450 Educators Attend Professional Development Day Seminar

A scene from this year's Professional Development Day Seminar, at at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School

ENCINO—The Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools held its Annual Professional Development Day on Friday, November 8, at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School, with an unprecedented 450 educators from schools throughout California in attendance.

Alongside the Prelacy Armenian Schools and Preschools, this year teachers and faculty from the following Armenian schools in Los Angeles attended the seminar: Charlotte & Elise Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School, TCA Arshag Dikranian Armenian School, Sahag Mesrob Armenian Christian School, AGBU Manoogian Demirjian Armenian School, St. Gregory Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian Armenian School, Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School of Fresno.

Houri Arslanian Keuroghlian, Board of Regents secretary, commenced the seminar and invited Maggie Sarkuni, Board of Regents Co-Chair, to address the attendees. Sarkuni, welcomed the educators and expressed her appreciation to their dedicated service and commitment. She specially emphasized the importance of professional development of our educators and said “continuing education is very important for all of us. We are all learners and we should constantly try to improve our performance. So we hope that today’s program will help us achieve that goal.” In her remarks, Sarkuni, thanked the administration and the School Board of Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School for hosting the Annual Professional Development Day and Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and the Executive Council of the Western Prelacy for their continuous support. Sarkuni then invited Arshbishop Moushegh Mardirossian to precede the official opening of the seminar with a prayer.

After the prayer, Archbishop Mardirossian expressed his appreciation and stated: “professional development and continuing education is important in any field, but especially in teaching, for our teachers are one of the most valuable facets of society and have a profound impact on our students and through them on our society. Teachers are doing a valuable service not only to each individual student, but to society in general; given this mighty obligation, it is crucial for our teachers to have ongoing opportunities to learn from one another, to share knowledge, wisdom, and experiences.”

After the Armenian and American anthems, Board of Regents Secretary and APDD Task Force member, Houri Arslanian Keuroghlian, on her part welcomed all the attendees and stated, “I believe that this impressive gathering here today, represents the true leadership of our community. As teachers, Principals, Directors, and faculty, you are entrusted with the sacred mission of educating our future generations by wholeheartedly devoting your souls and all your efforts to serve our educational mission. We are proud of you and we commend your dedication and commitment in instilling the national identity of our students and shaping their educational and human growth.” Henceforth Keuroghlian 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 opening of the seminar Dr. Alina Dorian, Principal of Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School, presented the first session titled “Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan and the Role of Faculty and Staff.” With a professional approach and practical examples, Dr. Dorian discussed the importance of establishing a specific response plan and to be prepared to better handle emergencies.

The subject and presentation of emergency response plans was selected by the Board of Regents with a specific consideration. During the past several years, we have witnesses countless disasters at schools around the nation that could also affect the safety of our students and staff. Having this reality in mind, for the past several years, the Board of Regents under the leadership of Dr. Alina Dorian have been reviewing and revising the emergency preparedness and response plans of all Prelacy Armenian Schools and Preschools. We are pleased that the Prelacy Armenian Schools and Preschools conduct emergency lockdown drills several times during the academic year, in order to ensure our preparedness to be able to handle emergency circumstances and ensure the safety of our students and staff.

The second session included twelve workshops, during which the following topics were presented:
1. “Supervision of Instruction.” This workshop was presented by Ms. Sosie Garboushian Kralian. The workshop was attended by Principals, Vice Principals and Counselors.
2. “Intro. to Heritage Languages and Heritage Speakers/Learners.” This workshop was presented by Shushan Karapetian, Phd Cand. UCLA. The workshop was attended by Armenian subject teachers.
3. “Teaching the Learner: Principles & Strategies of Heritage Language Education.” This workshop was presented by Ms. Maria Carreira. The workshop was attended by Armenian subject teachers.
4. “Brain Based Lesson Design.” This workshop was presented by Dr. Frank Rodriguez.
5. “Common core: 21st Century Skills Through the Use of Simple Technology.” This workshop was presented by Dr. Mary Mardirosian.
6. “Essentials for ELA Curriculum Redesign for the Common Core.” This workshop was presented by Ms. Liz Weaver.
7. “Common Core: Making the Instructional Shifts in Mathematics.” This workshop was presented by Lisa Reed.
8. “How to deal with learning challenges in the classroom.” This workshop was presented by Corky O’Rourke.
9. “A Practical Strength-Based Approach to Classroom Management.” This workshop was presented by Ms. Jill Grayson.
10. “Cyber Bullying/Internet Safety and the Law.” This workshop was presented by Officer Chris Baldonado, CHP.
11. “Coaching True Success: The Wooden Way – Part II.” This workshop was presented by Lynn E. Guerin & Craig Impelman. The 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,” 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 during the third session. 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 which can be applied to everyday coaching and teaching.
12. “California Preschool Learning Foundations.” This workshop was presented by Jeanette Tashiro. The workshop was attended by Preschool teachers.

In order to give the participants the opportunity to attend more than one workshop, following the lunch break, the third and final session included the same workshops mentioned above except for the Preschool teachers, who attended a special session titled “Effective Communication skills.” This workshop also was presented by Ms. Jeanette Tashiro.

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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