future?
- I think it's better to see once than hear a hundred times. Believe me, you will have something to see. Work is now being completed on the creation of an exemplary schoolyard. We are completing the improvement of the territory and the green zone. In the spring we planted 72 pine. The whole Akademicheskaya Street is also being transformed. Landscaping is being carried out there, trees and bushes will be planted.
And our school, I am sure, will become a decoration of the city of Odessa. I am grateful to our political force - the Ukrainian Maritime Party, which strongly supported the construction of this complex. Without its support, it is unlikely that we would have been able to make the dream of the school of the Future come true. Welcome to the International Academic School "Odessa"!