One of the core goals of Community Commons is to promote multicultural education by facilitating cross-cultural ties and exchanges. To fulfill this goal Community Commons incorporated San Diego Russian School (SDRS) in 2010 with the aim to expand a small heritage program into a comprehensive language and immersion education system serving students of any age or fluency in Russian.
By organizing a classroom space, hiring pedagogues and providing promotion opportunities Community Commons has tripled the number of classes offered by SDRS and increased its attendance fourfold. Today, SDRS offers twelve classes in a variety of subjects.
The goal of these courses is to teach students how to write in grammatically correct Russian while exploring Russian literature. Students are expected to read class material and write homework assignments. The school owns a library which provides students with educational and fictional books they can check out and take home.
Russian Speech Development and Rhetoric
This class is only offered to younger students. It focuses on bettering students’ accent and rhetorical skills to be able to interact in Russian fluently in a way that a native could understand. We organize fun activities where the students get a chance to express their ideas and learn about the Russian culture.
This class is designed for upperclassmen and adults, taught by a professional translator and foreign language teacher. Students learn how to translate English texts to Russian and vice versa. This skill will allow students to apply their bilingualism in occupational field and harness it to boost their career skills.
This course encompasses fifteen centuries of Russian history from the migration period of the Slavic tribes until the end of the 20th century. The class is intentionally made for children living in America and has a specialized focus on the interconnection and parallels of American and Russian histories. The classes are so intriguing and engaging that many of the parents stay with their kids during class to see the fascinating presentations.
The teachers understand how hard it is for adolescents raised in U.S. to comprehend the complexity and beauty of works by renowned Russian writers. The curriculum was specifically designed to make classical writers relatable and enjoyable to someone who has no background information about the nation. The students also make connections between the works they read and their own lives, writing amazing reflective essays on the subject.
This course introduces our students to the geography of America, Russia and world. Students learn about historically significant places and their names in Russian, which is imperative for studying the history of the country. Students also analyze political and economic maps, expanding their knowledge of large cities, landmarks and climate patterns. In addition, the class for older students studies the effects of geography on recent political events.
Students learn about Russian artists and do virtual tours of art museums in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. By studying these works children learn about prominent Russian historical figures, visualize the lives of people in different time periods and see the beauty of Eastern European nature.
Decorative Master Class
This is a very fun class which acquaints students with the Russian culture from a new angle. Students learn about different traditional trades and master a variety of Russian painting styles (Khokhloma, Mezen, etc.) in a professional art studio. Students leave the class with beautiful art pieces they have created in a traditional Russian style.
History of Russian Cinematography
Here we take a visual angle to analyze and understand the Russian culture. Children learn about great Russian producers, actors and their films. The movies are often selected to complement SDRS history and literature lessons.
This course focuses on providing students with tools which will help them develop in their future careers. Students are introduced to computer programming through the Microsoft Small Basic language and learn about the Windows operating system, Power Point, Excel, and Photoshop. This class provides an ideal environment for children to actively interact with each other in Russian in a professional medium.
Introduction to Careers
This is not a specific course but something we integrate into other courses on a regular basis. We invite specialists of different professions to speak as guest lecturers and inspire students to follow their passions. Throughout the year our students meet scientists, theater specialists, designers, UCSD professors, and artists. Our students also meet UCSD undergraduates completing a major in Russian Studies. We organize occasional field trips in line with the topics being taught to enhance the learning experience. For example, for Russian History and Art History classes we take the students to museums and exhibitions that are associated with the Russian culture.
This is a general course that serves different purposes depending on the age group. They prepare pre-school children to enter the academic environment and provide older students with language skills they need to excel in other courses at SDRS. Teachers use methods and material from a professional language teaching school that rapidly improves students’ speaking, reading and writing abilities in Russian. The goal is to efficiently raise the comprehension level of the students so they can learn alongside their peers.