Instead of engineers, there will be seamstresses: a school for gifted children is being dispersed in St. Petersburg

Instead of engineers, there will be seamstresses: a school for gifted children is being dispersed in St. Petersburg

Instead of engineers, there will be seamstresses: a school for gifted children is being dispersed in St. Petersburg

22 July, 14:03
Photo: 1MI
A scandal erupted around the mathematical laboratory, which trained 600 gifted children. At the request of the authorities, the project with a 30-year history must leave the premises in city schools.

How to keep the team, resume the educational process and where to go for children who are left without schools? No one has any answers yet.

Alexander Dybin, St. Petersburg

The Laboratory for Continuing Mathematical Education (LNMO) is a non-profit private educational organization that operates on the basis of several schools in the Admiralteisky district of St. Petersburg. The school provided in-depth knowledge in mathematics, engineering, biology, and the humanities. Lessons were taught, including university professors. Education was paid, but feasible - about 10 thousand rubles a month. For the query "LNMO" in the search engine, there are numerous news about the victories of students in international competitions and olympiads, the success stories of graduates. In the last year alone, students have received about 400 awards. In 2015, LNMO student Danil Fialkovsky received the Grand Award, which is called the “small Nobel Prize”. But in 2022, the administration of the Admiralteisky district decided to stop everything. In June, the leadership of the LNMO received a notification that they would terminate the lease agreements for premises in three schools, and after trying to complain above, the offices were sealed, blocking expensive equipment and personal belongings of teachers.

As Maria Chistyakova , deputy director of the LNMO, told Novye Izvestia, the laboratory was able to gain access to its property only with the help of lawyers and a threat to contact the prosecutor's office. According to Chistyakova, it is not entirely clear what influenced the attitude of officials. In this format, the school worked for 30 years, prepared gifted children, everything suited everyone. In addition, children from all over the city entered the LNMO, they filled the schools of the Admiralteisky district, which lacked children with a residence permit. In fact, the children were enrolled in a public school, which provided knowledge within the framework of the federal state standard (FGOS) and received funding for these students. Anything beyond that was provided by the lab.

But last year, the management changed in one of the schools, the new director of school No. 241, Galina Timofeeva, immediately told her colleagues that she planned to open a training course for seamstresses and auto mechanics at the school, and she needed premises.

“The district administration supported her, she, and then two more schools, terminated the contracts with us,” says Maria Chistyakova , “now what has been created for 30 years is being destroyed. It looks very strange against the background of what the president says that the country needs engineers, scientists, programmers. We already have well-established engineering classes, with good equipment, great teachers, motivated children, and all this is being killed. Our project is absolutely pro-government and can easily be replicated, implemented in other cities, and train new specialists that the country needs. We tried to negotiate with the district administration. We were told that there are some tasks related to the fact that private institutions do not work in public schools. Formal reason: our agreement with schools does not comply with the law. Allegedly, two lease agreements and cooperation agreements contradict each other. But this is not so, they are generally about different things, and are not connected with each other in any way. But even so, why didn’t anyone care about this in the spring, last year, why doesn’t the administration ask itself this question, how did they sign such agreements?”

The hostages of this situation immediately became children. About 600 children studied at LNMO. About 150 more entered this year in grades 5-6, that is, they took documents from their old schools. These are kids from all over the city. The laboratory was expelled in June, when all the admission procedures for other schools were already completed, they are not accepted by registration. During the month that the situation is developing, the parents wrote about 500 letters from the district authorities to the president.

“The children were in love with this school, with the teachers,” says Anna Melnikova , a representative of the laboratory’s parent council, “even teachers who can bring something more were selected to teach within the framework of the state standard. For the sake of what all this is done is not clear. We have many versions of what exactly happened there, we do not know. The position of public schools is constantly changing. Either the director of school No. 241 says that she will conduct her classes, then she won’t, then we prevent her from enrolling children in the first grade. But the enrollment took place in May, and it was possible to sign up for public services, how did we interfere? The school is designed for 1000 children, and there are only 250 in it, including ours. There is enough space for everyone. Another school where LANMO worked - 225 - I - won a grant with the participation of our children, who are now being kicked out.

According to Anna Melnikova , the officials offered LNMO to re-register as a private school, but this would immediately hit the families' budget. Now part of the education goes according to the Federal State Educational Standard and the costs are covered from the budget, parents pay only for specialized classes. If the school becomes completely private, you will have to pay at least 40,000 rubles per child.

“Yes, no one says that we should pick up the documents, we can continue to study, but this is not the best school in the city and does not match the strengths of our children. We will get a federal education in any school, but it makes no sense to travel an hour one way for this. We wrote letters everywhere while we receive unsubscribes. Everything is against us. Why couldn't we start solving this problem earlier? Give time to re-register, find other sites. This was done in the summer, when there was no time left to find a school for children, because there are graduates who need to prepare for the Unified State Examination, and not join a new class. They did not give time to find a solution for the LNMO. Now we are asking for at least a year to study everything and find a solution.”

According to Maria Chistyakova, not only the LNMO school, which operates on the basis of three educational institutions of the Admiralteisky district, is under threat, but also the whole educational environment that was created around the laboratory: scientific competitions, a system of seminars and special courses, teachers gave up to 60 lectures to students a week city universities. The Baltic scientific and engineering competition, which has been held since 2005 and united hundreds of children from St. Petersburg, is under threat. How to carry it out in the current conditions is not clear.

The director of school No. 241, Galina Timofeyeva, refused to communicate with the Novye Izvestia correspondent, citing a ban from the district education department. It was not possible to find the head of the department, Maria Mikhailenko, at the workplace. Novye Izvestia sent a request to the press service of the government of St. Petersburg. At the time of publication, the editors did not receive a response from Smolny.

Speaking about the future fate of the laboratory, Maria Chistkova says that the main task is to preserve the teams: well-formed classes with gifted children and a unique teaching staff.

“While I don’t see how we could exist outside the usual format, because everything was adjusted to the base at the school, everything was debugged and worked well”, - she says, “any other format can destroy this logic. Children are accustomed to loads of 60 hours, motivated children need such loads. Let's think about what to do next".

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