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At the annual Symposium for Armenian Teachers held this month in White Plains, N.Y., educators discussed teaching strategies, learned from a professor of literacy education, and heard about new resources for the classroom.

More than 35 participants representing six Diocesan Armenian schools in New York and New Jersey attended the event on Saturday, September 8. The day’s program was organized by the Diocese’s Armenian Studies coordinator Gilda Kupelian, and hosted by St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian School of White Plains.
The day began with an invocation by the Rev. Fr. Karekin Kasparian, pastor of St. Gregory the Enlightener Church. Fr. Kasparian led the group in singing a hymn on the occasion of the Feast of the Nativity of the Holy Mother-of-God. Armenian School principal Margrit Hamparsoumian gave welcome remarks.
Ms. Kupelian made a presentation on the core curriculum standards for Armenian Schools, in which she discussed ways to teach the Armenian alphabet at an early age, and encouraged teachers to be mindful of the different learning styles of their students. She also presented techniques for maximizing student retention of new material. In addition to the language component, the core curriculum includes units on faith, history, literature, and the arts.
Guest speaker Maria Paula Ghiso, assistant professor of literacy education at Teachers College, Columbia University, spoke on “Supporting Language Learning and Cultural Identity.” Professor Ghiso’s talk highlighted different tools for teaching a foreign language, and incorporated activities for educators to test out the new strategies she presented.

Later in the afternoon, three teachers gave reports on the training program they attended last month in Armenia. Hasmik Koulian of St. Vartan Cathedral Armenian School in New York City, Yeva Kochian of St. Gregory Armenian School in White Plains, and Lusine Chamessian of Kirikian Armenian School in Tenafly, N.J., gave an overview of the seminars in Yerevan. The group then recognized Ms. Koulian, who was awarded a certificate of recognition by Armenia’s Ministry of Diaspora during her visit. All of the educators attending Saturday’s symposium received books and resources from Armenia’s Ministry of Diaspora and the ministries of Science and Education.
Ms. Kupelian introduced the “Rainbow Picture Book,” a picture dictionary recently released by the Armenian Studies section of the Diocese’s Department of Youth and Education. The child-friendly volume helps young students reinforce the Armenian alphabet and basic vocabulary knowledge. Ms. Kupelian also announced preparations underway for this year’s Diocesan-wide celebration of the Feast of the Holy Translators on October 14.   
Before concluding the day’s program, all the participants had an opportunity to visit the classrooms at St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian School, where local teachers gave brief presentations on their teaching methods.
In addition, the day featured an award ceremony. Nectar Sarkissian Munro of St. Gregory Armenian School in White Plains, N.Y., was recognized for 25 years of service. Serpoog Ashjian, Caroline Avedissian, Maria Derian, and Betty Minassian, all of St. Peter Armenian School of Watervliet, N.Y., were honored for 10 years of service. They were presented with books on behalf of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), as well as the Armenian Studies program.
Educators said they took away helpful ideas from the daylong symposium. “Not only was this a good forum to learn new things, it was a good opportunity for teachers to get together and exchange experiences,” said Ms. Kupelian. “Teachers were given the tools to use existing and new resources in the best way possible considering the challenges and limitations they face in the classroom.”
Educators from the following six schools took part in Saturday’s symposium: St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian School of White Plains, N.Y.; St. Peter Armenian School of Watervliet, N.Y.; Khrimian Lyceum of New York, N.Y.; St. Vartan Cathedral Armenian School of New York, N.Y.;  St. Leon Armenian School of Fair Lawn, N.J.; and St. Thomas Church’s Armenian School of Tenafly, N.J.
Photos attached.
Photo 1: Symposium participants pose for a group photo with Fr. Karekin Kasparian.
Photo 2: Professor Maria Paula Ghiso (left) guides teachers during an activity at last Saturday’s symposium.
Photo 3: Educators take notes during the symposium.
PublicRelations [publicrelations@armeniandiocese.org]
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: publicrelations@armeniandiocese.org
Website: www.armenianchurch-ed.net
September 17, 2012

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