400 Educators Participate in the Prelacy Armenian Schools’ Annual Professional Development Day Conference

APDD Participants

NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—The Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools held its 2016-2017 Annual Professional Development Day (APDD) conference on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).

This year’s APDD was once again organized in cooperation with the university’s Armenian Studies Program. Alongside the Prelacy Armenian Schools and Preschools, the conference also included teachers and faculty from Sahag Mesrob Armenian Christian School, Armenian Sisters Academy, Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School of Fresno and Armenian Relief Society Saturday Schools, bringing the number of participants to over 400.

Dr. Hasmig Baran, Board of Regents member, welcomed all the participants and invited Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, to deliver the invocation.

Archbishop Mardirossian addressed the attendees by emphasizing that continuing education is vital in any profession, but even more so in the teaching profession, as teachers can have a tremendous and lasting influence in the life of a child. Archbishop Mardirossian concluded his remarks by stating, “Teachers are indeed one of the most valuable facets of society. You are imparting knowledge and wisdom upon our youth in their most impressionable years. You are shaping not only their young minds, but also their hearts and souls. What they learn from you can have a profound impact on them for the rest of their lives. Thus, an investment in our youth is an investment in our future, and a good teacher brings value not only to each an individual child, but to society as a whole.”

Archbishop Mardirossian’s message was followed by the opening remarks by Lisa Gaboudian, Chairwoman of the Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools. Gaboudian welcomed the educators and expressed her appreciation for the commitment of all the participants. She set the tone for the day with the following quotation, “Life as a teacher begins the day you realize that you are always a learner-and the beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”

Gaboudian also took a moment to acknowledge all attending Armenian Daily Schools and Preschools, their Principals and Directors. She thanked Dr. Vahram Shemassian, Director of the Armenian Studies program at CSUN, for collaborating with the Board of Regents and for once again hosting this year’s Annual Professional Development Day conference. During her remarks, Gaboudian stressed the importance of a teacher and the role they play in shaping the minds of young students. Gaboudian stated, “I don’t need to remind you how important your job is. Teaching, the noblest of all professions, unfortunately and especially in this country, does not get the respect it deserves, but it’s what you do in the classroom that counts more than anything else when it comes to developing the young minds of children; the next generation of parents, professionals and community leaders. Besides an excellent education, Armenian schools instill in our children Christian values, the importance of cultural identity, a sense of belonging, and the responsibility of giving back to our communities in the diaspora and in our homeland.”

Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, Representing the 46th California Assembly District, and an alumnus of Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School, delivered the keynote address. He shared his personal experiences within both the Armenian and non-Armenian communities, highlighting the benefits of being engaged in various community organizations and how this experience provides the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.

The logistics of the day was shared by Suren Seropian, Director of Development – College of Humanities at CSUN. Dr. Houri Arslanian Keuroghlian, Board of Regents Secretary, presented the day’s agenda and provided a general overview of the scheduled sessions and their presenters.

An impressive variety of topics were presented by experts in their own fields and many Prelacy Armenian school teachers.

  • Technology Tips and Tricks – Dr. Brian Landisi
  • Response to Intervention (RTI) – Linett Arias
  • Reading Comprehension Across Content Areas – Dr. Marine Avagyan
  • Positive Behavior Support –David Ghoogasian
  • Motivation and Student Engagement – Dr. Hasmig Baran
  • Teaching Armenian Culture in an Interdisciplinary & Relevant Approach – Dr. Vahram Shemmassian
  • How to Engage All Students in Literacy Activities – Sandra Halajian
  • The Mars Student Imaging Project (MSIP) – Dominique Evans-Bye
  • Preparing Students for 21st-Century Careers – David Black
  • Create an Extraordinary STEM Program (Science- Engineering- Technology- Math) – Vivian Belmont
  • Introduction to the Outdoor Classroom – Theresa Embry
  • Integrating Technology into the Armenian Classroom – Saro Nazarian
  • Best Practices in Educational Apps – Mashelle Kirkman
  • Behavior Interventions (observation-objectives, ABC’s)- Dr. Jeannine Topalian
  • The Role of Mindfulness in Social-Emotional Learning – Ani Holloway
  • Social Emotional Needs – Nora Chitilian-Kalashian
  • Best Practices in Fluency – Talin Ordekian and Anoush Garabedian
  • Best Practices in English Writing – Lauren Abajian-Espinosa and Houri Badalian
  • Best Practices in Depth of Knowledge – Talin Janesian and Marianna Lee
  • Best Practices in English and Armenian Language Arts – Zepur Ohanessian and Teni Babaian

In addition to the above topics and making student safety a top priority for all our schools, the Board of Regents reached out to the Los Angeles Unified School District and made an unprecedented agreement with the LAUSD Police Department to train all Prelacy Armenian school teachers and staff in safety procedures in case of an active shooter on campus. As such, Officer Vaughn Gaboudian conducted an informational session to all attending administrators.

The Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools is pleased to announce that the 2016-2017 Annual Professional Development Day was a great success. The Board of Regents looks forward to creating more unique opportunities for Armenian school educators to come together and share their experiences in an effort to better serve the needs of their students.

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