Prelacy Armenian Schools’ Annual Professional Development Day a Success

ENCINO–The Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools held its 12th Annual Professional Development Day on Monday, November 10, at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School.

In addition to the faculty and the administration of the Prelacy Armenian Schools, a number of teachers and representatives from Sahag Mesrob Armenian Christian School, Mekhitarist Fathers’ Armenian School, Armenian Community School of Fresno, Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian Armenian School, Charlotte & Elise Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School, Armenian Sisters Academy, Armenian Relief Society Saturday Schools, and Davidian and Mariamian Educational Foundation had accepted the Board of Regent’s invitation and participated in the seminar bringing the total number of participants to 360.

Hovan Tashjian, the Executive Director of the Board of Regents, welcomed the participants and invited Rev. Razmig Khatchadourian, the pastor of Holy Martyrs Church, to conduct the day’s invocation. The Board of Regents chairperson, Mark Guedikian, extended his welcome to all the educators present and stressed the importance of the continued professional development in enhancing teachers’ knowledge of the most recent educational research and teaching strategies. Guedikian thanked the seminar’s organizing committee, as well as the administration and the School Board of the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School, who once again, hosted this year’s Annual Professional Development Day. Board of Regents member, Liza Gaboudian, Director of Elementary Schools with Los Angeles Unified School District, shared with the participants the program for the day. She thanked all the presenters and facilitators who had graciously accepted to be a part of this special day. She mentioned and thanked especially the presenters and the facilitators who were graduates of the Prelacy schools and who had returned to share their expertise with, in some cases, their own teachers.

The day’s program was divided into four sessions; a general session, two breakout sessions for the morning and for the afternoon.

The general session, led by Dr. Harry Bedevian, was on the subject of “How to Measure, Evaluate and Properly Respond to Threats and Risks at The School” With unfortunate but real life examples, Dr. Bedevian discussed how to measure, evaluate and properly respond to threats and risks which are intended to bring harm and damage to students, faculty and property.

Following the general session were 37 workshops designed for preschool, elementary, middle and high school teachers and administrators. Many of the workshops were offered more than once during the day. The following is a synopsis of the workshops:

1. “Desired Results Developmental Profile ‘s DRDP”. This eight hour workshop was specifically designed for the preschool directors and teachers.

2. “Cross-curricular Approaches” was presented by Katherine Fundukian, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services in the Glendale Unified School District.

3. “Problem Solving/Thinking Maps/Math Journaling” was presented by Mrs. Anna Kojaoghlanian, an elementary school math coach with Los Angeles Unified School District.

4. “Integrating Technology into the Curriculum of Science and Math”
was presented by Lida Gevorkian, a science teacher at Vahan and Anoush Chamlian Armenian School.

5. “M.A.D.S. Wars: Mathematics – 3rd Grade to Middle School” was presented by Sevan Ourfalian, a middle school math coach with Los Angeles Unified School District.

6. “Identifying “At-Risk” Behaviors in Your Students” was presented by Dr. Nadim Karim.

7. “Creating a Healthy Community for Student Success” was presented by Dr. Albert Jones.

8. “Understanding the Armenian-American Cultural Context” presented by Dr. Viken Yacoubian, was for non-Armenian new teachers at the Prelacy schools. The Board of Regents has offered this workshop during the past several seminars, creating an opportunity for non-Armenian teachers to better understand the Armenian-American students’ culture and identity.

9. “Differentiated Instruction Language Arts & Social Science” was presented by Venessa Enoch.

10. “Student Issues and Intervention” was presented by Mitch Seflin.

11. “Positive Classroom Management – Discipline” was presented by Dr. Matt Birtle.

12. “Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan” was presented by Dr. Alina Dorian, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health.

13. “Sequence of Physical Growth and Development,” “Developmental Sequence of Play,” and “Developmental Sequence of Art.” was presented by Madlen Arslanian, instructor with Los Angeles Valley College.

Armenian Education

This year the Professional Development Day organizing committee had planned workshops specifically for teachers of Armenian subjects; namely, language arts, history, and Hye Tad.

The Board of Regents Armenian Education Task Force developed and administered the HAYK Tests to 502 students during the 2007-2008 academic year. This test provided an insight on how the Board and the schools can better evaluate the progress of students in Armenian studies, as well as, created an opportunity to hold discussions on improving or changing classroom teaching practices to meet the needs of the new generation of Armenian students.

During the first session, Liza Gaboudian, shared with the particiapants the performance results of the 5th, the 8th and the 11th grade students who had taken the Armenian subject Tests (Hayk).

During the second session, elementary, middle, and high school Armenian subject teachers reviewed the Armenian Language Arts Standards. The sessions were facilitated by Liza Gaboudian, elementary, Dr. Talar Shahinian and Hovan Tashjian, middle schools, and Dr. Rubina Peroomian and Myrna Douzdjian, high school.

During the third and final session, the Armenian subject teachers had the opportunity to collectively review and analyze samples of student essays from different grade levels. Discussions were held in each of the grade levels to review the currently practiced teaching strategies in the classrooms. Teachers had the opportunity to share best teaching practices and started conversations around what needs to be changed to better meet the instructional needs of the Armenian students.

The Board of Regents is happy to report that based on the participants’ evaluations, this annual event, was once again, a success. This professional development day, in addition to offering many workshops to teachers and administrators, creates an opportunity for all educators of the Armenian schools to network and share successes and challenges.

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