Razdolna and Nikolaevsk will be sharing a Russian teacher starting this fall. This is the first time in eight years either school has had a dedicated teacher for the language.
Effimia Litvin will be splitting time between the two villages. And in order to make the commute a little easier, Razdolna Principal Teacher Tim Whip said she will be moving from Kachemak-Selo to Homer.
Litvin has been an English Language Learner, or ELL, tutor for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District in the past. Whip said she will teach academic and modern Russian to the students for a full day. Right now, there are only lessons of either 30 or 45 minutes during the day with the school’s current ELL teacher.
“She might be supporting in the science class or a math class helping with translating from Russian to English or English to Russian. On the days that we won’t be here at the school, then we’ll have the ELL person continuing whatever the program Effimia has started,” he said.
Whip said there are still a few things to work out with Nikolaevsk, like how the schedule with work out between the two schools. Although both are Old Believer villages, they recognize holidays slightly differently.
“What we have to finalize are the actual work days. Razdolna starts a week before Nikolaevsk does, so I’ll be getting with Mr. Sellers and we’ll say these are the days she’ll be at Razdolna and these are the days she’ll be at Nikolaevsk,” he said.
Parents had been pushing the district for the last several years to hire a teacher. Over the last few months, many parents were making the drive to Soldotna to speak during district school board meetings. Whip said he’s been hearing that the community is excited to finally have a dedicated Russian teacher.
“They’d still like to have a full-time Russian teacher, but they’re pretty satisfied with a half-time,” he said.
But the population of either school would need to grow before the district could allow for a full-time teacher. The number of students at Razdolna has doubled since the 2009-2010 school year while Nikolaevsk’s population has remained about the same.