Launched in the late 1960s, the ACTR Olympiada of Spoken Russian is the oldest of ACTR’s secondary school activities. Drawing on the long-established practice of oral exams and competitions, the Olympiada has provided successive generations of American high school and middle school students of Russian with a forum in which to demonstrate their achievement in Russian language study, while conversing with other speakers of Russian and meeting with students of Russian from schools other than their own.
State/Regional Olympiada competitions take place throughout the United States from February through April. Participants may earn gold, silver, or bronze medals in recognition of their proficiency in Russian conversation, poetry recitation, and Russian civilization at various levels of study.
Questions? Comments? Contact the Olympiada National Co-Chairs: Betsy Sandstrom at betsysandstrom at gmail.com, Camelot Marshall at camelot.marshall at gmail.com, and Brooke Ballenger at ballengerb at scsk12.org. To receive information about the ACTR Russian Language Olympiada of Spoken Russian, please send inquiries to actrolympiada at gmail.com.
The ACTR Olympiada of Spoken Russian is a unique and enjoyable event. There is no other language contest like it in the United States. The ACTR Olympiada will give your students the opportunity to
- gain confidence in their ability to speak Russian,
- demonstrate some familiarity with Russian civilization,
- acquire a sense of achievement,
- be recognized for their efforts to master a very challenging language,
- interact with students of Russian from other schools.
The ACTR Olympiada of Spoken Russian fosters teamwork and collegiality among Russian teachers in states and regions throughout the United States. It is an ideal way to promote the study of Russian in your school as well as at the district, state, and national levels.
Working with one or more colleagues, Olympiada coordinators plan, organize, and administer regional or state contests. To share the burden of organizing this event and to ensure continuity from year to year, it is strongly recommended that states/regions, especially those with a large number of schools and participants, be represented by at least two coordinators. Coordinators will report the results of their Olympiada contests immediately following the competition. Coordinators are invited to take part in an internet-mediated meeting in late fall to review the Olympiada contests of the previous year, to discuss issues facing the Olympiada, and to suggest modification of Olympiada rules and regulations as necessary.
Each regional contest should follow the format of the International Olympiada:
Part I Speaking about yourself, everyday conversation
Part II Civilization
Part III Reading and discussion; recitation of a poem
Olympiada Coordinators may also wish to consider combining the Olympiada Contest with a:
Olympiada coordinators are asked to encourage participation by all eligible schools in their state or region, including community-based programs (e.g. programs for speakers of Russian as a heritage language or second language). The Membership Secretary of ACTR will provide a list of potential participating schools and their contact information. Chairs can also consult the Directory of Members for possible participants and judges in their regions/states.
Participation in the ACTR Olympiada of Spoken Russian
High school and middle school students of Russian
$6 per student. All students must be registered by a current member of the ACTR. Some states or regions require a school registration fee. ACTR covers other program expenses.
Olympiada Preparation Materials (All levels)
School Registration Form (.doc)
Student Registration Form (.doc)
All students participating in the ACTR Olympiada of Spoken Russian must have a sponsor, who will register the students in advance of the event and chaperone the students at the event.
STUDENTS ENROLLED IN A FORMAL PROGRAM OF RUSSIAN STUDY
1) The sponsor will be the student’s Russian teacher. Teachers who register student participants must be current members of the American Council of Teachers of Russian as shown in the ACTR Directory of Members. They should enroll only students that they themselves teach.
2) Students in a school or other institution that offers a formal Russian program must be currently enrolled in a Russian class.
STUDENTS NOT ENROLLED IN A FORMAL PROGRAM OF RUSSIAN STUDY
1) If a student's school does not have a formal Russian language program, he or she may participate with the approval of the state or regional coordinator;
2) If the school or institution has a formal Russian program in which the student is not enrolled, he/she may not register for the Olympiada, unless he/she has exhausted all of the school’s offerings in Russian;
3) If the student is otherwise eligible, a teacher, tutor, or other adult may sponsor the student.
The sponsor must become a Regular Member of ACTR, pay the appropriate dues in the Pre-College Teachers category, and chaperone the student at the Olympiada.
4) If the state or regional competition collects a school participation fee in addition to the ACTR participation fee (currently $6.00), it will be the state or regional coordinator's decision as to whether an individual student participant's sponsor is liable for that fee.
CATEGORIES FOR REGISTRATION
Most students will register in this category according to their level of study (e.g., Russian I students in Level I, etc.). These are students whose knowledge of Russian was acquired in a United States classroom, more or less exclusively.
Heritage Learners are students who arrived in the United States prior to and including age 10, from countries where Russian is a required language in school or is spoken by a sizable portion of the population. The Heritage Learners will compete in their own separate category.
For the purposes of the competition, Heritage Learners should be registered one level higher than his or her level of study (i.e. first-year students register as second-year, etc.)
This category is for students who arrived in the United States after the age of 10 from countries where Russian is a required language or is spoken by a sizable portion of the population.
In cases where a student’s category is not self-evident, sponsors should consult with the state/regional coordinators. The ultimate decision as to the proper classification of such students rests with the state/regional coordinators. Teachers are urged to distinguish carefully between heritage learners and native speakers.
Teachers should register students directly with their state/regional coordinators, using the format designated and within the deadline established by them.
For all students the registration fee is $6.00. All teachers or adults who sponsor and chaperone students must be members of ACTR for the current year (renew or enter a new membership now).
State/Regional coordinators shall be responsible for verifying the membership status of teachers participating in their Olympiada.
PAYMENT FOR REGISTRATION can be made by credit card or check. Below are instructions for each option.
PAYMENT BY CREDIT CARD:
Schools and districts should follow the instructions at the following link: https://actr.wildapricot.org/page-18130.
Once payment has been accepted, the receipt must be forwarded to the regional coordinator who will then send it electronically to the email address: ACTROlympiada@gmail.com.
PAYMENT BY CHECK:
Please remind your schools that checks must be made out to
American Councils for International Education
with "Olympiada Fees" in the memo line.
There are no refunds for students who do not participate after registration.
Registration fees should be collected by the state/regional coordinator and forwarded together to the designated national co-chair (currently Betsy Sandstrom), who will record the payments and send them to the ACTR Treasurer.
Checks: payable to: American Councils for International Education.
Please include Olympiada in the subject line of the check.
Mail to: American Councils for International Education, 1828 L Street NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20036,
Attention: Betsy Sandstrom
Medals and certificates will NOT be issued to students of a school until payment for registration fees has reached the designated national co-chair.
Judges use a 100-point scale for scoring.
At the end of the competition, scores for the three parts are averaged; medals and certificates are awarded as follows:
• 90-100 points - Gold medal and certificate
• 80-89 points - Silver medal and certificate
• 70-79 points - Bronze medal and certificate
• below 69 points - Honorable Mention
All contestants who, in the opinion of the state or regional coordinator, seriously participate in the Olympiada should receive at least an honorable mention. This award is recognized with a certificate (but no medal).
MEDALS AND CERTIFICATES
Each school will automatically receive certificates and medals upon successful completion of their respective Olympiadas and upon receipt of complete results and registration fees from the state or regional coordinator. Results should be sent to the designated national co-chairs (currently Betsy Sandstrom, Camelot Marshall, and Brooke Ballenger) using the template provided.
At this time, there is no National Olympiada event, neither in person nor virtual. If there are updates or revisions to this event, ACTR will share them with its members.
Every year, the coordinators of the state/regional Olympiada contests will consult with their respective judges and select one (1) non-heritage and one (1) heritage learner contestant to be recognized for outstanding achievement in Russian language study, as evidenced by their performance in the competition and, in some cases, other criteria (e.g., years spent in study of the language). The names and full-face color photo shall be sent to the chair(s) for printing in the ACTR Newsletter. In addition, a book prize may be awarded to each of the winners, if funds are available. Students may be so honored only once.