NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—The Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools held its 2017-2018 Annual Professional Development Day (APDD) conference on Saturday, October 28th at California State University, Northridge.
This year’s APDD, which has been taking place for over fifteen years, was once again organized in cooperation with CSUN’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 to this year’s APDD and invited Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, to deliver the invocation. In his address, the prelate emphasized the significance of ongoing professional development. Archbishop Mardirossian stated, “Competent and well-performing teachers are the most valuable assets to any educational institution, and can have a great impact on the quality of education. Thus, it is crucial for both new and veteran teachers to have adequate support and training and ongoing opportunities to learn from each other, as well as to keep up-to-date on new learning methods and resources, emerging technology, and more.
Lisa Gaboudian, Chairwoman of the Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools, welcomed the educators and expressed her appreciation for the level of dedication and commitment from all the participants. After commending the attending Armenian Daily Schools and Preschools and their respective Principals and Directors, she thanked Dr. Vahram Shemmassian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program at CSUN, for working in tangent with the Board of Regents and for once again hosting the Annual Professional Development Day conference. During her remarks, Gaboudian underscored the importance of “teachers becoming learners themselves” and the significance of instilling Armenian principles and values in students while also preparing them to become well-rounded and outstanding Armenian-American citizens. She asked the participants to think about the following quotation from John Meehan, “We are not ‘just’ teachers, we are managers of the world’s greatest resources: CHILDREN.”
The keynote address of the day was delivered by Mrs. Vivian Ekchian, Associate Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Mrs. Ekchian, who is not a stranger to the Prelacy Schools, shared her dual experiences within both the Armenian and non-Armenian communities and highlighted the opportunities these conferences provide for teachers to grow both personally and professionally. She qualified teachers as “heroes” who dedicate their time, energy and expertise educating the next generation of adults. She asked teachers to carry on their responsibilities with pride.
Following the keynote address, Suren Seropian, Director of Development – College of Humanities at CSUN, shared the logistics for the day, including a general overview of the scheduled sessions and their presenters.
An unprecedented variety of topics were presented by experts in their own fields and many Prelacy Armenian school teachers.
- Effective Communication with Press & Media – Ara Khachatourian
- Teaching Language Through Song – Dr. Karenn Chutjian Presti
- The Art of Communication and Effective Listening – Nora Chitilian Kalachian
- The Psychological Effects of Bullying and Prevention Programs – Natalie Jambazian
- Educational Apps – Dr. Brian Landisi
- Differentiated Instruction – Ari Ryan Sarafian
- RTI – Interventions vs. Strategies – Souzy Ohanian
- Design-Based Learning – Natalie Bezdjian
- Integrating Academic Language Across the Curriculum – Sandra Halajian
- How to Crank Up the Rigor & Engagement in Your AP Classes – Lilit Vartanian
- Armenian Digital Library – Razmig Haroun and Tamar Tufenkjian
- What Does STEM Excellence Look Like In ECE – Kristina Movsessian
- World of Puppets – Lilit Alajajian
- Armenian Language Revitalization Committee Projects – Armen Abrahamian
- Classroom Observation – Dr. Brian Landisi, Lena Kortoshian, and Armineh Papazian
- Integrating Technology Into the Classroom – Ara Chouljian
- A Taste of Good Health – Best Practices in School-Based Obesity Prevention – Jocelyn Harrison
- New Resources for Armenian Education – Saro Nazarian
- Introduction to Robotics – Hrant Papazian
- Importance of Abstract Quantitative Reasoning in Real World Math Problems – Armond Khodagulyan
- Preparing Students for Success in AP Literature – Mashelle Kirkman
- Course Expectations and Introduction to AP Sciences – Moushegh Bedhoian
- Effective Teaching Methods: Spelling, Vocabulary, and Fluency – Talin Ordekian
- Early Intervention for Preschool/Kindergarten Students with Challenging Behaviors – Jeannine Topalian
Based on the positive feedback from the attendees, the Board of Regents is confident that this year’s conference was a tremendous success. The Annual Professional Development Day conference serves as a unique opportunity for educators of Armenian Schools to come together, get acquainted with one another, and share their experiences and expertise. These workshops are designed to further advance the educational knowledge of the participants, while expanding their horizons with innovative and new educational approaches.