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Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Report for the Department of Greek Education

Report to the Archdiocesan Council
September 27, 2002



THE ARCHDIOCESAN SCHOOL SYSTEM

1) Greek Orthodox Parochial Day Schools

September marks the beginning of our ecclesiastical year as well as a new beginning in school life for the young students enrolled in the Greek Orthodox Parochial Day Schools and the Greek Afternoon Schools of our Holy Archdiocese.

At present, there are 18 parochial day schools functioning throughout the United States, under the auspices of our Holy Archdiocese, with a total enrollment of 4,056 for the current school year 2002-03. They are located as follows: 2 in California; 1 in Florida; 2 in Illinois; 1 in Massachusetts; 11 in New York; and 1 in Texas.

Greek Orthodox Parochial day schools maintain pre-school centers, kindergartens, elementary and secondary grades and offer a program of studies that adheres to both local and state curricula. In addition, they incorporate within their curriculum the teaching of the Greek Orthodox faith and the Modern Greek language, history and culture.



2) Early Childhood Programs

We are pleased to report that a number of parishes across the United States have started early childhood programs in the last few years. Each school has expanded their program by adding one grade class each year. However, all have the potential to expand to full-day parochial schools.

The parishes, which currently sustain early childhood programs and early elementary grades, have reported a total enrollment of 314 students for the school year 2002-03. They are:

Holy Cross, Pittsburgh, PA (T.H.E.O.S. School) Pre-School — 3rd Grade

Prophet Elias, Salt Lake City, UT (St. Sophia School) Pre-K — 5th Grade

Holy Trinity, Dallas, TX Pre-School to 2nd Grade

Holy Trinity, Birmingham, AL Pre-Nursery to Kindergarten

St. Haralambos, Niles, IL Pre-School to Kindergarten

It should be noted here that Dr. Christal Chaney, principal of the Three Hierarchs Eastern Orthodox School (T.H.E.O.S.) in Pittsburgh, was the main presenter of an educational session at the 36th

Clergy Laity Congress in Los Angeles, which was devoted exclusively to the establishment of early childhood programs by parishes. Dr. Chaney gave an excellent presentation on the T.H.E.O.S program and provided the participants with useful handouts.

The Rev. John Chakos of Holy Cross, Pittsburgh, and Dr. Christal Chaney have made themselves available to the Archdiocesan Department of Education and are willing to advise anyone who is interested in starting an early childhood program within the framework of a Greek Orthodox parish.



3) Greek Afternoon Schools & Modern Greek Classes for Adults

There are more than 300 parishes that maintain after school Greek language and culture classes. It is estimated that 25,000 — 30,000 students, ages 6-15, are currently enrolled in these programs.

Furthermore, a great number of adults of Greek and non-Greek ancestry attend evening classes in Modern Greek.



THE ARCHDIOCESAN DEPARTMENT OF GREEK EDUCATION

The Archdiocesan Department of Greek Education’s main objective is to promote the teaching of the Modern Greek language, Greek history and culture and all that constitutes our Greek Orthodox heritage. To fulfill its mission, the Department provides community schools

1) On the National Level with:

  • Curriculum Guidelines & Informative Materials

  • Books and Audio/Visual Aids

  • Certificates, Diplomas, and Awards

2) On the Archdiocesan District Level:

  • Develops and administers annually the Modern Greek Language Comprehensive Examination, which offers students in New York the opportunity to obtain credits in a foreign language in public high schools;

  • Organizes -- in collaboration with state, city, and other educational authorities -- teacher seminars and workshops;

  • Participates in meetings of the New York State Education Department and other nonpublic school agencies acting as the liaison of the NYC parochial day schools;

  • Holds regular bi-monthly meetings with principals of the New York area parochial day school;

  • Coordinates the annual Spelling Bee Contest among the day school students in N.Y.C.;

  • Organizes annual festivities honoring Greek Letters and Arts;

  • Attends various school programs, graduation exercises, and other events.



Current Activities

Principals Meetings

The Department of Greek Education held its first for the new school year meeting of the day school principals in metropolitan New York on Thursday, September 12th, at St. Demetrios School in Astoria.

A major topic on the principals’ agenda was the upcoming Staff Development Seminar scheduled to take place on November 4 and 5. The principals also discussed the recommended by the Archdiocesan Department of Greek Education Teachers Salary Scale, pension and health insurance benefits for day school teachers, and the existing Regulations of the System of Greek Education.

Among the views expressed was their wish to speak and act as a unified body under the umbrella of the Archdiocese. Other topics of discussion included plans for the Greek Letters Day Celebration in January 2003 and participation in state conferences. The principals will meet again on October 18th.



The Cycladic Art Foundation

The Cycladic Art Foundation, an affiliate of the Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation (Athens,Greece), has funded a grant to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in order to provide a children’s program in Cycladic and ancient Greek Art to students in the Greek Orthodox Parochial Schools in New York.

At the invitation of the Archdiocesan Department of Greek Education, Mrs. Estelle Sotirhos, member of the Board of Directors of the Cycladic Art Foundation, Mr.Nicholas Ruocco, Education Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and his assistant Ms. Eileen Flanagan presented their plans to the principals of the parochial day schools of metropolitan New York at their meeting, on September 12th. The principals were pleased to accept CAF’s offer, which will consist of the following educational programs:

  • Met Goes to School (staff development for teachers & on-site programs for students);

  • Meet the Met (an offsite program for after school activities);

  • Off Site Family Festivals (aiming at family involvement).

Annual Staff Development Seminar

The Department of Education is currently preparing for its annual Staff Development Seminar to be held on November 4 & 5, at St. Demetrios School in Astoria, New York.

Held under the aegis of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, this year’s Staff Development Seminar will offer in-service training to all the teachers who serve in the parochial day and the afternoon schools of the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT). Over 300 teachers are expected to attend.

The Seminar will include workshops for the teachers of the English curriculum such as: classroom management; guided reading; cooperative learning; science; math; Internet and Web-page design.

Greek teachers will be offered workshops on the current methodologies for the teaching of foreign languages. Mrs. Evangelia Georgantzi, a well-known Greek writer of books for teaching the Greek language to foreigners has been invited to be one of the presenters. In addition, Mrs. Donna Kondylis-Geller will give a presentation on the Kindergarten Curriculum, currently under development. Mrs. Geller heads the writers team.



Hellenic American Union

Mr. Dimitri Tolias, Director of Greek Studies of the Hellenic American Union, Athens, Greece, will visit the Archdiocese on October 7 & 8. Accompanying him will be testing expert and teacher trainer, Ms. Vaso Kourbani, and Mr. Alexis Tagaris, director of Information Technology of HAU.

The purpose of Mr. Tolias’ visit to the Archdiocese is to follow up on plans for collaboration between HAU, a testing center and teaching institute, known throughout Europe and the Balkans, and the Archdiocesan Department of Greek Education. Plans include collaboration on the development and evaluation of the annual Comprehensive Examination in Modern Greek (Regents) as well as design of a teacher preparatory program that will certify competency in teaching the Greek language.



The Niarchos Foundation Grant

Following a formal proposal, the Archdiocesan Department of Greek Education received a grant of $100,000 from the Niarchos Foundation in December of 2000. The funds were granted towards the development of curricula and materials for the teaching of the Greek language and culture. As a result, the Department has been working on the following two publications:

  1. A Compilation of the Examinations in Modern Greek of the Past 10 Years, which is ready for publication and consists of two booklets: one for the teacher and one for the students.

    The booklets will include materials suitable for the teaching of the Greek language as well as assessing student proficiency in grades 7-9. Frequently used Greek words, phrases and idioms will also be included in the publications.

  2. A Curriculum for Kindergarten, currently under development. The project is expected to finish by December 2002.

    The K-Curriculum will follow the New York State Guidelines and eventually consist of a teacher edition, a student book, and posters.

Prepared by

MARIA MAKEDON
Archdiocesan District Director