The 1920's... St. Petersburg's streets are full of gangs of homeless kids. From time to time some of them are caught and placed into a special school which is named after Dostoyevsky ('SHKola Imeni Dostoyevskogo' - hence the name SHKID). SHKID has gathered hungry, but impudent and sharp kids. This shelter of comedians is ruled by an 'old-school' principal (brilliantly played by young Sergei Yursky), an honourable and intelligent man. His disarming trust gains childrens' trust in return, helps them not to lose themselves in those vague times, makes them grow from unruly kids into thoughtful and caring members of adult society.
The film is based on the eponymous book, written by two former street gangsters - Grigori Belykh and Leonid Panteleyev. Film is set in the 1920s St. Petersburg, Russia. Streets of the city are full of the homeless boys. They are caught to be raised and educated at the correction school named after Dostoevsky. The boys are street smart and difficult. But the faculty stands up to the challenge. The teaches are being devoted and caring, and gradually win the respect of the most difficult kids. The school director (Yursky) is a refined intellectual, who becomes a role model for the boys.