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Spring 2011 ● Volume 5 ● Issue 2

Composing Innovation: It's May 8th, 1948 President Truman is on Trial Alumni Affairs ● Staff Development ● Community Connections ● Smiles around Campus

Our Mission ACS Athens is a student-centered international school, embracing American educational philosophy, principles and values. Through excellence in teaching and diverse educational experiences, ACS Athens challenges all students to realize their unique potential: academically, intellectually, socially and ethically – to thrive as responsible global citizens.

Photo by 10th grade student Margi Rentis

Publisher: ACS Athens. Editor-in-Chief: Desiree Michael. Production team: John Papadakis, Marianna Savvas, Stacy Filippou. Contributors: ACS Athens Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents and Alumni. Art Direction, Design & Printing: Multimedia SA. Cover Design & Concept: Dot Repro SA. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine (text or images) may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher.

On the Cover: Appointed Prosecutor (left): Andriana Skalkos Grade: 10 “The best thing about this [The Mock Truman Trial] experience is that it made the material we had been studying come alive; it took a form which was tangible and I will remember it and how it stands out amongst other learning experiences. “ --Skalkos Appointed Defense Attorney (right): Raseel Sharaf Grade: 10 “The most rewarding thing about this experience is that, for an entire day, you're a completely different person. You're a different character, you're not you. Suddenly, you realize that you're actually a lawyer and you're actually arguing a real case against your friends, but they're different characters as well. So, it's impersonal because everyone is playing their own character and so are you. It is a great experience because it gives you a sense of what it feels like to be a lawyer. The best thing is that you learn all about a significantly momentous event in history without realizing how much you have learned until the event is over. It's great fun. It’s engaging and impersonal. Like the learning, you don’t realize how great the experience is until you look back at it when it's over and realize you kind of want to do it again.” -- Sharaf



Letter from the Editor: Composing Innovation One of my favorite soundtracks is the musical score to the classic Spaghetti Western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Why? It is innovative. The composer, Ennio Morricone, incorporated universal sounds, instruments, church bells, gun shots and voice distortions to create an innovative masterpiece that is now a classic, distinctly recognized as having its own “authentic” tune. Not surprisingly, he learned how to improvise due to his training and diverse exposure to music, which included a background in jazz—an innovative form of music that gave rise to Rhythm and Blues and the more extemporaneous sounds of what we now call rock-n-roll. Though jazz and other fresh new musical blends are often frowned upon by classical musicians, Ennio Morricone did not let the voices of tradition and opposition dissuade him from creating his own “authentic” brand of music. Nor did the existing status quo style stop him from becoming a respected composer. His creations can now be heard in some of the most elaborate classical concert halls throughout the world. Listening to this particular soundtrack, I thought of those who dare to be different and I was reminded of the small, yet real, impact that results from their acts of innovation. However, the request to properly highlight innovation at ACS Athens began with me questioning the meaning of innovation as it pertains to educational institutions: (1) What is the meaning of ‘innovation’ in general education settings? (2)What do models of innovative schools look like and (3) why has it taken so long for the institution of general education to become an entity for the development of innovation? So, over the Christmas holiday, I started at the most logical place for answers, the US State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools. I interviewed Dr. Beatrice Cameron, who is the Regional Education Officer overseeing Greece. Dr. Cameron possesses more than forty 4

years of observational experience on institutions of general education. The last 18 years alone have provided her with the opportunity to observe school settings from as far east as Japan to North Africa and throughout Europe. Her base in the Washington, DC area reinforces her daily exposure to American schools and their philosophy of education. About the meaning of innovation, she had this to say, “Innovation is taking advantage of a new idea or a new technology that has systemic validity… It takes something in a new direction that improves efficiency… It creates a systemic change [over time].” Surprisingly, in all of Dr. Cameron’s global visits to American-style schools, she has seen very little deviation from tradition. She directed me to research the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, VA. This, I did, which led to the answers to my second and third questions and an almost obvious revelation—“institutions of general education” and “innovation” are oxymoronic. The former was designed to establish a style of learning, a repetitive tradition, a duplicable status quo. Innovation is disruptive. Innovation has spurred the birth of nations and deteriorated the stasis of tradition. Effectively, encouraging student innovation will destroy schools. That is unless, like the Thomas Jefferson School, a school is designed as an institution of innovation. That epiphany prompted me to visit one of the most well-known American institutions for innovation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, a former ACS Athens student led me to an MIT graduate's creation, NUVU Studios, another model of a general education school designing itself for innovation. It was only then, with this information in hand, that I felt I could present you, the readers, with a critical review of what is truly innovative about ACS Athens. ACS Athens is not just a good educational institution. It is, instead, an institution being redesigned for innovation that promotes student inquiry, open and applied learning, and valid and systemic development of innovative ideas; and, like my revelation, depending upon which side of innovation you find yourself, it may appear to be more disruptive than constructive. However, like Ennio Morricone, the composer of this “authentic” piece is not to be deterred by hecklers of “Nay.” As you will see throughout the pages of this Ethos, the universal tunes of innovation are striking the right chords with someone, for ACS Athens students are going beyond the limits of traditional learning and others are going on to orchestrate their talents in some of the world’s greatest institutions that are designed to develop their thirst for innovation. This is my last Ethos. Thank you for reading our previous issues and I hope you will enjoy the articles that are compiled within this issue. For those of you who know ACS Athens, you know that there

are entirely too many events to document in one Ethos magazine. Therefore, in our efforts towards innovating Ethos (together with the peer-teacher of the TECH@ACS group, Alex Stelea) we brainstormed and agreed that this issue of Ethos will be the beta test for PhaseI-Innovation: you will find QR (Quick Response) codes through-

out this issue, a QR-contest and QR Table of contents to direct you immediately to our “continued” stories on the ACS Athens website. The next issue of Ethos might be ready for Phase II…stay-tuned. Hats off to the composers of innovation and a wonderfully disruptive community!

Word from our President

Caio Davison (left), University of William and Mary, Virginia and Jason Hu (right) University of California, Berkeley prospect.

“See for yourself.” As you can see, Dr. Gialamas has very little to explain about the educational philosophy of ACS Athens. He said simply, “Gain an understanding of our philosophy by turning the Ethos pages, visiting our website, walking on our campus, feeling the air, and by listening to our students, faculty and staff. See for yourselves. ” What you will see is the manifestation of three leading principles surrounding ACS Athens. 1. Modeling Teaching and Learning: How do teachers create a far-reaching 'Lighthouse Effect'? They do this by modeling an approach to teaching and learning that can be emulated inside and

outside of the classroom. 2. Modeling Leadership: Leadership is about modeling how we do things, how we act and make decisions. All decisions at ACS Athens are made in the best interest of the student, with ethos being the guiding instrument. 3. Modeling Innovation: The faculty has been inspired to take the lead in redesigning the ACS Athens educational experience by offering a holistic, meaningful and harmonious education to its students (i.e. an innovative and authentic learning experience that has real life applications, yet takes into account diverse learning styles). Dr. Gialamas stresses his adage, “…every shoe

size is different, the same way that every student is learning and expressing his or her understanding in a unique way.” The innovation that ACS Athens creates must be created as a ‘norm’ that works for this population, this community and this school. Above, Dr. Gialamas stands with his students, who had the opportunity to take an “authentic” mathematics course. The course, “Knot Theory and Applications in DNA Research and Physics,” was designed for them as they demonstrated their ability to understand and synthesize complex, exciting mathematical concepts usually reserved for university level students. 5


Student Leaders

Alumni Affairs

Bridging the Gap



IB Theater



Cover Story


Community Connections

Pedagogy in Action



Enhancing Education 10

Staff Development


Table of Contents Our Mission Editor Word from our President… Enhancing EducatiOn ACS Athens' Scholastic Book Fair Librarian's Corner cOVER StORY StudEnt LEadERS Photo Journalism Revived at ACS Athens Meet Jamil: A New Addition in our Adopted Chimpanzee Family TECH@ACS: Peer-to-Peer Teaching Try HTML: An Alternative to PowerPoint Presentations

3 4 5 Cynthia Marshall Leigh Anderson

10 12 13

Mr. Dave Nelson and Mr. William Papatassos


Desiree Michael

19 19

Sue Protopsaltis Alex Stelea

20 21

Angela Kiki Spiliot


iB theater


PEdagOgY in actiOn 10th Grade Personal Project What are the Pros and Cons of Low-Friction Vehicles? Are They a Viable Option for the Future? How, and to what extent, does music influence the teenaged population?

26 27

ASC Annual Business Fair Teaching Core Business Competencies, Entrepreneurialism and Innovation An Interview with Ms. Emilia Drogaris JeiKei Online Art Studio Shiva Restaurant Modeling Economic Power Brokering for ACS Athens Students Classroom Activities Faculty Techniques for Improving Student Learning Diverse Student Body, Differentiated Approach Math Phobia: Strategies and Techniques for Overcoming Students’ Anxiety

Ellen Froustis-Vriniotis

28 Jake Moffatt


Manolis K. Rentumis


Joo Kim Joy Krasopoulou

32 33 35 36 37 38 39

Chrysoula Ploutou


Sue Protopsaltis


Project-based learning A New Twist on ½ Days: Student Participation in Hands on Learning NESA 2010 Virtual Science Fair: Learning beyond the Classroom Understanding James Joyce THE ACS AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM K-12 Designing “shoes for each unique size”

42 Melina Vassiliadis


Marca A. Daley

46 48

Chris Perakis


BRidging thE gaP


cOMMunitY cOnnEctiOnS Eleni Scurletis NESA Recipient ACS 7th Grader Recognized for her Commitment to Service by winning the 2011 NESA Haas/Hansen Student Award Innovation, Environmentalism and Global Fund-raising!

55 55

ACS Athens: Spanish Trip From Japan: Alumni aLuMni aFFaiRS Grapevine Alumni News A letter from the New Alumni President My Journey StaFF dEVELOPMEnt The Road Less Traveled...

Dyslexia Course Effortlessness 2nd International Basketball Coaches Clinic a success at ACS Athens! SMiLES aROund caMPuS

David Nelson


Therese Weimholt and Carrie Brinkman Alex Stelea Tosh Kimura

58 60 61 62 62 62

Dr. Dimitris V. Kiritsis Joanne Tzouanakos

63 63

64 Louesa Polyzoi, Ph.D., Ryan Erichsen, April Pasieczka, Alia Marcinkow, Lindsay Wessel 64 Chris Perakis 66 Alexandra Koumatou 67 Αnnie Constantinides

68 70 7


Sabbagh Library Dedication

Mr Sabbagh's grand-daughter 10

Mr Sabbagh's sons

Sabbagh family

On Saturday, April 2nd, 2011, the Sabbagh family and the ACS Community honored Hasib J. Sabbagh by dedicating the Middle School/Academy Library to his name. Hasib Sabbagh was honored for his generous support of international education over the years and the impact he had on the lives of many students at ACS Athens. 11


ACS Athens' Scholastic Book Fair

Ethos: How do you think having the Scholastic Book Fair helps to enhance students' educational opportunities at ACS Athens? Marshall: It opens the door to reading in fun and exciting way; this really helps to advance learning opportunities!!!


Interview with Cynthia Marshall

Ethos: Were you satisfied with the outcome of the fair? How many books did you sell? Do you think that the poster contest helped to raise awareness? Marshall: The Fair was a huge success. We sold over 2700 books. The Poster Con-test was invaluable. It really helped to focus the children on the Book Fair. Next fall, we would like to incorporate the middle school students more. Maybe we can do this by promoting the Book Fair through English classes next year.

Librarian's Corner by Leigh Anderson

Leigh Anderson is the Library Manager for the Elementary School and Sabbagh Libraries and the Editor of the Online School-wide News Publication, Blue and Gold ( The Sabbagh Library at ACS is a wonderful space. Its three floors accommodate different activities. The first floor is a lounge which is surrounded by our Fiction and Young Adult Fiction collection. Comfortable sofas allow for quiet conversation and reading. The large second floor houses our NonFiction and Biography collection. Computers are available and the large and small tables enable students to study and research alone or in small groups. There is a writing center and two computer labs. The third floor has two classrooms and an open area with tables and computers. Here students work with counselors to learn about career and college options and to prepare and apply to college. 13

Nate Todd (President Truman) & Peter Mitropoulos (Defense Attorney) 14

Photo by Margi Rentis


The Mock Truman Trial

With Mr. Dave Nelson and Mr. William Papatassos, Combo Class Instructors (Social Studies & English Literature, respectively) Ethos: What inspired the idea of choosing this time in history to have students research and enact? As a component of the American Studies course, we wanted to focus on a major turning point for American foreign relations. Not only did America emerge as a world power, but the events of WWII kicked off the Cold War, and an Arms Race that haunted the world for decades after. In the context of World War II, we want the students to, more deeply, contemplate the choices that were made and the justifications that were provided in the name of security, defense, and war. The complex choice that President Truman had to make in 1945 provides the ideal backdrop for students to debate national, moral, ethical, and legal arguments with the use of a plethora of source material that is available online and in our library. The most fascinating part of the Mock Truman Trial is that each year we adjust the date of the trial. The catch is that students can only use source-based material that existed before that date. This year’s trial was set on May 8, 1948, but last year it was set two years earlier. Just by changing the date by a few years, the students are forced to consider additional evidence and broader arguments. Ethos: How many years has the Mock Truman Trial been running? This is our 10th Truman Trial, but we have expanded it a great deal over the years. In the beginning, it was a much smaller event, which was held over several days directly in the classroom. This is our 3rd year in the ACS Theater with an all day format. The theater is a spectacular place for this educational experience. Not only does the atmosphere raise the students’ level of concern, but it also allows for visiting classes of students as well as parents, who come to watch. Ethos: How long is the preparation/research time—in-class sentencing, etc.? The teams are drawn at random and all of the roles are drawn at random, with the exception of the attorneys. The students draw their roles and teams before we depart for Spring Break; they begin their research over the break and we work in class over three weeks once they return. In the history portion of the Combo Class, students are presented with background history of WWII and of the Truman presidency. They read extensively, research, and view various documentaries relating to WWII. In the English portion of the class, the students are taught how to formulate questions, arguments, and descriptive narratives. The most amazing aspect of the learning process is that the learning takes center stage for the majority of the students. They rarely consider how their actions relate to a final grade, but rather about how their preparation and contributions can help their team. This year, the groups met on weekends,

Mr. William Papatassos (Bailiff, English Teacher)

(Attorneys) Konstantinos Tsitsilonis, Dimitrios Kotinis, Andriana Skalkos, Ermis Geragidis, Daphne Apostolides, Raseel Sharaf, Peter Mitropoulos, Jake Moffatt

Eleni Alafouzos, (Colonel Saburo Hayashi, Secretary of the War Ministry) 15


afterschool, and even at the American Embassy, in order to prepare their cases. They even created special Facebook accounts and wikis to share information. In every case, the students initiated the meetings and made sure that their teammates attended; as teachers, we never once even suggested the outside meetings . It’s great to see their own motivation take over, along with their pride and initiative. Ethos: What makes this means of learning unique and innovative? The Truman Trial applies a model of guided inquiry, in which students are presented with a problem, provided background information, and then they are empowered to create the best solution for the problem. The lesson presents a format within which the students become motivated by the challenge of the task, and the unknown elements of the outcome. They are essentially judged by a jury of their peers, and must present the most persuasive case possible. The students are in the “driver’s seat” for the entire three weeks, and the class becomes theirs. Each side of the prosecution and defense creates its own case-line, structure, and examination questions. The students design the framework for presenting their 16

cases and create the arguments that can best be supported by the evidence that they have found. The added friendly competition between the two sides is encouraged, but both sides realize that they can earn top grades even if their side does not win. For a second year in a row, we invited an actual professional trial lawyer into the class to conduct a seminar with the student attorneys. Lieutenant Colonel Chris Bennett volunteered his time to present his experience with courtroom procedures and coached all of the lawyers in creating a more convincing cross examination and closing. Above all, the trial places the students into the experience where they become the history and they must interpret it more critically. The most challenging aspect of the trial experience is seen in the Cross Examination of the witnesses; lawyers must react to the testimony and quickly create complex lines of questioning that force witnesses to relent while bolstering their own team’s case-line. Witnesses too must react in an impromptu display of their own understanding of their characters. The entire process requires careful preparation and confidence. The students did an amazing job this year!

Margi Rentis (Japanese Relief Coordinator) Mr. Dave Nelson (Judge/ History Teacher) Ethos: How do you incorporate technology into the administration of your class (prior to the stage presentation)? Students select their own photographs that best represent their characters as well as primary source evidence to supplement their testimonies. All of the materials are projected on the big screen during the trial. Over the past two years we have been able to stream the trial live over the internet so that parents, alumni, even teachers from other schools, can view the trial. This year we had reports of online viewing from parents who were out of the country, and relatives and friends from as far as Seattle, Washington. This year, Mr. Potak, our IT Technician, even added an online chat session, so that viewers could tune-in and share their real-time reactions to the events on the stage. Ethos: Given that wars are not pretty, the presented research is often very graphic in detail. Do you believe that this helps students to truly understand the consequences of weapons of wars? It’s not fair to gloss over history, especially for high school students and it is definitely not ethical to present only one viewpoint. Our study of history and literature allows students to consider the choices that people make and be able to

evaluate those choices from multiple perspectives. World War II brought out the horrors of war from all sides as civilians unprecedentedly became the targets; students must understand the justifications that were provided by both sides of the conflict so that they can better evaluate the decisions of contemporary leaders. History and literature cannot merely be presented to the students, they must be able to interact with the learning, apply what they’ve learned, and critically evaluate what is presented to them. During the actual trial, graphic materials are displayed to a small extent because of openness to younger students. Ethos: If students learn to be better global citizens in school, do you think that your model of "justice" will (or has) influenced your students' decisions as they go out to serve the world? As history demonstrates time and time again, “justice” is often determined by the winner or he who is in charge. As students take more ownership in their learning, they gain interest and apply what they know. Our hope is that they become citizens who are more likely to speak up, with informed voices, to assert their views of justice. Most importantly, students must continue to ask questions and demonstrate a desire to learn. 17


Photo Journalism Revived at ACS Athens By Desiree Michael, Photo Journalism Chair

(Left - Right) Omar Ky - 1st place winner of a 320MB External Hard drive. Laith Kalai - Student Events Photographer/Organizer. Margi Rentis -4th Place Honorable Mention -Student Events Photographer/Organizer . Aria Fisilani- 3rd Place Winner of a Memory Card and USB card reader. Nick Zervoudis - 2nd Place winner of Mrs. Field's Cookie 19

See all photo entries on our Flickr site.


Meet Jamil: A New Addition in our Adopted Chimpanzee Family Dimos Papaleonardos Beach Photo

Nicole Spaulding Lone Flower

Lydia Lampiri Summer Beach It only took a suggestion from the Institute of Innovation and Creativity's Director, Steve Medeiros, to create a club that helped take photos for Ethos and the website. When announced, 10th grade photography lover Margi Rentis took the lead along with her 11th grade collaborator, Laith Kalai; and 8th grader, Lydia Lampiri, single handedly made sure the Middle School was represented! We hope to see more Middle School pictures on the website next year. Together, with other members of the group, the students managed to pull-off some of their smaller projects...the larger goal, to create a photo documentary still remains to be seen! But for now, the photo contest was the best! 20

By Sue Protopsaltis Last May, the eighth grade graduating class of ACS Athens’ Middle School (presently ninth graders in the Academy) visited the Attica Zoological Park. The purpose of the visit was to sponsor a chimpanzee for a year. Enthusiastically, our eighth-graders donated 500 Euros to this program. In October, we were informed that a new male chimpanzee had been born and that our students would be able to choose his name. They voted for the name Jamil, which means handsome in Swahili. Each year, the eighth grade students choose a Community and Service Project. The funds they raised for the Chimpanzee-for-a-Year project came from bake sales and candy sales held throughout the year. The students also raised funds by helping with the Halloween carnival games. By raising 500 Euros, the students gained the honorable title of “Gold Friends of the Zoo.” Next to the chimpanzee’s cage hangs a plaque to commemorate their efforts!

TECH@ACS: Peer-to-Peer Teaching By Alex Stelea 11th Grade

Founder, Alex Stelea (left)

Ethos: How did doing your chemistry teacher's, Ms. Kassem's, website (and previously the Tennis site) spur your desire to start the TECH@ACS group? After seeing the enthusiasm and expectations both the students and the staff had for an easy and interactive experience, I was motivated to improve this gap in technology. After initially working with Ms.Kassem to create a class website to aid in her teaching of chemistry and administration of online quizzes, I was amazed at the amount of interested students in this technology. My initial involvement with the tennis website was simply an educational journey in 9th grade in which I entered to begin web design. Since then, I started working on numerous iPhone and iPad applications. The student involvement and determination was ultimately what spurred me to create this club for ACS Students. I had always been a fan of simplistic and easy information for students, and ever since my TED talk @ ACS I was motivated to provide students with tools to aid in their learning and future web skills. Ethos: From your own collaborations with students, what do you feel is the biggest advantage of peer-teaching and peer-to-peer collaborative learning experiences? The close proximity in both age and thinking is what I think ultimately made this club as successful as it was. Teachers, I've noticed, have a tendency to assume a topic is easy for students and go at a faster pace than students are capable. Having only recently learned the skills I possess, I can understand the worries and fears of many of the students and help them out from a friend and classmate perspective, rather

TECH@ACS Club Members

than that of an adult teacher. Peer teaching, I believe, allows for greater learning and expressionism because students are not as worried or afraid to make mistakes. Ethos: As studies have shown, skill-based learning is acquired much more rapidly than book-based academic learning. Do you feel that skill-based learning, which is related to current jobs, should be incorporated more into educational settings? I strongly believe that if a person has the determination and will to do something he will be successful. I learned web design and iPhone/ iPad development solely by myself. Having the opportunity to use a skill based learning approach to coding and programming in general, I was able to learn much faster than in a traditional course that involves learning solely out of a book. My classmates too, have all been much more attached and attracted to the interactive nature of the club as they were able to see their own website come to life, which is by far more interesting than calculating equations in physics. I do believe a lot of classroom learning should be modernized into a more student based model that allows for more creativity and ability to implement skill based learning. Tech @ ACS was a club founded this last quarter. Ms.Michael, Mr.Papadakis, and Ms.Kassem all volunteered and helped out our members to create a project for the NSI booklet. ( Students learned web and Internet basics and a lot of positive responses were received. Next year, this class will become an official activity for which students can receive ACS Computer credits. 21


Try HTML: An Alternative to PowerPoint Presentations Angela Kiki Spiliot M. Sc. Ed. High School Technology Teacher

Note from the editor: Students are often tired of creating Power Point presentations for class, only to find that the PP files are often too large to email to their instructors or may not be compatible with the school computers. Well, besides checking out sites like and, students can be creative and design their own free websites after taking an IT course at ACS Athens. This way, students send a link to their instructors instead of a file! Below are sample sites that Ms. Spiliot’s IT students created. Given that TECH@ACS and Ethos have created this ‘beta stage’ testing for QR-codes and making Ethos interactive, we took this opportunity to allow you to go mobile! Follow the QRs and check out ACS Athens IT students’ work. And of course, if you have to use the old-fashioned way, you can follow their work via the URL codes provided! Follow the links/QR-codes ‘til the end. You just might be surprised what you find!

HTML, HyperText Markup Language, is a computer language devised to allow website creation. These websites can then be viewed by anyone else connected to the Internet. It is relatively easy to learn, with the basics being accessible to most people in one sitting; and it's quite powerful in what it allows you to create. Try writing one of the student’s markup code into a Notepad document. Save the document with a name and .html extension (name.html). Then open the document with a browser. It is that easy. 22

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Cecile or The School for Fathers

Photos by Kelly Filiou

"What made me understand the preciousness of this experience was not only the rehearsals or the performance, but the feeling afterward of total emptiness as if there was no more character left in me. I also had a feeling of completeness because I had become one with the person who I portrayed on stage." -Naya Schulein

"When my designs started taking shape and I first saw my clothes fitted on the actors, my real inner struggle started: this is when I realized creativity is all about hard work and attention to detail is what makes the difference." -Thisvi Papanastasiou 24

Photo by Margi Rentis

"Taking the role of the set designer has been a huge inspiration for my life and made me realize that theater will always be a part of me." -Tedi Tsopelas "When you work in a team you do not only care for yourself but also for the others. You work to make everyone believe in the upcoming success. Never underestimate yourself because you will be very impressed - and impress others too - by what you can achieve." -Eirini Stamati

"The most unexpected thing for me was that in the end I was so connected to Cecile's character, I felt like she was a part of me. I didn't expect to feel so comfortable and close to her. The whole process evoked very interesting feelings in me; I discovered a new passion I had for theater. I learned that the power you have on stage is so great that it keeps you going for long after the performance. After all the hard work is completed, what is left is an amazing feeling of admiration and pride for what you and your team have achieved." -Lydia Spassof 25

PEDAGOGYin action

10th Grade Personal Project 26

Self-directed learning • Social awareness • Investigation

Celebrating the 10th Grade Personal Project Exhibition Day of Learning Each year, 10th grade students culminate the year with a Personal Project that aims to encourage students to discover the love of exploring, investigating, creating, and researching. Themes traditionally center on Health & Social Education, Culture, the Environment, Global Affairs, Community & Service, and Technology & Innovation. Much of the student learning is self-directed, as teachers facilitate the research process. Class discussions are initiated by students’ personal research, from print or multi media sources that address contemporary issues that impact the student or local or global community. The aim is personal and social awareness. Using the Big 6 research methods, students construct a 2000-word research paper and action plan that also addresses the school’s writing goals for the year. The new Sabbagh Library and new Writing Center were valuable resources in helping students to refine their writing and research skills. During this semester-long advisory class, tenth graders also investigated areas of social and emotional health and well-being. They explored healthy life

By Ellen Froustis-Vriniotis

choices, positive coping strategies in response to stress, and explored ways of managing peer pressure and interpersonal relationships. Students also examined the challenges of ethical and responsible decision making in a diverse and complex world. Lastly, students participated in a personal inquiry of academic and college & career choices. Students ended the semester with an Exhibition Day of Learning held on May 24th. Some of the themes of this year’s Personal Projects were: The Climate Gate Debate, Nutrition, Self-Esteem, The Gap Year, Teens & Internet Use, Mood & Music, The Pipe Organ, A Children’s Service Project, Women’s Rights, Graffiti, Tattoos, Hooliganism, The Nuclear Disaster in Japan, Humanoid Technology, Delinquency, Obesity, Racism, Immigration, and the Parthenon Marbles. You can read the excerpts of two projects here. The rest can be found online. Advisors to the course were Demetri Pelidis and Ellen Vriniotis.


PEDAGOGYin action

What are the Pros and Cons of Low-Friction Vehicles? Are They a Viable Option for the Future? Ideas on using the Collective Genius (using the collective knowledge available to people via the internet) for developing innovative transportation models.

By Jake Moffatt Grade 10

Jake Moffatt As more research is done, and ideas are shared through the internet as well as through other media, these ideas will grow naturally by themselves. They will be worked on by many people until bugs are worked out and main issues are corrected. Already, the ACV has demonstrated this. Due to the ease of access provided by the internet, anyone can build a hovercraft and learn about its principles. Moller offers their ideas freely. Even maglev trains can be created through a scale model. It just takes someone willing to take the time. When an idea is made by just one person, there are bound to be problems. But 28

when you have 360 million people working on that idea, the idea will be refined and edited and the final product will be much more polished. If someone has a concept for a possible innovation, that concept should be published. Allowing all of those minds to work on it would be the best choice. It has already been seen that, since the rise of the internet began, technology has advanced in a similar way. This is the way our future will be shaped. An invention will be the collected thoughts of a group... We need to use this important connection if the world is going to advance. A person can have a great idea, yet no one ever finds out about it. Some people can make

Peter Mitropoulos (L) Solar Energy Research and Jake Moffet: Potentially Future Collaborators

these ideas, but do not have the means to make them into reality. This is where larger companies will have to come in. If companies look at ideas from the general public, and consider them, they may find out that they are amazing and could put them to use. Usually we think of big companies as the ones who come out with new products. A group of high school students were tasked to create a vehicle that got very high miles per gallon. They ended up creating one that could achieve 1700 mpg. These students were not trained professionals, but it just goes to show what a group can achieve. What people are also going to need to do is come to grips with the fact that cars

may not stay the same in the future. They will look different, drive differently, and maybe even be propelled by alternate means. Big, bulky, gas-guzzling cars will become obsolete‌.Innovation will happen, especially with the Internet and other media that allow accelerated information exchange. It is inevitable. The people just need to accept and encourage this. We won’t always have enough resources for energy: before that day, we need to prepare and create efficient vehicles that will be able to run more on less fuel. Every person has the power to contribute, whether by their expertise, their problem solving ability, or just by observing. It is our job to do so. 29

PEDAGOGYin action

How, and to what extent, does music influence the teenaged population?

Manolis K. Rentumis

Musician, Manolis K. Rentumis As far as teens go, the way a teen mind works is ever evolving, so there is absolutely no way of knowing what goes on in a teen’s mind. In the modern day though, psychologists have tried using music as a tool to help them understand teen behavior. When it comes to questioning a teen’s behavior due to music genre here have been a few surveys conducted in the past and a lot of biased opinions. A very applicable survey featured on, was done on 522 30

African-American 13-14 year old girls. Some were made to watch a lot of rap music videos at least 14 hours per week, and the other few were kept from watching any music video’s (independent variable). The results were quite scary from the dependent variable. The thinking pattern had changed a lot, and researchers found that the watchers were the following. • 3x more likely to hit a teacher.

10th grade students • 2.5x more likely to get arrested. • 2x more likely to have multiple sexual partners. • And 1.5x more likely to contract one or more STD/STI, and/or use drugs or alcohol. The kids were returned to a normal pattern after the study. There has been some links of school shootings like the Columbine High incident, where the two shooters…(read more online) 31

PEDAGOGYin action

Teaching Core Business Competencies, Entrepreneurialism and Innovation

ASC Annual Business Fair 32

Being a student at ACS Athens isn’t about sitting in the classroom and listening to static information that can be found in academic books. It is about rolling up your sleeves and applying the knowledge that is discussed and learned in an educational setting. For the 4th year in a row, the Social Studies Department together with Student Services, has provided high school Business and Economics students with the opportunity to pitch their ‘virtual’ businesses to a panel of judges during the school’s annual Business Fair. Their teacher, Ms. Emilia Drogaris, is amazed at the student reviews of this experience. She says students leave her class commenting on the “incredible” experience they had in learning and implementing the core values of business. Ms. Drogaris feels that the goal of the Business Fair is to help students truly understand the saying—first coined by Edison to describe the state of genius, but often used in the world of business—success is “one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.” By the end of an afternoon of presenting their wellresearched business plans and pitching their ideas, students walk away with an understanding of critical factors that determine a successful business: (1) They clearly understand that businesses need to be viable. (2) They begin to overcome the fear associated with starting a business. They learn to embrace their ideas and make them plausible functions. (3) Because the businesses are judged, they learn how to have a competitive edge. As a result of last year’s fair, two business plans received actual recognition by existing corporations. Select business plans from this year’s fair can be found online. Follow the QR-mobile device link at the end of the business plan overviews.

An Interview with Ms. Emilia Drogaris ACS Athens Social Studies Dept. Ethos: Can you briefly explain why you decided to start such a project for the non-IB students? Drogaris: All students benefit from hands-on projects. The real learning takes place when they actually live the experience. Many non-IB students have fascinating ideas and a strong business sense. This is a chance for them to develop their ideas or find a new passion. Ethos: Do the students enjoy taking this project-based approach to learning? Drogaris: Most of them become very engrossed in their projects. They get obsessed with details, which is very exciting to observe.

Ethos: How many students actually go on to do the businesses that they create in your class? Drogaris: Probably not that many. But most use this as a starting point for an idea they have dreamt about. This year, I was really happy to see how many 'dreams' came out in the plans. Ethos: What is the feedback you get from students, staff, parents and the community? Drogaris: After the projects we write reflections. The 'learning' takes shape when we put it into words. One student actually wrote last year that it was the best


PEDAGOGYin action

experience of her life. Overall, teachers, parents and colleagues are all very impressed with how much the students learn through this project. Ethos: What is the end result you are expecting to achieve by providing this project-based opportunity to students? Drogaris: This project serves so many purposes. Thomas Edison said, "Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration."I tell them this quote when we start because I believe this is the perfect age to introduce the idea that success is the result of hard work and not just a great idea. We make the fair market-oriented in the sense that we are trying to attract investors. This shows them that if their approach is not thorough and sound, they may not be able to attain support in the form of capital. I also want them to understand the process of turning a dream into something more viable. It is not as intimidating as it first seems! Ethos: If you think of anything else that is important...go for it. Drogaris: One last thing I would say is that this class is a great application of math. Quantitative reasoning can be learned by living through a process where math comes to life in real terms and where the contact with results is direct. For students who fear math, this process is invaluable because it helps them overcome their fears about math and then they want to tackle more challenging projects. Once this confidence is combined with a great imagination, the results are fantastic.


JeiKei Online Art Studio My business would be an online-shopping art gallery called JeiKei. Mission Statement: Our vision is to be the international online company that can help the fair trade between Artists and Art purchasers. Company goals and objectives: Jeikei is seeking to have a more variety of genres and media of artworks that are supported by Artists and consumers. Since our role is to make a convenient connection between Artists and Art purchasers, our profit and benefit are fairly distributed: purchasers can experience an artistic satisfaction and suppliers can have fair trades with their demands. Business Philosophy: − The most important factor to JeiKei is care or attention from whoever appreciates Art. We need both suppliers’ and consumers’ cooperation with our company. − JeiKei has positive possibilities of growth because nowadays most of the service is online-based and especially Art is limited items that cannot be advertised to many consumers; therefore, in order to increase the profit, the consumers’ demands should be increased through easy way of purchasing Arts. The higher profits will be reinvestigate to a growth industry. − In a long term, JeiKei is looking forward to have a individual manager at many different countries as possible who can speak the local language and English and with a overall knowledge of Art and business. − JeiKei is not only a company that is looking for demands from individual consumers, but also looking for bigger businesses with higher and greater demands, such as hotel decorations, gallery exhibitions, and etc. − JeiKei’s strengths are professional and critical views on Arts. It seems merely a website that sells artworks, however, we are preparing different styles of Art for different target market. Legal form of ownership: JeiKei is a private sector company with a sole trader, which

By Joo Kim is a form of legal organization that has unlimited liability. Because online-based business only requires little start-up money compare to other businesses. Also JeiKei is expecting to engage the huge delivery companies for private securities for consumers and for less cost of sales

Artwork by Joo Kim

Student Joo Kim 35

PEDAGOGYin action

Shiva Restaurant

Joy Krasopoulou Business Plan

Maragaret Papadopoulos (L) and Joy Krasopoulou (R) Shiva Bar restaurant "an Indian restaurant," unlike a typical restaurant, will provide a unique combination of excellent food at value pricing with a fun and entertaining atmosphere. Shiva restaurant is the answer to an increasing demand. The public wants value for everything that it purchases and is not willing to accept anything that does not meet its expectations, and wants entertainment with its dining experience. In today's highly competitive environment, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to differentiate one restaurant concept from another. Shiva restaurant differentiates itself by being the only Indian restaurant in the area and providing our customers with unique Indian food and Indian entertainment every week. This plan has been prepared to obtain financing for the initial launch of this concept. The financing is required to begin work on kitchen design, manuals and 36

recipe books, site selection, equipment purchases, and to cover expenses in the first year of business. The financing, in addition to the capital contributions from the owners, will allow Shiva restaurant to successfully open and maintain operations throughout year one. The initial capital investment will allow Shiva restaurant to provide its customers with a value driven, entertaining experience. Successful operation throughout year three will provide enough cash flow to be independent in year four. Shiva is an adjective meaning of "auspicious, kind, and gracious". The restaurant has taken its name from this Hindu God because everyone working on this project has demonstrated the adjectives listed above. To read more please scan the Qr-Code or go to Ethos-online.

Modeling Economic Power Brokering for ACS Athens Students The Greek Power Summit Three ACS Athens students will have the opportunity to attend Greece’s first economic Power Summit at Syntagma Square’s Grand Bretange. The purpose of the summit is to inspire capital investment in innovative ideas to spur the redevelopment of Greece and rebuild its position in the European Community. The event is hosted by the digital web design company, Honeystone LTD. and boost well-known contributors to economic growth and sustainability such as Steve Forbes of Forbes Magazine and Nana Mouskouri the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassdor. Additionally, various high-profile investment companies will have representatives on hand to discuss their contribution to the future economic growth of Greece. ACS Athens would like to extend its gratitude to the organizers and Mrs. Christina Akouri (also an ACS Athens community member) for providing this opportunity to our students. Next year’s business students will have something to look forward to ! 37

PEDAGOGYin action

Classroom Activities

A day in Ms. Dellas’ Biology class Chapter Content: The Circulatory System (section on the heart and blood vessels) Goal of Lesson: Students learn and understand the important distinction that only arteries have pressure, since they lead away from the heart. Capillaries and veins have no pressure. Innovative Concept: Allow students to hear and determine blood pressure by using a sphygmomanometer. A normal blood pressure is 120/80. Students can feel the compression of their artery when the cuff of the sphygmomanometer is pumped up. When the air is slowly released, students can then listen for the beating of the heart. They are listening for a reading that becomes the systolic reading or bigger number. The diastolic reading or lower number is recorded when the sound of the beating fades out. Once Ms. Dellas’ students finished gathering the blood pressure readings of each

student, they then get a chance to handle data by calculating the mean of the recorded blood pressures. “In biology we always take several readings since there is inherent variability in organisms.” Conclusion: A chapter book learning moment in biology is turned into a class project for cooperation, science and mathematics, and long-term memory experiences for the students.

Biology students using the sphygmomanometer

Biology Faculty Member, Ms. Dellas and student Omar Abu Zeineh. Omar is listening for his heartbeat to take a blood pressure reading from the sphygmomanometer. 38

Faculty Techniques for Improving Student Learning

Diverse Student Body, Differentiated Approach By, Chrysoula Ploutou It seems like students today are boggled down with assignments that they don’t necessarily find meaningful---skill and drill as I like to call it. As educators we are engrossed with trying to get through our curriculum in order to prepare our students for the following school year or course they need to take. Most teachers are so overwhelmed with paperwork and other school obligations that they barely have enough time to plan for their lessons, not to mention, plan a differentiated lesson, even though this should be the number one priority. More often than not, the students will ask, “But when will I ever need to use this in the real world?” The optimum outcome would be to connect the curriculum to a student’s reality. Although not purposely intended, we may stifle a student’s creativity and real world skills by not giving them the time they need to excel in the areas where they are really good. We often expect all of our students to learn the same way, so we habitually teach to the middle; but what about a threetiered approach where we have differentiation in the classroom, teaching to all the student levels: (1) the high performing student, (2)the average student and (3)the struggling student. Let’s think outside the box. Lesson plans should incorporate various activities that allow for learning to occur across the board. No student left behind? Isn’t this the philosophy of most teachers, or do we just let the struggling student fall through the cracks? Given the diverse population of students in an international school such as ACS Athens, I find the most challenging students to teach are those who receive Optimal Match services and have English as a Second Language. If you add behavioral difficulties to the equation it just becomes easier to teach one lesson in the traditional teacher-lectures and students-take-notes style. This style is geared towards the middle group with the hope that the struggling student will catch on and that the high performing student isn’t too bored. In short, only half of the class is provided with appropriate instruction that allows them to reach their learning goals. In the Optimal Match program, where we work with students in small group settings, the specialists begin the year by asking the students to fill out a learning style inventory which indicates how a child learns best; are they visual, auditory

or kinesthetic. The group lessons then incorporate the learning style or styles that work best per student. Although not a new concept, differentiating instruction successfully in the classroom to the diverse population of our school can be taxing. It goes back to the old school house approach where there was one teacher responsible for teaching all the kids in the village regardless of age and levels. The church-house school teacher was forced to differentiate her curriculum to meet the needs and readiness levels of all her students. Today, we are faced with a similar situation. What has changed is that we have the different levels all in the same classroom. So what do we do? Being sensitive to student readiness levels and learning preferences but continuing to hold them accountable to the same standards is demanding on any teacher. In order to differentiate successfully, teachers must know their curriculum, no doubt, but they also need to know their students. Knowing what is developmentally appropriate for each child is a key factor when implementing differentiation in the classroom. We want to make the curriculum challenging enough where the students are interested and are made to think. We also need to consider the pace in which we deliver the information. There may be students in the class who are still working on the beginning steps of a project while others are expanding their work. That’s okay. Our goal is for the students to learn in order to store some of the information presented in their long term memory, so when necessary they can retrieve it and apply it to something new. The way we assess a child’s learning is also important. The point is for the child to be able to show the teacher that he has mastered the content that he has studied. How the student shows this depends on each individual. The pencil paper approach is not always the right way or the only way. Alternative assessments such as the child developing a portfolio, giving a power point presentation or provided with oral testing are other options. I suppose the question I would like to leave my readers with is: “Are we really preparing our students for the real world?” 39

PEDAGOGYin action

Faculty Techniques for Improving Student Learning

Math Phobia: Strategies and Techniques for Overcoming Students’ Anxiety Each year I kick off the year in my math classes with a simple assignment: I ask students to write a Math Autobiography. This provides them with an opportunity to reflect on and share their general experiences with and feelings towards Math as a subject, and to express their personal achievement goals for the new academic year. The autobiography also requires them to describe their best and worst moments in math classes, which gives me a chance to get to know their personal history with math and provides important insights about their learning experiences and expectations. Students’ statements are truly revealing and confirm the existence of math phobia or anxiety. Here are some excerpts from this past September: “Teach us not to be afraid of math.” “I don’t know why, but when a test or quiz comes up, I get nervous. When I get the paper, at first it is like I never learned it before and I get stuck. This is the reason why sometimes I get low grades. Later my mind clears out. Afterwards I’m not happy with the results I get.” “I was asked to stand up at the board to do a problem. I stood up, and I felt badly after my answer was wrong and the class started laughing with me.” “Sometimes I know the answer and I am ashamed to answer because everybody is going to laugh at me.” “Math Autobiography – Eight years of Love and Hate” “I do not learn fast. It is easy for the others and I am afraid they will laugh.” “Math, to me, is quick thinking and good memory and I really don’t have any of those. Part of math is if you know the rules, but the rules are many and it’s hard to memorize them.” ‘What is math for me?’ is a really good question. I think of all those rules the teacher is trying to put in my head.” After reading statements like the above, I see both a tremendous challenge and an enormous opportunity ahead. As a middle school math teacher, my primary goal is to provide the necessary instruction that will enable my students to achieve the learning objectives for each course. However, to do this effectively, I certainly must go above and beyond that and change their feelings about Mathematics as a subject which act as a barrier to their learning. I must find ways to help students enjoy Mathematics and to allow them to see the power, beauty, and usefulness of it at the same time. Math phobia is something I have seen in many students throughout my career. At a time that math skills are more important than ever for both college and career readiness, 40

By, Sue Protopsaltis

it is sad that some students are underperforming because of their anxiety about the subject. Math has earned a reputation of being “too difficult” for some people. Sometimes parents tell me, “I was never any good at math, so I am not surprised that Mary has trouble.” Whenever I hear this statement, I quickly tell the parent not to let their child overhear them say that because it may influence them in a negative way. The feeling of “not being good at math” can sometimes come from a single bad experience that a person has had somewhere along the way. It can can also come from having trouble with one topic, not getting past that, and then not being able to move on to the next idea. If the foundation is not firm, it is hard to progress to the next level of understanding. Mathematics is a building process and missteps can stifle growth. Asking a student to walk through their “math-history” is a sort of “cathartic” experience, enabling them to pinpoint the specific experiences, both good and bad, that contributed to their present-day feelings about the subject of Mathematics. After reflecting about what caused those feelings, they can then set their goals for the school year and think about how they can reach them. If they cope with their feelings, then perhaps they will not hinder their success. Most importantly, the autobiography process gives me, the teacher, a better understanding of my students’ perceptions and feelings about math that I can use to design appropriate strategies to improve their study skills and accomplish their goals. There are ways to approach Mathematics that are perhaps different from how they approach other subjects, and in this spirit I give them tips for using their notes, studying, doing homework, and preparing for a test. Of course, I am only making suggestions – each student must find how to let them work best for him/her. As a start, students should realize that they must maximize what they take away from class instruction. Jotting down some notes while focusing on understanding the main ideas is very important. Notes, however, are to be used and not simply copied, so I ask students to review their notes and read through the textbook before attempting their homework exercises. Before they start their current assignment, they should always do their corrections on the previous one. That enables better comprehension as they go through a chapter. The reality is that students are usually in a hurry to just rush through their homework, but I insist on trying to teach them the meaning of the words “quality effort.” On occasion, I also give them “open notebook” quizzes, to encourage them to be familiar with the ideas and examples that they have written down as notes. It is an

important Middle School skill for them to develop. To reduce tension when I give a quiz, I sometimes allow the students to be “partners in learning.” They can take the quiz with a peer, but they must both write the solutions and agree on everything. This way they have mutual responsibility and are penalized for each other’s errors. They really enjoy this learning partnership because they can discuss each problem with someone. I like the technique because it gets them to talk about and work through the topics together, helping each other along the way. To prepare for a test, students have chapter reviews, and in some instances they can do practice quizzes and tests online. When taking a test, I advise them to show their work whenever possible and to read directions carefully. They must learn to pace themselves, not spending too much time if they are “stuck” on one problem. Moreover, on occasion I allow students to earn back points that they have lost on a quiz or test by finding their errors and explaining, not simply correcting, them. To become better in math, they need to develop the skill of examining their work, finding what they did wrong, and reflecting on it. Beyond study skills guidance, I employ different techniques to try to make Mathematics more appealing. Educational technology, as a prime example, provides a powerful tool in this effort and empowers both educators and students in incredible ways. Today’s students have grown up with technology, so they welcome any opportunity to use it. I give them projects where they can investigate or explore topics online, or to do research online. For example, eighth graders can use the internet to get stock quotes and to read a company’s profile before deciding how to invest their money during a stock market project. Apart from project opportunities, students can practice their math skills with games that are available online, as well as links I post for them on Moodle. With technology I can easily provide pictures of mathematicians that have contributed different ideas over time. Seeing the portraits and learning various facts about a mathematician often intrigues students more about the topic at hand. Also, when we explore fractals or polyhedrons, there are interactive sites where they can watch fractals grow or see polyhedrons unfold before their eyes. Finally, I give my students assignments that allow them to do recreational math Problems of the Month – that are assessed solely on effort, rather than on how many they get right. Problems of the Week allow them to express their unique problem-solving approach in writing, where the answer takes a backseat to their explanation of the steps and process that they used. While tackling students’ math phobia and anxiety is clearly a difficult task, it is not insurmountable. They should not feel overwhelmed or convinced that the battle is lost, but that there are ways to combat their phobia or difficulties. As a math teacher, I am determined to help them day-by-day, problem-byproblem, taking one step at a time, working together, the best way that I know how. By implementing effective strategies and techniques, we can help improve how students approach math and get them to replace their fear with excitement every chance along the way.









“The mind is not a vessel to be filled. It is a fire to be kindled. “ – Plutarch 41

PEDAGOGYin action

Project-based learning


Elementary School Dino - Daze: Lesson on dinosaur facts


Elementary School Greek Cultural Museum Project

PEDAGOGYin action

A New Twist on ½ Days: Student Participation in Hands on Learning

By, Melina Vassiliadis

On Wednesday, March 2, 2011, the SNFLC and IIC held ACS Athens’ first LEGO construction-building day. The event began at 12:15PM after elementary students were released from a ½ day of academic attendance. Nearly 140 students, between the ages 5-14, took part in the event. Many of the elementary school students were escorted from the front of the elementary building to the theater foyer/atrium, where the event took place. There was an area sectioned off in the theater foyer for “free play” where the children were independently using the LEGO resources (bricks, etc.) to create constructions of their choice using their imagination. Although this was mostly intended for the younger children, all age groups enjoyed time creating their own designs. Amongst these creations were boats, Noah’s arcs, farms, car garages, houses, spaceships, rockets, airplanes and more. The atrium area was used exclusively to build a LEGO castle. This was a joint effort of all students who wished to be a part of this construction, roughly 90 students in total. Students divided up into “teams” of varied numbers (between 10-15 students on each team). Each team was responsible for a part of the total construction and worked according to the initial instruction from the Lego supervisors, using the 42,000 LEGO bricks needed for this construction. Students were given explanations regarding the build-out, such as the importance of counting, proportion and aspect ratios, measuring, and how to collaborate amongst themselves to achieve the whole. Our teams took this opportunity in stride and managed to excitedly turn it into a sort of competition. Each piece of the castle that was completed by each team was attached together by the supervisors in order to assemble the whole castle. The result was rewarding to all…a 3.65-meter tall castle which was achieved in record-breaking time, according to the LEGO supervisors, under 1.5 hours! After the construction was completed, the teams were asked to try and construct miniature castles, according to what they had learned in building the giant one. Many students were able to accomplish this, either alone or in small teams. Towards the end of the event, many students assisted in the breakdown of the construction.


The event ended at 4pm, parents were instructed to pick up their children by that time. Overall, this was a successful event, where students were able to learn by experiences, collaborate with their classmates and think creatively to come up with unique solutions. They were able to test their abilities by applying the knowledge they acquired during the event to create wonderful constructions. Each student walked away with a "LEGO Diploma" from LEGO for their participation in this construction-building event. We had numerous parents present throughout the event. Some volunteered in supervising and many enjoyed working with their children and their friends in constructing with the LEGO bricks, making it a family event as well. The drinks and snacks for this event were supported by the following: Starbucks: Hot chocolate and filtered coffee (plus: cups, stirring sticks, sugar and milk) Mrs. Fields: Cookies Leo's House of Bagels: Bagels Parents: Two parents (who also work for the school) volunteered to bring cream cheese and chocolate spread for the bagels.

PEDAGOGYin action

NESA 2010 Virtual Science Fair: Learning beyond the Classroom

The NESA Virtual Science Fair (NVSF) allows students to shift from the traditional science fair, which is totally physical in nature, to a hybrid science fair which allows for virtual modes. Using Moodle, which is currently used in many NESA schools, as the platform to create virtual communities of schools and virtual regions provides a platform that allows students to use the power of e-learning. This capability enables students to enhance their science skills beyond the lab so that they can discuss their ideas and experiences while working with students in other schools and experts in science, academia, and professional life (known as e-mentors). This program has be-


come a successful project that crosses geopolitical borders in the Middle East and other regions of the globe and allows students from over 75 countries to participate in a scientific research and multi-cultural exchange project. As of the end of 2010, almost 4,000 students had worked with 2,500 virtual e-mentors from over 50 U.S. universities including science education faculty in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The NVSF has been running in NESA and Globally for seven years. This is the 3rd year that ACS Athens students have had an opportunity to place their science experiments online for international viewing.*

Robert Drummond Tips on winning virtual science fair: Peer collaboration: “The winning team worked really well together!” – Ms. Bakoyannis, Science Fair Organizer & MS Science Faculty “They used all their resources: interviews, books, research, group discussion and dedication.” The students initially started with a question that led them to a dead-end. They wanted to create surfing waves from sound, but realized that would not work. They revisited their question and brain-stormed for a new one, a winning one: “What material reduces sound intensity the most?”

Individual work: Stay focused. Work first, play later! Eighth grade student Robert Drummond, won third place with his project. His question? “How does the size of an arch bridge affect the amount of load it can hold without breaking?” *To read more and follow updates, students’ submitted writings and a forthcoming video…follow the link or scan our QRcode with your mobile device:

1st Place winners 47

PEDAGOGYin action

Understanding James Joyce

Show me your understanding of some aspect of this work. This is the key phrase in an assignment that I’ve been using in my English classes for the past ten or fifteen years. Another phrase in this assignment: Your understanding can be expressed in any way. At some point in my teaching career I realized that some students understand far more than they ever express in formal written essays, so I began to modify my assignments, allowing students to show their understanding of a work, theme or author however they wanted, but always with the stipulation that they explain that understanding (what they had attempted to show and how well they thought they had accomplished this) in writing. This year, the final work to be studied in English A1 HL 2 was James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. To be honest, students had not been very impressed by Joyce’s novel when they read it for the first time over the summer; there is not much ‘action’ as most of the narration focuses on the protagonist’s thoughts and reflections. The novel follows Stephen Daedalus—from his first experiences at elementary school through his university years—as he tries to make sense of his ‘place in the universe’ and become his own person. Stephen’s dreams of becoming an artist conflict with his parents’ hopes of his becoming a priest. It is much more complicated than this, but this is the essence of the plot. Even though themes of isolation, alienation and search for self are familiar to seniors in high school, our students who live in 21st century Athens often feel ‘disconnected’ from Stephen’s life in early 20th century Ireland. My task was to encourage the seniors at least to appreciate Joyce’s work, even if they did not particularly like it. For the culminating activity, I returned to my Understanding… assignment. Students were asked to choose any one aspect of the novel and explore it in any way they wanted in order to show some key understanding of James Joyce and his novel. I suggested that they focus on a motif, a repeated word, idea, or image which acts as 48

Marca A. Daley, Academy faculty a unifying device and is a way of presenting a theme of a work at any given moment without stating it. In James Joyce’s Portrait, a word or image, such as fire, blind, or light crosses and re-crosses the fabric of the story and creates a kind of internal stitching. I hoped that the students would be able to explore this ‘stitching’ and explain how it worked to hold the ‘fabric’ of the work together. The results surpassed my expectations. Students’ Understandings included: • An exploration of the influence of the past and the priesthood integrated into a piece of artwork. • Several examinations of the theme of flight, some explored in connection with key lines from the text and a photo montage. • An essay which explored how Joyce employs poems, chants and verses to underline Stephen’s gradual mental maturation and identify some crucial ideas he struggles with. • Several explorations of the mythic motif, including Stephen’s namesake, Daedalus, the father/son relationship, and his wanderings in the labyrinth of Dublin. • Tracing the motif of the ideal woman through Joyce’s use of Emma, EC, Eileen and the Virgin Mary. • Exploring the motif of fire and its link with Stephen’s passions; and the ‘metamorphosis of Stephen’s flame.’ • An investigation into ‘unwarranted punishment’ and its significance to the bildungsroman genre. • An exploration of the tactile imagery of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ through a multi-dimensional bust of Stephen and how he tries to cover his true nature by putting on layers of the church, his numbed senses, the life of a priest—all things that bring a feeling of cold to Stephen’s mind. As he peels these away we see the fire that exists underneath, and Stephen begins to accept the fact that he is meant to lead the life of an artist. • The symbol of the rosary beads and how Stephen’s relationship with religion is like a broken rosary using a drawing and photo montage. • A drawing that focuses on the significant symbols in the novel: the skull, the white rose, birds, the girl wading in the water. • A visual representation of the ironies of Stephen’s epiphanies; he follows the ones that change him the least and ignores the ones that change him the most… until the end. • An original piano composition based on a particular passage in which Stephen reflects on his character as the clouds, the ‘host of nomads’ represent everything he wants to be: able to escape Ireland and to be freed of the responsibilities and expectations that his family and educators attach to him. • A partial portrait of Stephen against a background of stained glass that incorporates the symbols and motifs most significant to Stephen and Joyce. These were sophisticated explorations and understandings and on the day that we shared them, we all gained new insights into—and appreciation of—not only the literature but also of each others’ special perspectives and means of expression.

The bulletin board where we posted our Understandings of James Joyce

Agnes Toth’s drawing (from her understanding) “The birds, present flying high in the sky in the background, represent the freedom of flight and a means of escape away from Ireland and into a better life. The pile of skulls at the bottom right represent the themes of death and hollowness, the darkness and mystery of the life that Stephen would be destined to live if he were to choose to stay within the church as a priest. I included a few lines from the novel in which the priest’s skull is visible through the play of light and shadows, and this connects to the skull that Stephen saw on the rector’s desk back at Clongowes.”

Stained Glass Detail “Asymmetrically placed on the bottom corner of the painting is the Virgin Mary. The religious figure seems to represent Stephen’s obsession with the mother figure, as Joyce writes, “The glories of Mar held his soul captive” (119). The lifeless image of the Virgin Mary seems to have a spirit of its own which grasps Stephen, while the whore, which is a living woman, is portrayed as an empty vessel, a doll. The juxtaposition between the two images of women may foreshadow Stephen's struggle of choosing between religion and art. 49

PEDAGOGYin action

THE ACS AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM K-12, Designing “shoes for each unique size�

Chris Perakis, Director of OM

ACS students at work The After School Program is a program which extends beyond the school day and provides a supportive environment to our students at ACS Athens. The purpose of the program is to facilitate students through learning processes and to provide them with a strong academic, social and emotional foundation. In order to accomplish these goals, during the after school program, a range of educational programs and creative work through art has been developed to encourage students to improve and maximize their learning potential. The program is administered by teachers with special education background who have the knowledge and expertise to enhance learning. Students will learn to apply basic skills and strategies to their core classes to be successful. After school activities are sensitive to the various grade levels, age groups and issues of diversity, in order to best meet the needs of individual children. After school activities target different student needs and give emphasis on specific learning outcomes in mathematics, reading and writing and completion of homework. The ways in which these support programs are provided to students is what really makes the difference. ACS Athens has identified key elements of high performance to growing minds, and to enhance those elements, utilizes curricula and teaching methods that make learning fun and exciting. 50

Each After School Activity is staffed with qualified personnel maintaining a ratio of one adult for every 4-5 students. The reading and math support classes will run with a ratio of one teacher for every 2 students. All courses, with the exception of the Homework Support, are also open to non-ACS students.

PARENTS What is it you like about the After School Support Program? • I like the fact that the children can get as much help as possible in every aspect. Even for those who aren’t familiar with the school’s system after having the appropriate support the results are great (have seen it). I also like the fact that there are programs for each individual need and ways to support and help and encourage everybody. (AKF) • I like‌that the kids learn how to study by themselves‌that any questions they may have can be answered and help given by experts when needed‌that students learn to work within a given time limit (at home they can find excuses and get distracted from their work)‌ that they arrive home with most of their work done and are free to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. (SA) • My two daughters come to the OM homework support and manage to finish most of their homework, which means that they have more time to play at home, and for me, it means that I can be a Mom at home instead of a very bad teacher, which helps me build a better relationship with my children. It helps them to feel good about themselves that they finish their homework alone without mom’s help. The study skills learned in the Study Skills program were wonderful because those skills will be used throughout their lives.(AS) • The after-school program is exceptional! It assists my son greatly. (GH) • All I can say is that mom and son are really happy. The program is very individualized and we like that. (TC)

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3rd Annual ACS COLLEGE VISITS to the Boston Area

By Stelios Kalogridakis Academy Counselor

IIC/STUDENT SERVICES: Making the World Just a Little Bit Bigger Following up on our highly successful college visit trips of 2009 and 2010, this past spring break we were able to take nine more of our Academy juniors on their first college visit trip to Boston and the Greater Boston Area. Arriving on a Thursday (giving us an extra day in hand in comparison to years 52

before), our students, comprised of five 10th graders and four 11th graders, were able to experience first-hand a US university campus setting, college life, classroom visits, meetings with ACS Athens alums and current college students, privatized tours and admissions information sessions; all in an effort to receive a better understanding of the selection process and to make the best fit choice.


1. Introduce students to the different types of institutions available in the US 2. Provide for an easier transition to higher education and college life 3. Enhance student understanding of the college admission process During the week, the following higher level institutions were visited: • Harvard University • Northeastern University • Boston College • Tufts • Wheaton • Brown University • Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Providence College (both for the first time this year) • Boston University, which included a private group information session with Scotty Dyer, head of the International Student Admissions department. We were also able to go to New Haven again this year and visit Yale University. Our students also participated in a multitude of introduction classes. After their initial taste of visiting a college campus, the students had an opportunity to experience the life and culture of Boston in a weekend filled with activities such as sightseeing around Boston, visiting museums, going to a theatrical performance, and even attending a Harvard University Men’s Lacrosse game. One question that might come up is if these tours to the United States are really necessary for our students to enrich and strengthen their knowledge of the college application process. The answer to that question very truthfully would be that these college visit tours have been essential in bridging the distance from secondary education to the universities for our students.


“We liked the fact that the university was extremely organized, and it offers many opportunities to students. It seems like the students are their first priority.” “It was like a whole city; students from all over the world!” “The students look like they are comfortable, and feel like Yale is their family.” “Collaboration is important=feeling of community.” “Campus is too huge, definitely not a place I would apply to.” “I didn’t get a chance to talk to many people, but as far as I saw, there is student diversity and I appreciate this as an international student.” “I do not believe that this is the school for me. I believe that I would fit in with the student body, but this is definitely not the school for me.” “I enjoyed the academics and the course I visited. The professors are extremely professional, helpful and constantly involving the students.” “Based on my impressions, BU is one of my favorite schools; I think its approach to education is a very healthy one, as it promotes close student-teacher relations.”

Stelios Kalogridakis and student 53


Eleni Scurletis NESA Recipient 55


ACS 7th Grader Recognized for her Commitment to Service by winning the 2011 NESA Haas/Hansen Student Award By David Nelson, ACS Athens NESA Representative

At ACS Athens, one of our three school-wide commitments includes Civic Responsibility, and this year one of our very special middle school students showcased her lifestyle of service. Eleni Scurletis was chosen as this year’s recipient of the Haas/ Hansen Student Award. This prestigious honor recognizes middle school students (grades 6-8) at Near East South Asia (NESA) member schools who model the character traits we value most in our students: consistency, persistence, a willingness to take risks, acceptance of other cultures/points of view and a genuine interest in and commitment to the welfare of others. Eleni Scurletis, a 7th grade student at ACS, stands out with her compassion for other people and animals. She was awarded a check for $500 and a trip for her and a family member to Bangkok, Thailand, where she spoke to the conference of over 600 educators. For the NESA application process, Eleni created a portfolio highlighting her work: • Conservation efforts to help the environment • Commitment to animal welfare • Personal campaign to stop puppy mills


• Dedication to assisting the less fortunate as a member of a Girl Scout troop • Sponsoring a child in Uganda • Extensive volunteerism in food banks, nursing homes and animal shelters A special thank you to Jeff Kalas, Middle School Counselor and Mary-Ann Augoustatos, Middle School Principal for their support of this process. Eleni spoke at the 2011 NESA Spring Educators Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, and shared her thoughts and inspirations with teachers throughout the Near East South Asia region. Let Your Life Speak! Acceptance Speech of Eleni Scurletis Delivered March 29, 2011 Bangkok, Thailand NESA Spring Educators Conference “Let your life speak.” This is a Quaker saying, and my message to all of you here today at the 2011 NESA Spring Educators Conference. I never thought that I would be standing in front of so many teachers advising them on how to inspire children to make community service an essential part of their lives. Even now, when advisors or teachers ask me to donate time or money to a charity, I wonder what they are doing to make a difference. Are you

telling students to help or are you inspiring them with your actions? What motivated me to commit myself to community service was when I saw adults acting and not just talking. They put their own ideals into actions and let their lives revolve around helping others because they loved to [help], not because they were obligated to [help] or expected to be rewarded. Four people who have greatly influenced me are my gymnastics coach, the director of a small animal rescue organization, and my parents. These individuals have inspired me to help other people, animals, and the environment by setting examples themselves. My gymnastics coach welcomes everyone onto her team whether or not they can afford to pay. Her generous spirit and the impact it has made on so many gymnasts motivated me to help a young girl whose family didn’t have the money to send her to school. I chose to support the education of a child in Uganda. The director of an animal rescue organization saves the lives of many creatures large and small because his heart aches to end their suffering. He inspired me to rescue strays, volunteer at animal shelters, and start a campaign to end puppy mills. If you don’t know what a puppy mill is, it is a chain of inhumane breeding facilities that supply pet stores with puppies. I have adopted two strays since I discovered where most pet shop dogs come from. My mother is a great influence in my life because she is always doing community service and helping to preserve the environment. I am easily motivated by her and became a Girl Scout and participated in many conservation activities. Lastly, my father influences me by simply being a great person. Because he had a difficult childhood, he always tries to help others in need. Seeing how the adults in my life have made a difference in the world has really inspired me to follow in their footsteps. As teachers, you may not appreciate the extent that your actions inspire us as students. As educators, you have the opportunity to motivate future generations to make community service an essential part of their lives. Actions speak louder than words. If you personally demonstrate your desire to make a difference in the world, your students will realize the importance and meaning of putting their thoughts into actions and “Letting their lives speak.” I would like to thank the members of the NESA Council for giving me the opportunity to be here today. Thank you for providing children like me with the chance to express our passion for helping the world. I have only just begun to let my life speak and I hope that you will be inspired to do the same. Log into the NESA website for more information: 57


Innovation, Environmentalism and Global Fund-raising! An Interview with The Civic Responsibility Club (a.k.a. The Do-Gooders Club)

Legend: ACS Athens faculty, Therese Weimholt and Carrie Brinkman, founded The Civic Responsibility Club on March 1st, 2011. Its mission is to help students to design and execute original volunteer activities around the school, community, and globe.

Euro Wars - Fund-raising for Japan

Ethos: What was the impetus behind such an event? (How did you decide it would be a "competitive" fund-raiser?) The Do-Gooders Club (TDGC): Since our first meeting in March all of our focus was on finding ways that our club could really help our local and global community. Unfortunately, the more organizations we called and researched, the more we realized that the organizations needed money and material donations more than anything else. The club set about doing smaller things to raise the general spirits and feelings of community within the school (free candy raffles with no strings attached, cheerful and inspiring quotes stuffed in lockers), but they wanted to do something bigger that would have a more lasting impact. We came up with the usual long list of ways to fund-raise but we had no start-up money for these events since we were a brand new club. The "Euro Wars" (called Penny Wars in the States) is actually a very popular way of raising money for charity in Canada and the USA (as an un58

With Therese Weimholt and Carrie Brinkman

dergrad my [Therese Weimholt] college raised hundreds of dollars by having dorms compete), and since this activity required very little start-up money (just 2 Euros for water bottles and tape), it was the one we chose. When we presented it to the club, the students agreed it would work. They correctly predicted several things: 1. Most people don't mind giving the change in their pockets to a good cause. 2. A pizza party as a winning prize is a great way to motivate a group of students to donate their change. 3. A little healthy competitive spirit can do wonders for PR. Ethos: Did you get the turn-out that you had anticipated? TDGC: Overall, yes! We saw positive participation especially amongst the middle school students; one 8th grade student alone brought in her entire piggy bank. Once students saw all that change donated, things really started picking up and 10/20 Euro bills were quickly dropped into the 8th grade jar to motivate other grades to participate and have a chance to win. The participation in the high school was not as great as we expected because there were a lot of cynics. The 9th graders didn't seem to think the money would

Zander Menjivar (grade 10) & Raseel Sharaf (grade 10) making Euro Wars posters

Stephanie Putri Dhinanti (grade 6) counting the 6th grade donations for Euro Wars

Stewart Murray (grade 6) and Celeste Hollingsworth (grade 7) making Euro Wars posters

Stewart Murray (grade 6) counting the 8th grade's winning donations

actually go to Japan. Because of this skepticism, we will be posting the receipt of payment to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Funds on the walls of the school as soon as the payment goes through and we will present the certificate of payment with the pizza party to the 8th grade the day of their graduation rehearsal.

Zander Menjivar giving tips for the Euro Wars

Celeste Hollingsworth (grade 7) counting the 7th grade donations

Ethos: Why and how did you choose the recipient organization? We chose the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Funds. We chose to help the victims of the March 11th, 2011, TĹ?hoku earthquake and Tsunami. Since the Red Cross is an international organization, if Japan is not accepting money they may give the donations to Haiti, which is still suffering from the 2010 earthquake; or, they will relegate the funds to any other place around the world that was recently struck by disaster.

2. Find some recyclable water bottles or milk jugs – a chance to promote environmental awareness. 3. Label them. 4. Advertise the competition and cause (with the rules for participation and the deadline). 5. Provide Incentives (pizza party!) for the group with the highest donation. 6. And Begin! An additional note to avoid a delay in donation: The organizers of the competition should make sure their school cashier or bank accepts lots of small change and will convert it into a money order (those are the little details that can delay a donation process). They can view this site: content&task=view

Ethos: In modeling global citizenry, how could another school follow your lead? TDGC: Very simple 1. Pick the organization for which your club would like to raise funds.

Ethos: Is this fund-raiser something you would do again for other global issues? TDGC: Yes, we plan on making it an annual event, and we would definitely call it a success!

Ethos: How much money did you raise? TDGC: We raised a total of 637.85 Euros, with the 8th grade raising the most funds.



ACS Athens: Spanish Trip

The ACS Athens High School and Middle School Spanish classes enjoyed a fieldtrip to the Cervantes Institute in Plaka this February. The Spanish Club organized the fieldtrip with students enjoying a day emerged in Mexican art and culture. This fieldtrip complemented some of the students’ studies of the Arts in Spanish classes and improved their learning and appreciation of Mexican painters. Over 40 students from the Middle School and Academy participated in this trip; a unique ability for Spanish learners to exercise their language skills with native speakers who described the works of art in Spanish. The day wouldn’t have been complete without a true Mexican meal at a local Mexican restaurant close to the Institute. A meal consisting of tacos, tamales, and other Mexican specialties such as mole (a traditional chicken dish served with a sauce made with chocolate) was served to the students to top off an informative and unique fieldtrip. We hope to have another trip like this in the future! 60

By Alex Stelea 11th Grade

From Japan: Alumni Tosh Kimura My name is Tosh Kimura*, a Japanese American born in Chicago, from the class of ‘90. Many of you know that Japan is in a big crisis from all sorts of angles: still struggling with earthquake aftershocks; cleaning up the mess after the devastating tsunami; the nuclear power plant's problems are still not looking good; many people lost their houses and are living in the school gyms as a shelter; infrastructures and logistics are cut off, but improving; factories are down and supplies are decreasing in the metropolitan area even in Tokyo. There are so many rumors and so many things going around, making it hard to decide what to believe... but what makes us (Japanese people) move and take steps forward is that we all have faith in each other and we all believe in "Kizuna," which means bond or connection from people directly or indirectly. I live in Yokohama. It is approximately 300km from the sight, so I am no different than all of you. I am always thinking how to support the people up north, and so finally, I decided to do the things I had always done before. I realized that I can, indirectly, support the people in the north. Believe me, when I say that all people are connected somehow, so you'll never know what to expect. Have faith in your friends and neighbors. Support people when they're screaming for help. You'll never know when or how your actions might influence people around the world. The internet has connected us globally, but we, the people, have a great ability to spread our actions to one another with "Kizuna." Of course, donations and volunteer work will help a lot directly: I'm not denying it, but once again, "Kizuna" can cause a greater good for mankind eventually. Lastly, I would like to leave you with the following quote: "If you have knowledge of something use it! If you have money spend it! If you have a power or strength use it! If you don't have anything, have faith, vitality and energy to live!" Thank you all for your great efforts, and also for your prayers. It is your thoughts that will count the most. We will arise from this and one day we will all smile. Thank you so much for this great opportunity. *Tosh Kimura went to ACS from 87-90. He was member of varsity soccer team for three years as a starter. He won 1st place in EMAC during his 1st year and came 2nd during subsequent years. He was a captain of the team during his senior year. The kind of student I was...that you'll have to ask Mr. Pelides‌ Mr. Pelides was pleased to hear that we had contacted his former student. He confirmed that Tosh was an amazing soccer player and student, who spoke perfect Greek and English! Best wishes from ACS Athens to you, your family and Japan!




Alumni News Nicole Levina-Maria Demos (’88) after teaching in Moscow, Russia and in the UK, Nicole is currently the Upper School Learning Support Coordinator for Grade 6-12 at the International School of Helsinki in Finland. Besides her teaching and coordinating responsibilities, Nicole is also the Middle School Speech and Debate Coach, the Assistant Director of the School Play, and a member of the ISH Faculty Rock Band. Nicole is eager to connect with former classmates and friends via email at

Dear Alumni, Welcome to the Alumni section of the ninth issues of the ACS Athens Ethos. To submit your information in the next issue, please email To join the ACS Athens Alumni Directory, please visit our website at, and follow these steps: 1. ‘Profile’ on the Navigation Bar 2. Scroll down to ‘Alumni’ - click 3. Scroll down to ‘Verification for Alumni Directory Form’ 4. Complete the form and await approval link that will be sent by email. 5. Upon receipt, click link to direct you to the Alumni Directory Form. 6. Login with your ‘Username’ and ‘Password.’ 7. Complete Alumni Directory Form. 8. Be sure to note the request to ‘check’ or ‘not check’ the visibility of your social network and personal information to other alumni.


Below is a note by Mr. and Mrs. Lee, proud parents of ACS Alumnus Joshua S. E. Lee (’08) Joshua S.E. Lee (’08) graduated with honors from the University of Florida on April 30, 2011. Joshua has continued to perform excellent academic work, thanks in no small part to the four years that he spent at your fine school. Joshua was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society in his junior year and will soon be inducted into the local UF chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. We are very proud of him and would like to express our appreciation to you and your staff. It appears that Joshua will choose to continue his education at a law school—location and time, yet to be decided. Faculty News of the ‘70’s.....Bill Price and Joe McCarthy, both retired recently. Mr. Price retired from the Social Studies Department at South Burlington Vermont public schools. Mr. McCarthy retired from his position as Senior Associate Dean at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in Massachusetts. Joanne Tzouanakos ‘79 Former Alumni Association Board Member

A letter from the New Alumni President Dr. Dimitris V. Kiritsis (Jimmy) President, ACS Alumni Association Class of 1984 Hi to all! As the newly elected ACS Athens Alumni Association President, I would like to take this opportunity to say that it is an honour and a privilege to be elected and serve THE SCHOOL again from a totally different position apart from being a student! However, I do wish that those years would come back again so I could live the ACS magic and see my teachers and classmates once again (as we were then)! Furthermore, I would also like to thank Dr. Gialamas, for his kind support throughout these past months; it just reflects how much he believes in the Alumni Association and how open-minded he is. The previous board, ALL INCLUDED, really deserve RESPECT because they kept the ACS fire burning with their good- will and high spirits throughout the years because simply they felt that ACS was their family; just to mention somePaola Bruno ‘78 , Joanne Tzouanakos ‘79 , Raymond Srouji ‘83, Belina Korovessis ‘78, Cynthia Goudis ‘71, Lia Sterghos ’73, Tom Mazarakis, and many more. Great work to all! Last but not least, all the ACS'ers that voted for the new board, just a simple THANK YOU! I do not like to promise. I like to DO. As I have stated before, only time will tell of our actions. Above all is the school, and I love our school; it is part of me and I will try and serve our school as best as I can with my team; nothing can be achieved without the team. After numerous meetings and nominations beginning from January 2011, we came out with our Alumni motto, ACS…a timeless connection! (The winner was Belina Korovessis). So far we have held four events: the Carnival Party in February 2011; the Rock Gig in March 2011; the Greek Live Party in April 2011; and our ACS Athens “Open Session” featuring Dr. Gialamas. All four events proved to be extremely successful, with your support of course. This success gives us the courage and motivation to continue reaching our targets. Coming up is our June Beach Party and, of course, in December of 2011, our main event of the year–the “Annual ACS Classic Reunion-Prom” with a Black &White dress code! Please contact us ( for more information on the above events.

We Both Welcome the New ACS Alumni Association Dimitris “Jimmy” Kiritsis, class of 1984, President Raymond Srouji, class of 1983, Vice-President Maria Kardamenis, class of 1987, Secretary Thelxi Trochalis, class of 1986, Treasurer Christina Mefalopoulos, class of 1985, Board Member Chris Moukas, class of 1972, Board Member John “Vavouras” Alex, class of 1973, Board Member Niki Kardamenis, class of 1986, Board Member

Being elected as President came so suddenly; I have yet to realize it. It wasn't planned for (Mr Srouji’s fault!); however, I do feel excited and eager to work! It is a responsibility that I and the rest of the board members have taken and must pull through to the end and keep the ACS fire burning to continue the HISTORY OF ACS! This we can only accomplish if we (all Alumni) work together and connect. We will gain nothing from this; we are servants of the school…nothing more nothing less. This will be quite an adventure and challenge for us; an adventure which we as a board must enjoy and live up to the expectations of those that will follow us. It will be an experience to work with all ALUMNI and share ideas for the good will of OUR school. Our target and mission is the same and will be to the end…to re-unite as many ACS Athens alumni as we can, go down 'memory lane' and remember all the good times we had at our school. So, come join our ACS Alumni celebrations, be part and one of us, see old and forgotten classmates, reminiscent, as well as meet new ACS alumni! Each time you participate in one of our events you are giving a ‘boost’ to the ACS Scholarship Fund! Last but not least, I would like to modify a phrase from a very famous speech once said by JFK, 'Ask NOT what your school can do for you; ask what YOU can do for your school!” We’ll be in touch!!

My Journey By Joanne Tzouanakos Former Executive Board Member My name is Joanne Tzouanakos class of 1979 and I am very proud to say that I had the privilege to serve on the ACS Alumni Board from 2003 as an Executive Board Member and two terms as President of the Alumni Board. At this time, I wish to extend my thanks and recognition to my board members for their dedication and their continuous support throughout my term. In a few words, I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the entire ACS family and community for giving me and the board the opportunity to contribute by making sure with every effort that we maintain the strong bond between our fellow alumni and the school as per the Alumni Mission. It was a journey with ups and downs, but it is worth it when you come to think that generation after generation of students which attend ACS are rewarded after their graduation for life as they have been taught by the best. We believe in the Alumni Mission and the Alumni Association has given their ongoing support to previous boards and surely will do the same with all the boards to follow as we only have one mutual goal and that is to “unite the alumni.” I would like to welcome the newly elected board members as well: So far, this group has definitely “rocked” with the events they have organized until now and I, personally, would like for this board to stick around for a while as the Association definitely needs the energy and drive that they have and project to all. I am certain that they have a great deal to offer the Association and the community as a whole. I wish all the best to the new board and may their journey be as exciting and rewarding as it has been for me. 63


The Road Less Traveled by… The ACS Athens - University of Winnipeg Internship Louesa Polyzoi, Ph.D., Ryan Erichsen, April Pasieczka, Alia Marcinkow, Lindsay Wessel

(Note from the Editor: This 2010 university experience at ACS Athens was repeated again this year by Dr. Polyzoi, but came to a conclusion as this issue of Ethos was being published. Therefore, we are publishing the commentary of last year’s group. An additional note: Due to the length of the individual entries, the complete stories can be found on our website.) I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost

In 2010, five University of Winnipeg Education students were selected to travel to Greece to complete their five-week teaching block at the American Community School of Athens (ACS-Athens). ACS-Athens is a K-12 International Baccalaureate (IB) school with 810 students, from all over the world, representing more than 50 countries. The faculty of ACS is comprised of 92 teachers and specialists; 18 hold Master’s degrees; 45 have pursued advanced studies beyond the Master’s level; 3 hold Ph.D.s. ACS-Athens’ mission statement reveals the philosophy that lies at the heart of the school: “Through excellence in teaching and diverse educational experiences, ACSAthens challenges all students to realize their unique potential: academically, intellectually, socially and ethically – to thrive as responsible global citizens.” The teachers of ACS-Athens, through their generous sharing of time, resources, wisdom, and expertise have left our students, Lindsay Wessell, Ryan Erichsen, Alia Marcinkow, April Pasieczka, and Lindsay Winfield, with an incredible gift – an experience which has been life-changing. We are indebted to: Margarita Gournaris (Grade 12 IB History), Eli Pupovac (Grade 10 History), David Nelson (Grade 10 American Studies/ Grade 11 IB Theory of Knowledge), Nicholas Parakatis (Grade 11-12 IB Math, Grade-9 Honors Geometry), Dora Andrikopoulos (Grade 6 and 7 Math), Christina Bakoyanni (Grade 6 Science), and Mary Sexon (Grade 5 English Language Arts). What follows are the students’ journal entries. 64

Ryan Erichsen

April 7/2010 Some of the finest intellectuals… After many months of anxious, perhaps nerve wracking, anticipation, I finally began my internship at ACS Athens. From across the ocean, ACS seemed distant and foreign, both in terms of spatial distance and educational practice. With the first day started and finished, the opportunity to examine the preconceptions and misconceptions, I harboured is too enticing to be ignored. Before arriving at ACS Athens, a private school specializing in the international baccalaureate program that is proud of the fact that 100% of graduating students go on to post secondary school and concurrently is a major supplier of students to ivy league institutions in the United States and Great Britain, I was of the mindset that a school could only boast such lofty accomplishments by enrolling and retaining only the most gifted and committed students. I had always harboured the assumption that for a student body to be so universally successful was an impossibility without either limiting the student body in terms of academic proficiency or, alternatively, by lowering academic standards, which would be impossible for a private school that ever intended its students to advance to the world’s premiere colleges and universities. This was one of the reasons that I have historically been suspicious of private schools claiming to have superior teaching methods or staff based upon student success; any school that limited its enrollment to the best and brightest would be bound to appear successful regardless of the methodology or educational theory being practiced. However, upon arriving at ACS Athens, it became clear the school was indeed an exceptional educational setting that was open to all of Athens’s youths, albeit on the premise that their families were capable of making the tuition payments, although it should be pointed out, special needs know no economic boundary. The student body is, thus, made up of a group of learners that cover a broad spectrum of abilities and needs and all are cared for and supported. This policy of inclusion is perfectly reflected in the schools Optimal Match program for students in need of additional supports, be they academic or otherwise. The Optimal Match program exists to identify the supports required by students who have learning needs above those of the average student. The program then works to create a plan and an educational program for the student in

order to maximize the student’s opportunities for success and growth. The program is individual in this way, but keeps students within their home classrooms to prevent feelings of segregation or separation. The program is so successful, that even students in need of additional learning supports have a record of 100% post secondary enrollment following graduation. This is in stark contrast to programs that exist in my hometown of Winnipeg, whose programs for youth with learning impairments are far less successful. While it is true that Winnipeg schools possess more diverse student populations, the success of ACS and its Optimal Match program remain both undeniable and intriguing. This dedication to inclusion has helped to make ACS a truly unique school, especially when one considers that it continues to maintain its reputation as an institution that produces some of the world finest intellectuals and future leaders. It came as a great surprise to me that a private school would be so focused on student supports and universal success of students and has forced me to reconsider my views not only on private schools and their successes, but also the way in which schools work with all their students toward success.

April Pasieczka

April 29, 2010 The benefits of living with fellow-student teachers… Three weeks into my final practicum block, I have come to realize something that is very different than any other practicum block that I have completed. It has to do with where I live and who I am living with. I realize that this should not be a surprise to me after residing in my Athens apartment for over a month now,

but what has come as a surprise is how my teaching is affected by the people with whom I live and associate outside of school. During my practicum blocks in Winnipeg, I did not see my “teacher friends” that I went to university classes with everyday. I lived at home with my family, none of whom were teachers, and I hung out with my friends, very few of whom were also studying to be teachers. During my block at ACS Athens, however, I lived with Lindsay Winfield and Ryan Erichsen, two other interns from the University of Winnipeg, and spent a considerable amount of time with Alia Marcenkow and Lindsay Wessel, as well. The five of us have become extremely close during our time living in Athens; not only did we see each other at school everyday, but we traveled to school together, we toured the city of Athens together, and we hung out together outside of school hours. Having four other people who are going through the same experience that I am is extremely helpful. We all are adjusting to living in a new city and being placed in a brand new school, together. The best part about living with other teachers, especially ones who work at the same school and with the same students that you do, is that you always have someone to bounce ideas off. While planning at home, Ryan, Lindsay, and I were constantly showing each other lessons we had planned, asking for advice about assignments and rubrics that we made, and discussing our experiences at school. Not only has this allowed me to gain more constructive criticism about what I am doing as a teacher, but it allowed me to benefit from the ideas of other teachers, and to constantly reflect upon my own practicum experiences. Although during practicum blocks in Winnipeg there are often other student teachers at the school with whom to discuss ideas, it is not quite the same as having someone who is at your disposal 24/7. As you may have guessed, this topic has come up in conversation amongst the five of us on more than one occasion. We all agree that we love having people to talk to outside of school who will genuinely listen, offer guidance, and give constructive criticism…

Alia Marcinkow

April 28, 2010 Student-centered learning at its finest … My time at ACS Athens has passed by only too quickly and, as part of my teaching responsibilities, I was given the opportunity to chaperone several student field trips. One of these field trips was the Grade-6 Annual Walk of Athens. I was not sure what to expect but having a Classical Studies minor, I was ready for the adventure. I was informed that the students would be taking charge of the field trip, following the ACS philosophy of inquiry-based learning. Each student was part of a larger learning group that was assigned an historic monument to research and present to fellow-classmates. When we arrived at the monuments, the students became our tour guides and proceeded to describe the history, architecture, and mythologies associated with each archaeological site. We visited sites such as Hadrian’s Library (132 AD) where the students spoke about the fires that occurred there and its dual use as a church during the Byzantine era. We moved on to the Roman Agora (on the north side of the Acropolis), where the students described the Arch of Athena and the Tower of the Winds (50 BC). This structure features a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane. Each octagonal side of the clock tower 65

STAFFdevelopment is represented by weight wind deities, which linked to students’ English Language Arts class where they were exploring “personification”. The Tower also related to math, where students were learning about three-dimensional shapes. The monument connected to science and how light energy can be used in nature. Finally, the site connected to Social Studies through an examination of the foundations where the structure was built. The next monuments we visited were in the Ancient Agora (northwest of the Acropolis), where the Stoa and Temple of Hephaestus (patron god of metal working) were examined. This Annual Walk of Athens opened my eyes to the advantages of students’ taking learning into their own hands. Not only did the presenters learn about their own site or monument, but they were attentive to what their peers presented and they absorbed the knowledge being shared. The students had their ideas presented, and consolidated in all their classes, which served to strengthen their own research. From this field trip, I began to ponder how I, as a teacher, could bring inquiry and student-centered learning into my own classroom. In most science classrooms, the teacher often becomes the giver of knowledge and the students the receivers, but how can we change this conservative view of teaching and learning? I believe that just as the Walk of Athens trip brought Social Studies to life, so can Science field trips. This idea became a reality on another field trip that we took to the Planetarium with the Grade-7 students. These students had the opportunity to manipulate objects, ask questions, and explore scientific ideas in a studentsafe environment. As an educator, I believe that this type of learning is essential to promote student engagement. By allowing the students to be the teachers, we provide them with an opportunity to develop and satisfy their thirst for knowledge. These types of field trips would not only work in places such as Athens with its rich culture and history, but in every city and country around the world. Students can “live” the subjects they are learning about in the world around them as an alternative to the traditional model of learning in the classroom.

Lindsay Wessel

April 19, 2010 Teaching beyond the classroom … The Journalism and Democracy Project at ACS Athens: A joint video documentary project between high-school students at ACS Athens and Har-

Dyslexia Course Over 50 ACS Athens professionals took this exciting opportunity to pilot an online basic Dyslexia course for teachers. Our participation was made possible due to the collaboration between ECIS and Dyslexia International. The course was a great introduction to dyslexia. It was a very comprehensive, informative and well structured course. It gave good understanding of what dyslexia really is, how to understand its causes and how to become aware of it. It provided clear and supporting evidence via links and video clips, making the course even more insightful. 66

vard University’s Newscoop Organization addressing the most contested conflicts in modern history… Today was a day where I witnessed what ACS is all about: educating students on world-wide issues through multiple entry points. Today, a group of Academy (high-school) students presented a documentary that they scripted, edited, narrated, and researched. The documentary focused on the historic and current issues between Israeli and Palestinian peoples. The entire Academy (including grade-8 students from the Middle School) was invited to watch the premier of this documentary in the large theatre of ACS Athens. Along with students, teachers, parents, and the national media, several ambassadors were present, including the Israeli, Palestinian, and United States of America ambassadors. I was blown away by the complexity of the issues and how well and unbiased the documentary was presented. The students were truly aware of how sensitive the issue and I believe they successfully presented these issues in an unbiased, realistic, and emotional light. Not only was the documentary amazing, with evoking images, concise narratives, and well-researched information, but the students were asked to sit on a panel and answer difficult questions from audience members. I was incredibly impressed with how eloquently and coherently the students were able to answer these questions, offering intellectual answers, while keeping to the point. The students were well able to justify their decisions in making the documentary as well as to remove their own opinions from the topic. In classes like Aboriginal Education, we were told to do the same thing as these students had done: remove our own judgments and biases to take a fair look at the issues from both sides. When people are able to see that every story, no matter how big or small, has two sides, true understanding comes about. It takes incredibly well- rounded people to consider various issues in an unbiased light and be open minded enough to allow their own opinions to be pushed aside and challenged. Thank you, Dr. Polyzoi. It has been an unforgettable experience! Καί τού χρόνου!

By Chris Perakis, Director of OM Program and the SNFLC It also provided teaching methods and practice-based activities that could be used in the classroom and could benefit the class as a whole. This is a course that can be useful to everyone in the field of education, not just teachers. This course has been translated in French and we’re looking into the possibility for translating it in Greek. Follow our link and QR-code for more on this article and the Professional Development of ACS Athens Staff.


The Feldeenkrais Method of Movement Education Alexandra Koumatou

Alexandra Koumatou graduated in 2008 and began teaching her own classes. Staff Development includes the courses offered by the ACS Athens’ Institute of Innovation and Creativity. In this course, teachers learn how to relax and stretch their muscles effortlessly.



2nd International Basketball Coaches Clinic a success at ACS Athens!


By Αnnie Constantinides, Director of Athletics

Annie Constantinides (center left) with visiting coaches. On April 29-30 and May 1st, the 2nd International Basketball Coaches Clinic took place at ACS Athens and it proved to be a successful event! Four coaches from the United States and one coach from the Greek National Basketball Coaches Federation joined us for a full week-end of basketball teaching! Sue Semrau (Florida State University), Jane Albright (University of Nevada @ Reno), Kerry Rupp (Louisiana Tech University), Stan Spirou (University of Southern New Hampshire) and Giorgos Kalafatakis shared their knowledge of individual and

team concepts of basketball with fellow coaches and university students. The audience was quite diverse and we had participants from Athens, Thessaloniki, Larisa, Volos, and Patra, to name a few places and all of them were in one place willing to expand their education. Furthermore, our very own basketball athletes had the opportunity to be involved as “demonstration� teams and were taught by these great coaches! A truly worthwhile experience for all these players. 69



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Ethos magazine - Spring 2011  

ACS Athens ETHOS magazine - Spring 2011 "Composing Innovation" - (vol.5 issue 2)

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