Prelacy Armenian Schools’ Annual Professional Development Day A Success!

A scene from the professional development day

The Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools held its Annual Professional Development Day (APDD) on Friday, November 9, 2012, at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School.

The seminar was attended by all the Prelacy Armenian School administrators, teachers, and staff.  With the invitation of the Board of Regents, also in attendance were the faculty and staff of the following Armenian schools in Los Angeles: Charlotte & Elise Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School and TCA Arshag Dikranian Armenian School, with their entire faculty; teachers and representatives from AGBU Manoogian Demirjian Armenian School, Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian Armenian School, Sahag Mesrob Armenian Christian School, and ARS Saturday Schools. A total of 378 educators were in attendance.

Hovan Tashjian, Executive Director of the Board of Regents, commenced the seminar by welcoming all the attendees. After the Armenian and American pledges, the Board of Regents Co-Chair Maggie Sarkuni addressed the attendees. Mrs. Sarkuni expressed her appreciation to all the educators who were present at the seminar, and emphasized the importance of professional development in order to stay up to date with all the advancements in this fast-changing field. On behalf of the Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools Mrs. Sarkuni thanked the administration and the School Board of Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School for hosting the Annual Professional Development Day. Houri Arslanian Keuroghlian, Board of Regents member, presented the day’s agenda and provided a general overview of the scheduled sessions and their presenters.

The agenda of the day was divided into three sessions.

After the official opening of the day, Dr. Katherine Fundukian-Thorossian, assistant superintendent of educational services at Glendale Unified School District, delivered the keynote address, titled “Celebrating Traditional Values; Promoting 21st Century Skills” to all participants. Dr. Fundukian-Thorossian, having been a graduate of Mesrobian Armenian School, is well aware and well informed about the state of Armenian Schools, as well as the challenges facing our students in regards to their identity. With personal and real life examples, she discussed in detail the current challenges teachers are facing. Dr. Fundukian-Thorossian reflected on the significance of educational traditions and the importance to keep up to date with the advancement and innovations of the 21st century.

Following the keynote address, was the second session designated to a special workshop, during which Lisa Reed, assistant principal at GUSD’s Crescenta Valley High School, presented “Introduction to Common Core State Standards.” This session was geared for Kindergarten through 12th grade educators. Mrs. Reed gave a brief overview of the new Common Core State Standards and their impact on instruction in California, the urgency of the Common Core Standards, what students must know and be able to do and how the Common Core should be implemented in schools.

At the same time, during the second session, the Preschool teachers participated in a special workshop during which Dr. Onnik Hayrapetian, Professor at Mashdots College, presented “The History of the Armenian Language and Orthography.”

This year a special workshop was organized for Physical Education teachers and coaches. The workshop was separated into two sessions. During the second session of the APDD, Craig Impelman and Lynn Guerin presented the first part of the “Wooden Way” Team Course, which was based on the values, principles, wisdom, and life lessons of legendary UCLA basketball coach and teacher, John Robert Wooden. The Wooden Team held the second part of their training immediately following the lunch break. This part of the training was a hands-on workshop held in the basketball gymnasium, where the Physical Education teachers and coaches were given the opportunity to work on the application of Coach Wooden’s approach and philosophy through role playing exercises to apply to everyday coaching and teaching.

Following the lunch break, the third and final session included eleven workshops, during which the following topics were presented:

  1. “HR/The Role of the Principal to Improve Teacher Performance.” The presenter, Dr. Pedro Garcia is a Professor of Clinical Education at USC’s Rossier School of Education. This session was organized for all school principals, preschool directors, vice-principals, and academic directors.
  2. “Assessment in the Era of Common Core State Standards.” The presenter Dr. Marine Avagyan is the Coordinator of Curriculum and Special Projects in Glendale Unified School District.
    “Incorporating Critical Thinking into Instruction” presented by Lisa Reed, Assistant Principal at GUSD’s Crescenta Valley High School .
  3. “Characteristics of Learning Disabilities and Strategies.” This session was presented by Corky O’Rourke, Private School Coordinator for Foothill SELPA.
  4. “Comprehending Expository Text Chapters by Using Specific Strategies.”  The presenter, Dr. Janice Pilgreen, is the Program Chair of Reading and a professor of literacy education for candidates in the graduate reading program at University of La Verne.
  5. “Teaching History and The Common Core Standards” was presented by Dr. Lisa Hutton, an Associate Professor in the School of Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and the director of the California History-Social Science Project at Dominguez Hills.
  6. “Teaching Scientific Inquiry Using the Inverted Classroom Model.” The presenter Dr. Paul Narguizian, is an associate professor of biological sciences and science education at California State University, Los Angeles.
  7. “Your First Step into the  Common Core Standards For Math” was presented by Matt Hamo, a Mathematics teacher in the Glendale Unified School District.
  8. “Integrating Technology into the Armenian Classroom.” The presenter, Saro Nazarian, is a teacher and Armenian Department Chairperson at Vahan and Anoush Chamlian Armenian School. This workshop was designated to Armenian subject teachers.
  9. The “Wooden Way” Course was led by Craig Impelman and Lynn Guerin. As previously mentioned, Physical Education teachers and coaches participated in this two-session workshop.
  10. “The comparison and distinction of Eastern and Western Armenian.”  The presenter, Dr. Onnik Hayrapetian, is a Professor at Mashdots College. This session was organized for all Preschool teachers.

The Borad of Regents announced that this year’s one-day seminar was a great success. The Annual Professional Development Day has become a yearly tradition during which our teachers have the opportunity to attend educational workshops presented by professional lecturers. These workshops are designed to further advance the educational knowledge of the participants, while expanding their horizons with innovative and new educational approaches.

The Annual Professional Development Day organized by the Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools also serves as a unique opportunity for educators of Armenian Schools to come together, get acquainted with one another, and share their experiences and expertise.

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