ETHOS • FALL 2022
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.
Main Number: +30 210 6393200 Reception Desk: Ext. 206, 233 Office of the President: Ext. 201 Office of Enrollment Management, Communications & Technology: Ext. 263 Admissions: Ext. 263, 251 Finance: Ext.202, 207 Business Procurement: Ext. 207 Human Resources: Ext. 204,256 Cashier: Ext. 208 Bookstore: Ext. 214 Transportation: Ext. 239 Health Office: Ext. 217 Cafeteria: Ext. 236 Academy: Ext. 222 Academy Citizenship: Ext. 404 Middle School: Ext. 261 Middle School Citizenship: Ext. 267 Elementary School: Ext. 229 Student Affairs: Ext. 226 IB/AP Programs: Ext. 247, 248 Academy/MS Library: Ext. 219, 220 ES Library: Ext. 293 Athletics: Ext. 327, 401 The Institute: Ext. 402 Optimal Learning Support Program: Ext. 237, 265 Theater: Ext. 331, 302 Security: Ext. 240 Security (After Hours): +30 210 6393555
Our Vision: Empowering Individuals to become Architects of their Own Learning to Thrive as Conscious Global Citizens and Improve Life and Living on the Planet.
Ethos is an annual publication showcasing the life and activity of the Institution of ACS Athens. Publisher: ACS Athens Managing Editor: Demi Aroni Art Director: Leda Tsoukia Copy editing: Annie Angelidou
Contributors: ACS Athens Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents and Alumni, Professional Photography: Yannis Vardaxoglou, web issue Editor: Maria Matakia
Copyright ©2022-2023 All rights reserved. No part of this magazine (text or images) may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher ACS Athens (American Community Schools)
ETHOS • FALL 2022
12 9 Ag.Paraskevis
E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: acsathens.gr T: +30 210 6393200 F: +30 210 6390051
Street, GR 15234 Halandri Athens, Greece
Note From The President
by Dr. Peggy Pelonis 8
How can Leadership Qualities be Infused Through SDGs?
by Dr. Jenny E. Grigoropoulos 10 Artificial Intelligence In The ACS Athens Elementary School by Katherine Bibidakis & Pinelopi Dimitroula 12 Rooting Conscious Citizenship Values with ACS Athens Early Childhood Mascot by Sophia Moros 14 Class of 2034 Are Digital Natives by Valeria Laitinen 16 Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Stavii Dimas 18
Professional Development And Evaluation Coming Of Age At ACS Athens by Dr. Julie Crain and Andromachi Fragkou 20 Empowering Human Intelligence Through Understanding Artificial Intelligence by Andromachi Fragkou 22 What Is Intelligence? By Mark McGowan, 24 Why Does Emotional Intelligence Matter And How Do We Teach It? By Evelyn Pittas 26 Why Must Humans And Artificial Intelligence Co-Exist? By Evelyn Pittas 28 Artificial Intelligence And Synesthesia by Effie Zografou-Elgabry 30 How AI Is Changing The Audiovisual Production Process – From Shooting To Post-Production
By Thanasis Palos 32 The Next Step In Media Production: Media Literacy Through AI by John Papadakis 34
A Digital Career Bank Guiding Students Towards Tomorrow’s Careers
By Carla Tanas 36 Chapman University Comes All The Way From California To Learn From ACS Athens by Carla Tanas 40 Preparing Students For The Age Of ΑΙ Requires Enhancing The Schoolwide Curriculum To Include Both Artificial Intelligence And Conscious Citizenship by Carla Tanas 42
Teaching Adolescents That They Are Part Of A Whole; How To Help Middle School Students Become Conscious Citizens by Venie Gaki 44
ACS Athens Middle School Students Celebrate UN Day With The Chair Of The UN Human Rights Committee by Christina Bakoyannis 46
Connecting School-Wide Goals Through The Sustainable Development Goals In Mathematics by Dora Andrikopoulos 48
ACS Athens Recycling Program A closer look at the process of its design and accomplishments by Panos Mologousis 50
How Does Inclusion Of All Learning Abilities Ultimately Empower Students To Make Change? by Chara Kouppa and Sarah Kaldelli 52 Let’s Talk About It... by Sarah Kaldelli 54 The Mindset And Commitment To Create Innovative Programs The Youth-To-Youth Educational And Social Integration Program; From Refugee Camp To College Scholarship by Julia Tokatlidou 56 “Place Is Security And Space Is Freedom (Tuan)” Integration Of Migrants Via Artificial Intelligence In Media Production by Vana Alexopoulou 59 Considering Responsible Artificial Intelligence In The Classroom by Dr. Antonis Karampelas 60 Action Research & The SDG’s: Empowering Human Intelligence Through Personalized Learning And Design Thinking by Michael Januzzi 62 2022 IB Visual Arts Exhibitions by Sophia Soseilos 64 Annual Sports Celebration by Annie Constantinides 68
The ACS Athens Summer Camp Our Campus Is “Buzzing” Again by Annie Constantinides 70
Celebrating The Class Of 2022 by Evelyn Pittas 72
ACS Athens Grand Reunion 2022: Unforgettable Moments by Chris Perakis Evloyias 74
ETHOS • FALL 2022
6 14 Rooting Conscious Citizenship Values with ACS Athens Early Childhood Mascot 6 N ote from t he President 24 What is Intelligence? 28 Why Does Emotional Intelligence Matter And How Do We Teach It? 46 ACS Athens Middle School Students Celebrate UN Day 50 ACS Athens Recycling Program 64 2022 IB Visual Arts Exhibitions 56 The Youth-To-Youth Educational And Social Integration Program; From Refugee Camp To College Scholarship
we measure INTELLIGENCE ?
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Engaging The Minds And Hearts Of All Academic Institution Stakeholders
that strives “to empower individuals to transform the world as architects of their own learning to thrive as conscious global citizens to improve life and living on the planet” (ACS Athens vision); an educational philos ophy that presupposes that knowledge is individually and socially constructed by learners who are active observers of the world, active questioners, agile prob lem posers, and critical and creative problem solvers; an educational philosophy that embraces conscious citizenship by recognizing that young learners, as all human beings, are constantly in a ‘state of becoming’ and that developing mindsets and ways of being in harmony with all living things, will ultimately develop citizens whose acts reflect such a higher purpose.
Developing internationally minded students who are ‘comfortable’ anywhere in the world and who take their rightful place as global citizens; confident in their ability to use knowledge effectively and able to make ethical and moral, political, social, aesthetic, and economic choices, is the aim of institutions such as ACS Athens. Individuals are socially rooted; survival depends to a large degree on cooperating with others and usually others with whom similar values, princi ples, and beliefs are shared. Furthermore, succeeding in today’s world is synonymous with continuous com petition, and competition presupposes a winner and a loser; diametrically opposed to the idea that man is social and needs others to survive, thus requiring co operation. The rate at which technology is advancing and at which Artificial Intelligence is influencing and facilitating our daily living is unprecedented. Thus, empowering human intelligence infused with the above-mentioned values is necessary more than ever and can be seen through the lens of conscious citizen ship.
Note From President
Dr. Peggy Pelonis
At the onset of the 21st Century, it was evident that the world was developing in manifold and multifaceted ways suggesting the need or rather the necessity for a different type of citizen. The values and ethics oftentimes guiding social and political institutions are more so under examination and are being directly challenged as life and living on the planet become endangered. The United Nations Global Goals agenda adopted in 2015 by 193 coun tries suggests that unless sustainability is accom plished by 2030 (UN, 2015), life and living will drasti cally deteriorate. Whether or not one acknowledges the Global Goal agenda, simply noticing the harmful effects of inequality, lack of access to education, cli mate change, or polluted oceans and land suggests that humanity is on a course that will ultimately ad versely affect all humans. Thus, 21st-century global and societal needs require an educational trajectory
A conscious citizen is (s)he who places value on being fully human while connecting with a higher purpose; one who values human life and the relationship with all living things and takes responsibility for turning knowledge and skill into action to ultimately improve life and living on the planet. Conscious citizenship, ul timately, is more a way of being and living rather than doing and is developed by creating the conditions to expand awareness of social, global, and environmen tal conditions while being encouraged to self-reflect on how one contributes daily to a better world, con tributes to a worse world or makes no contribution. A Conscious Citizen of the world ‘sees’ the intercon nection of their own actions and the consequences of these and strives towards a higher purpose of creat ing harmonious and optimal living. A conscious citi zen is continuously in a state of ‘becoming’ and ideally reaches a developmental, emotional, and spiritual level of ‘being’ in harmony with life. This way of being naturally and effortlessly translates into action be cause it is just the way one lives.
Questions educators must continuously reflect on are: what kind of educational institution could ef fectively respond to the changing social, political, ethical, and psychological demands of a complex glo balized landscape? What type of model could encom pass the ability to cope with and thrive with contin
ETHOS • FALL 2022
uous transformation? What kind of student could be developed in an institution effectively responding to constant change, societal demands, and global chal lenges while allowing for and applauding the unique individuality of each student? In other words, how can young people be better prepared for the demands of living in a globally aware world? What should their educational experience encompass? What habits of mind and heart should they possess? And what princi ples and values should guide their actions, personally and professionally?
The answer comes from engaging the minds and hearts of all academic institution stakeholders; stu dents, faculty, administrators, specialists, staff, par ents, and friends who are prepared to engage in and commit to serving a higher purpose; the family, com munity, nation, world so as to ensure sustainability. Thus developing the type of education that relates to this type of world is the focus of schools like ACS Athens, an academic institution that meets students where they are and guides them towards achieving excellence by designing programs with intention al excellence; an institution that contributes to a well-rounded society; where differences are respect ed and differing views are encouraged and seen as en riching the community; where collaboration among different nationalities is a natural unfolding mindset, and international mindedness is encouraged.
Likewise, schools focused intentionally on developing Conscious world citizens follow the conviction that educators not only provide the platform for all stu dents to acquire the skills and knowledge to succeed in a competitive world but also acquire the values and mindsets to make ethical decisions and work toward improving human lives and life on the planet. Thus school programs integrate civic engagement and social responsibility and provide a standard to strive towards, such as the Global Goals, allowing students to contribute to a higher purpose by taking care of things at home. Such an educational philosophy re thinks the school as a professional learning laborato ry where a student model develops a leadership iden tity guided by ethical decision-making. Action then not only creates opportunity for profit and career advancement or entrepreneurship but deliberate ly designs innovation for the good of the whole; the community, the planet, and the whole of humanity by starting in one’s “corner” of the world. Ultimately and ideally, cultivating such mindsets leads to a way of being in the world and in relation to the world and all living things. Schools that encourage and empow er this type of ‘becoming’ will ultimately send out into the world a conscious global citizen.
leadership skills into desirable actions that contribute positively and sustainably to the world.
Student leadership must be developed to expand in dividuals’ horizons, shake complacency, and stir the imagination along with the character idiosyncrasies necessary for leaders and leadership. The goal is to produce citizens who are informed about their society and recognize and appreciate the roots of ethics and moral philosophies guiding human behavior. They must also acknowledge people’s natural position in their current community, understanding the human impact on the world in which they live, while applying cognition, reason, and evidence in decision-making (Barrow 1980).
Elementary adventures How Can Leadership Qualities Be Infused Through SDGs?
by Dr. Jenny E. Grigoropoulos Elementary School Faculty
To understand the mantle of leadership, one needs to explore plentiful characteristics that a leader should possess and embrace in order to be a whole and educated person. A true leader must be capable and willing to behave and act in a responsible manner, guided by a desirable and antic ipated vision, as well as ethical principles and values. Additionally, a leader must be educated and well-in formed. As Robin Barrow (1981) articulated, the es sential qualities that educated individuals possess must begin with awareness. First, historical aware ness, which includes, but is not limited to, history and culture, individuality, sound judgments, respect for others, and the awareness to be active in civic en gagement and the personal and social responsibility experienced toward self, community, and the world we live in.
Today’s youth, already eager and passionate to make a difference in the world, while embracing the re sponsibility for doing so (Jacoby, 2013), will be tomor row’s leaders, whilst their children and grandchildren will be the leaders of future generations. To ensure that today’s students are prepared to assume their potential leadership roles effectively, we need to provide them with an understanding of the respon sibility this entails, and to upscale their emerging
Moreover, these global citizens should feel person ally responsible for making a difference in the world, through their commitment to tackling society’s most pressing issues and problems, not only for their gen eration but for many generations to come. It is imper ative to note, that when leadership skills are infused by educational institutions with ethics, empathy, and compassion through mentoring, modeling, and facil itating, students have a better chance to be prepared to assume desirable leadership roles, not only in their own learning but also in their current and future lives. Opportunities to demonstrate and model leadership in the educational setting are available at all times, and when carried out consciously and consistently, the results manifested are profound. Moreover, involving students in their education, putting them in charge of activities and undertakings, as well as inspiring them to be involved in the improvement of their school en vironment and practices, gives them the groundwork to develop leadership skills and guides them to make good choices for themselves and others. This occurs because leadership consists of learned characteris tics, acquired knowledge and skills, and informative daily behavior and actions guided by ethical principles and common sense.
For these purposes, it is essential that lessons taught must be cross-disciplinary and enriched with values and principles guided by the development of desirable knowledge, skills, and ethical principles. Moreover, holistic thinking, meaningfulness, and ethics, must be integrated into the lesson plans and delivery in a harmonious way.
As mentioned previously, vast research shows that student leadership ought to be integrated into cur riculum and teaching practices as early as elementary school. However, although this may sound logical, it is not always feasible, given that educators are not trained on how to instill these qualities in practice. During the challenging year of 2020-2021, I decided to enrich my ESL teaching content with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. My first goal was to teach my 5th-grade students the SDGs through research, reading, and writing while employ ing presentation and collaboration skills. The follow ing paragraphs will present my lesson plans as de signed, implemented, and presented to my students.
The lesson started with the exposure of the students to the 17 SDGs through videos and documentaries, fol lowed by their summary writing. In continuation, they read articles, which described the 17 goals and chose one goal each to re search and write an essay about, which would later be, transformed into a pre sentation in class. Upon the completion of the pre sentation, students were called upon to choose the five SDGs that they would like to collaborate on to create their final project. The lesson lasted three months, with some ses sions being online during school closure and others being face-to-face. The collaboration of the stu dents was phenomenal. They were setting up Goo gle Meets to work on their projects after school hours; they collaborated and pre sented online as there was a student who was over seas, and guided and assist ed each other in multiple ways as the groups were heterogeneous, involving students with different lev els of English proficiency. The outcome was amaz ing, and students were very satisfied with their work and with what they had learned in the process.
The fifth-grade students who participated were ESL students of varying levels of English knowledge. The idea was inspired by the schoolwide recycling initia tive that I had organized with my colleague Stepha nie Maxwell in the Middle School. During the entire three months, the students were challenged “to re alize their unique potential, academically, intellec tually, socially, and ethically to thrive as responsible global citizens” as per the mission statement of ACS Athens. Moreover, aligning with the ACS Athens vi sion, the project empowered the students to see and seek ways “to transform the world as architects of their own learning,” contributing to the graduate pro file of our school: our students are inquirers, knowl edgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk takers, balanced, reflective and decision-makers. In my lesson planning and de livery, I always kept in mind that students should face real-life problems and use creative methods to be come critical thinkers and problem solvers, thus de
veloping capacities and skills of the leaders of tomor row: knowledgeable and conditioned to activate the best results with reference to sustainability for them selves, the community, animal and plant life and our planet as a whole for present and future generations.
The publication of Ethos makes the projects available to the ACS Athens community, breaking away from the limitations of the classroom. Furthermore, I be lieve that this information should be shared in order for students to recognize their work and feel proud, confident and acknowledged. In addition, by sharing their work, people in our community may be inspired to follow the path created by the students, thus cre ating a ripple effect and attracting more individuals to join in working towards the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Artificial Intelligence In The ACS Athens Elementary School
by Katherine Bibidakis & Pinelopi Dimitroula, Elementary School Faculty
Exploring Artificial In telligence (AI) with in the Conscious Cit izenship (CC) framework was one of the most fascinating, innovative, and educating initiatives during the 2021-2022 school year. As part of the AI Elementary team, our focus was to guide our faculty in broadening our understanding, ex panding our comfort lev el, and building connec tions with the future of AI at ACS Athens. Through several meetings, our faculty members, includ ing ourselves, familiar ized themselves with the process of investigating what initially seemed un charted waters of AI.
As we embarked on the AI exploration journey, we first guided the faculty
in investigating existing and prospective AI rela tions within their respec tive area of expertise. Next, the ACS Athens faculty members reflect ed on the current role of AI in their discipline and how they, as experts in their field, have experi enced AI. Subsequently, the meeting was steered toward discussing the importance of AI and student learning in the 21st century. One of the commonalities within the groups’ discussions was that AI use is already around us!
As a segue to the topic of the next meeting, the faculty began consider ing the possibilities of integrating AI into their classes. At this point, the AI Curriculum Progres sion Charts, as developed
ETHOS • FALL 2022
within ACS Athens, and their collaborative anal ysis from the Elementary faculty, played a crucial role in considering their potential in designing future lessons. Initially, the faculty was given ample time to carefully examine the contents of the charts, followed by the opportunity to think about how their current teaching practices relat ed to these progression charts. Lastly, the fac ulty considered new po tential applications they could integrate into dai ly lessons and ultimate ly into the curriculum. From these discussions, the faculty came up with concrete ideas on how they can use AI to help students in the 21st century and to create a supportive environment that meets the needs of all students.
Lastly, the Iterative Phase was designed by merging the goals presented in the pro gression charts with the goals outlined in the syllabi of each dis cipline. The meetings were structured in a way that allowed us to facilitate as the faculty researched and made connections based on progression charts and specific scope and se quence. As this process was successfully con cluded, some of the main questions yet to be explored are:
◉ What is the big pic ture of AI?
◉ How is AI making living and life on the planet better?
◉ How is education changing? What does this progres sion mean, and how are we to interpret it?
Overall, the faculty were extremely receptive to the topic of AI! We are impressed and proud to witness how welcom ing our colleagues were to this new initiative. As the next cycle begins this school year, we are excited to see how AI will be integrated into the ACS Athens com munity. We believe that this new technology will be transformative for the way students learn. In this fast-changing world, we will always strive to be the best edu cators for our students, and we thank the ACS Athens community for all their support.
Rooting Conscious Citizenship Values with ACS Athens Early Childhood Mascot
by Sophia Moros, Director of Early Childhood and Development, JK - Grade 2
valued while learning to participate in conversations and listen to each other. These rich outdoor learning opportunities not only help children understand their own capabilities but also helps them increase criti cal thinking and academic skills, and learn social and communication skills. Therefore, the various ways that children experience play in outdoor environ ments benefit their educational attainment and the development of resilience and self-confidence.
Coming this fall, we are proud to introduce our new Early Childhood mascot. A comfortably dressed bear named Conscious Cub will help communicate our school philosophy in a child-friendly manner. He will bring the “Portrait of ACS Athens Graduates” and the core beliefs of our school mission and vision to life during community events and school performances. Conscious Cub will create an approachable environ ment that will help new students adjust to the com munity and feel more comfortable and receptive to the topics they will learn. Besides helping build con crete definitions and modeling actions for a greater understanding of school concepts, Conscious Cub will create lasting memories and build school tra ditions. Increasing school traditions through spirit events will build a deep-rooted sense of pride for our school, making it easy and attractive for stu dents to emulate positive behaviors. In turn, the Conscious Cub mascot will be seen as a buddy who increases confidence and encourages students to make positive choices and understand what it means to be a con scious citizen.
ACS Athens Early Childhood Department contin ues to meet the increasingly diverse needs of our youngest students by tapping into creative and innovative approaches to learning. In the Spring of 2022, a new, state-of-the-art playground was in augurated. This playground was specially designed to boost students’ physical and cognitive skills, promote free exploration opportunities, ignite creativity, and foster positive and constructive social interaction. The playground equipment provides ample opportunities for developing our early childhood students’ emotion al, sensory, and gross motor skills. The landscape was intentionally designed to optimize independent and cooperative play and offers children plenty of options to utilize developmentally appropriate equipment to engage in free exploration.
The sustainable and inclusive play environment pro motes inclusion, so all students feel welcome and safe while enticing their imagination. The playground environment encourages children to recognize their own unique abilities and the characteristics they share with each other. This actively promotes equal opportunities so that all children feel included and
At ACS Athens, educa tors focus on develop ing conscious citizenship through daily examples during the school day and place value on connecting be haviors to a higher purpose. Such opportunities include how students learn to problem-solve with each other through our school’s restorative approach. Children are guided to communicate through a four-step process, “Own It, Fix It, Learn from it, and Move on” from peer conflict. We emphasize the importance of human life and the relationship with all living things and model the various ways to take responsibility for transforming skill into action through ethical deci sion-making that will improve life and living on the planet. Conscious Cub will be an excellent role mod el who will sport the importance of Global Goals and sustainability to instill these traits in early childhood students.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Class of 2034 Are Digital Natives
by Valeria Laitinen, former Director of Early Childhood, JK-G2
viting them to “take the technology of today to new dimensions.” She stated that “We call you ‘technology natives’ be cause you already know how to scroll on devices with ease, read books, do work online, and have advanced social net working skills that will shrink our world so we can always be connect ed. You are the ones who will bring solutions to environmental concerns and care for our world by paying attention to it and showing it love. Some one among you may find cures for illness. And who knows? There may come a time that some of you live on a space station circling the earth.”
rotating centers follow ing whole class lessons, kindergarten students learned the foundation al skills needed for read ing, writing, and math. Students developed pre sentation skills as well as active listening skills by sharing special toys and items from their homes. Students also had daily opportunities to explore their interests during free exploration time. Af ternoon lessons in Greek, Music, Art, P.E., Library, and Technology rounded out the weekly kinder garten schedule.
The ACS Athens class of 2034 graduated from Kindergarten on June 9, 2022. Dressed in T-shirts signed by all of their classmates and handmade graduation caps, Ms. Venos’ and Ms. Dimitri’s students filed into the elementa ry amphitheater accom panied by “We Are the World,” a timeless call to action and positive change by U.S.A. for Afri ca. Excited by the oppor tunity to be on campus for the first time since 2020, parents stood and snapped photos of their adorable graduates. Students performed a heartwarming rendition of the song “First Grade, First Grade” based on the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”
Complete with body movements, students sang that they know their ABCs and 123s, and
more importantly, they learned to share and get along with their friends.
ACS Athens President, Dr. Peggy Pelonis, wel comed parents and fam ily members and encour aged them to spend as much time with their children as possible as time passes so quickly. She congratulated the graduating students and welcomed them to first grade. Special thanks were given to the teach ers, aides, counselor and citizenship coordinator, nurses, and cleaning staff for contributing to the growth, develop ment, and health of our students and to the par ents for their continued collaboration and trust.
Ms. Moros, Elementary School Principal, spoke directly to the graduat ing kindergartners in
The ACS Athens kinder garten curriculum in cludes units of study on developing classroom citizenship skills and learning about commu nity helpers, interdepen dent relationships within ecosystems, and weath er, which all contribute to building empowered and informed global citizens. Students began the year co-creating classroom rules and, throughout the year, continued prac ticing courtesy, honesty, and fairness in working with others, building an understanding of how classroom rules promote equity and help resolve conflicts, and contribut ing to making and main taining community deci sions.
In the community helpers unit, students engaged in systems thinking map ping to understand how all members of a com munity are connected and work together to contribute to their suc cess, safety, health, and enjoyment within their community. Working in
The kindergarten grad uation in June cele brated the culmination of a successful year of in-person learning that included the opening of the new early childhood playground, an outdoor space specifically de signed for exploration and creative play. As one of the first events open to parents post-COVID, it also provided parents the opportunity to see all of the learning spaces their children inhabited throughout the year. The ceremony emphasized the role our soon-to-be first graders will play in shaping our world and our future. It also high lighted the importance of empowering our stu dents to become life long learners who care for others, identify and solve problems, and shape how we develop and use technology for positive change.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
by Stavi Dimas, Elementary School Faculty
Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
Dr. Seuss 1990
This year, on the morning of Tuesday, June 14, 2022, the graduating class of 2029 ‘Stepped-Up’ into Middle School. Although an event enjoyed annually, every June, it provides a unique opportunity for a new group of students to leave their mark on the legacy of the ACS Athens Fifth Grade. Signaling the completion of elementary school, ‘Step-Up Day,’ previously known as Fifth Grade Graduation, is a significant long-standing academic milestone for our students. Yet five years ago, when I first joined the fifth-grade team, I had not fully understood the significance of this event until I finally experienced it firsthand.
Step-Up Day is a celebration of the transformation we observe in our students throughout the year as they morph into self-reliant, responsible, and accountable fifth graders prepared to navigate the challenges of middle school. On the first day of school, the students arrive in the fifth-grade wing in awe of the fact that they have such a beautiful space, nestled among the trees, which has been built solely for their learning. Simultaneously they are shocked that Middle School
is now only 20 paces away, a constant reminder of what is coming just a few months down the road. As the year progresses, they ease into their new role as senior students in the ACS Athens Elementary School and work diligently to meet the high expectations of a demanding curriculum. And in the end, they finish the school year full of hope, anticipation, self-confidence, and a bit of melancholy that they are leaving their ele mentary school years behind them.
Therefore, ‘Step-Up Day’ can be thought of as a cele bration of our fifth-grade students’ accomplishments and personal growth. This year, speeches from ACS Athens President, Dr. Pelonis, and Elementary School Principal, Ms. Moros touched the hearts of the stu dents and their families as they led us through a re flection on the year, and shared with us the pride they felt for the fifth grade class and all that they have achieved.
We were also honored to have the current US Ambas sador to the Hellenic Republic come to the podium to offer bits of wisdom to our wide-eyed fifth graders. Then the students captivated their audience with a vocal performance showcasing their impressive xylo phone skills by paying tribute to the late musical mag nate James Brown through a rendition of his hit song, I Feel Good.
Once the students received their certificates honor ing their giant ‘step’ into middle school, a short recep tion was enjoyed by the fifth graders and their fam ilies. However, the fun was not quite over. The rest of the students’ memorable day had been carefully planned by the Middle School office to welcome stu dents to the ACS Athens Middle School. They spent the day touring classrooms, meeting teachers and students, and of course, the highlight, eating in the ‘big’ cafeteria with their assigned middle school bud dies. Ultimately, we all agreed it was definitely a day to remember.
In closing, I return to the Dr. Seuss poem quoted above, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! I was reminded of this poem as I sat down to write this article, not only be cause the words are so well suited to describe the shift from fifth grade to middle school, but also because this was the poem I read at ‘Graduation’ the first year I taught in fifth grade. At the time, my colleagues had established a tradition of reading this poem as part of their gift to honor the students’ hard work and cele brate the next steps in their academic journey. I con sider myself privileged to have lived the experience of ‘Graduation’ with these talented, caring women who made this event always about the students and never about themselves. Like the fifth graders, as we move forward, we always carry with us the life lessons and the people who have taught us along the way. There fore it can be said that it is the collective pulse of years of dedicated educators that have made ‘Step-Up Day’ into the special student-centered event that it is to day.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Professional development Professional Development And Evaluation Coming Of Age At ACS Athens
by Dr. Julie Crain, Coordinator of Professional Development and Andromachi Fragkou, Director of Services and Employee Development (K-12)
Reflection has always been a huge part of the review and evaluation process at ACS Athens, more so for faculty but also for staff. Since the 1970s, ACS Athens had various reflective summaries and rubrics, but none tied directly to the employee’s professional development or tied to metrics overall for evaluation. Over the past two years, the Profes sional Development Team’s goals were to connect employees’ goals to professional development, craft a competency-driven evaluation plan, add protocols, and draft an evaluation guide specifically for faculty and an additional guide for staff.
The PD Request Process now focuses on individu al goals and meeting those goals that advance the employee and the institution. The supervisor guides the employee in connection with professional devel opment, desired or prescribed, to goals and improve ment in the Individual Professional Development Plan, IPDP, required of all ACS Athens Members. As an educational institution, we work to keep our
members up to date with the best practices in the pertinent fields that come together to improve ACS Athens; fields such as teaching, learning, technolo gy, legal, business, facility management, conscious citizenship, health, research, recruitment, safety, ac tivities, artificial intelligence, meta-verse, fundrais ing, the environment, etc.
Typically, as conscientious professionals at ACS Ath ens, we keep up with changes and improvements in our fields through professional listservs or subscrip tions to specific online journals and member organi zations. When we need additional, specific training, we might reach out to our PD Team for ideas or on line resources.
As in all fields, teaching and learning have changed in the last 2-5 years, and so has employee learning. Gone are the days of ‘going’ somewhere for a PD session, or ‘sitting and getting.’ This is evident in our change in the philosophy of our weekly PD choices and offer ings and our connection of Action Research to overall professional development for faculty and staff. Like we empow er our stu dents to be Architects of Their Own Learning, so goes it for our ACS Ath ens Mem bers. As we teach our students to meet and exceed com petencies, so goes it for our Members.
Similar to best prac tices in the classroom, best practic es for adult PD involve interaction; mostly on line learning or a blended approach; sharing PD with others in the same field within the institution, and application of learning back into the work environment in a timely fashion. This is the model of best practices at ACS Athens for Profession al Development that we attempt to follow every day.
Competency-Driven Evaluation Plans
The Principals began this process of developing an overall evaluation plan in 2019 with the direction of President Pelonis and the help of the Dean of Aca demics, Julia Tokatlidou. As is seemingly tradition at ACS Athens, we like to ‘grow our own’ policies based on best practices but with heavy input and consen sus from our stakeholders. Such is the case with the 2022 Review and Evaluation Processes at ACS Athens. Hours of research into best practices, open sources of evaluation plans, discussions with similar institution leaders, and expert knowledge from cur rent ACS Athens leaders led to a draft of competen cies and growth scale scrutinized and edited by the faculty in the spring of 2021. With that faculty input, the first version of the Professional Review and Eval uation Process, PREP, was implemented in the fall of 2021. Feedback from faculty and principals led to the updated version for fall 2022.
Part of the review process for faculty is the super visor Walk-Through. In addition to formal, preplanned evaluation of teaching, the supervisor also walks through the classroom and uses a digital form to note teaching practices. These ‘snapshots’, are additional elements the supervisor can use to keep informed about the practices, competencies, and growth that they see within the teaching environ ment.
Concurrently, Ms. Fragkou and Dr. Crain were also working on the draft of the staff version of the re view and evaluation process. Similar to the creation of the faculty version, best practices in the field were reviewed and taken into consideration to craft a ‘home-grown’ model for ACS Athens. In the spring of 2022, the draft of the Professional Review and Evalu ation Model, PREM, was presented to the staff lead ers, who added their input to the plan. After training for all staff, there was a ‘soft’ roll-out of the PREM in the spring of 2022. The plan will be fully implement ed in fall 2022 and revised for fall 2023 after data and feedback are reviewed.
It could be that we transition our plans to a pur chased electronic source, or we are able to find inhouse solutions that digitize our information and data to meet our needs. We are continuing to inves tigate these options as we begin the second year of the formal process for faculty, and the first formal year for staff connecting our ACS Athens’ Members learning with goals, reflection, best practices, and data compilation for informed leadership.
CompetencyDriven Evaluation Plans
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Human Intelligence vs. Artificial Intelligence
Empowering Human Intelligence Through Understanding Artificial Intelligence
by Andromachi G. Fragkou, Director of Services and Employee Development (K-12)
Many discussions are going on about how we live in interesting times, how chaotic our world is and how new crises on multiple lev els are coming upon us. In this reality, the only con stant is change. The booming growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), like most transformational technologies, is both exciting and scary. It’s exciting to think about all the ways our lives may improve, but it’s scary to consider the so cial and personal implications. It seems like, in the future, machines will prevail.
But what is it that makes us human? And why will human intelligence never be replaced by artificial in telligence?
Intelligence and emotions differentiate humans from machines. Emotion is part of a person’s be havior and certain feelings can affect human per formance. For instance, emotions could prevent a person from producing an intelligent outcome. As machines are trained to “think,” many tasks that pre viously required human intelligence are becoming automated through artificial intelligence. However, it is more difficult to automate emotional intelli gence, and this is where an individual’s competitive advantage over machines currently lies.
Skills will be the currency of the future.
Soft skills like curiosity, passion, patience, persever ance, and persistence will make the difference be tween a human being and a robot. Persuasion, social understanding, and empathy are going to become differentiators as artificial intelligence, and machine learning will take over other tasks. It’s these human capabilities that will become more and more prized over the next decade. The outcome will be a ‘Feeling Economy’ that provides new opportunities for ev erybody who acts on one simple fact: in the future, AI will do the thinking, and humans will do the feel ing, as Bernd Schmitt as Robert D. Calkins Professor of International Business, Columbia University men tioned in their book*.
Education has the responsibility to shape humans holistically (body, mind, and soul); humans who are self-directed, conscious, knowledgeable, and not only resilient but capable of navigating and initiating change.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Academics are the foundation, but it is not enough. Music, classics, art, and literature promote critical and ethical thinking. This kind of education can build the psychological muscle of young individuals to cope with the changing world and make conscious decisions, with empathy and compassion. Education is not about col lege acceptance. Education translates into life because it offers humans choices; how to live their lives, how to make an impact in their communities, and how to make this world a better place.
At a school like ACS Athens, students are immersed in technology, not only promoting learning and developing skills but also reflecting on its use and the new possibil ities that lie ahead. ACS Athens is empowering individu als to become architects of their own learning to thrive as conscious, global citizens and improve life and living on the planet.
Our Teachers hold the key to cultivating the human fac tor.
By molding young mindsets, they are fostering change, they are shaping the future.
*The Feeling Economy: How Artificial Intelligence Is Creating the Era of Empathy, Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2021 edition (January 19, 2021)
Human Intelligence vs. Artificial Intelligence
What Is Intelligence?
by Mark McGowan, Director of IB/AP Programs
Each year, on July 5th, the results of the Interna tional Baccalaureate (IB) exams are released. Students, teachers, and parents wait anxiously for the scores. It can determine a student’s admission to university, and it can also mark a student’s success in an extremely rigorous program. But what do the re sults actually tell us about our students?
The maximum score in the IB program is 45 points. If a student achieves such a score, do we consider him or her intelligent? Many could say yes, and they may be correct. It is a significant achievement. However, just because a student obtains perfect scores in phys ics, mathematics, Greek, English, economics, and history, does that mean the same student would be considered the most intelligent member of a tribe liv ing in the Amazon? Can they fix a car, make bread or know how it feels to be blind? The answers to these questions are probably “no,” and that is because intel ligence is relative. Students should definitely be proud of their successes in school, but they should also be taught the variety and complexity of intelligence.
At the end of the 19th century, there was an attempt to measure intelligence with the well-known IQ (in telligence quotient) test. The IQ test has evolved and improved over the years. However, the focus of the test is on people’s cognitive and verbal abilities. It measures how people reason and solve problems. There is value in obtaining this knowledge, and there are also limitations. It can be biased – not all people reason the same way, and not all people have access to the same opportunities for learning. In addition, there is a lot that the test cannot measure.
In 1983, Howard Gardner popularized the idea of “mul tiple intelligences” in his book Frames of Mind, which discussed different types of intelligence, such as spa tial, musical, intrapersonal, interpersonal, logical, linguistic, and bodily intelligence. In 1995, Daniel Go leman wrote Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Mat ter More Than IQ, where EI was linked to leadership performance, offering another evaluation of a differ ent type of intelligence. However, with every new it eration of the examination of intelligence, there are always the limitations of subjectivity, cultural rele vance, and whether such intelligences can be learned or are biological. Consequently, the ultimate defini tion or explanation of intelligence remains elusive.
Nowadays, a popular topic is Artificial Intelligence. Ironically, the name itself is an oxymoron: “unreal” intelligence. Nevertheless, AI is deemed to be an im portant part of our futures. Already AI has introduced driverless cars, robots that can build cars and do household chores, and computer programs that write poetry and beat world-champion chess players. Unlike other industrial revolutions that developed the manu facture of machines that transformed our lives, these machines can “think”, or at least respond to humans. Blake Lemoine, a Google engineer, recently claimed that the company’s AI chatbot generator, LaMDA, had become sentient, meaning it was conscious of its own existence, but this is highly debatable . The debate centers around the idea that just because a machine can linguistically express a thought does not mean it can feel or have experiences that developed that thought.
There is no denying AI’s usefulness. AI machines are excellent at deep mining data that can save valuable time and solve important problems. Recently, Deep Mind uncovered the structure of 200 million pro teins, which could have enormous benefits to people’s health care . Yet, the eternal question remains: What is intelligence? Is it mining data? Is it applying knowl edge? Is it adapting to different situations and envi ronments? It is hard to escape the notion that no one knows everything, so how can a machine?
Each year, when the IB results are released, we are proud to promote our students’ achievements, as we should be. This year, 31% of our students scored 40 or more points, and five students achieved a 44. That is incredible. Those scores are the result of a lot of hard work and intelligent, creative thinking. However, we always have one message for our students: you are more than a number. Whether you score a 45 or a 25, there is so much more to you, your abilities, and your intelligence. In fact, the best part of you can never be captured by a test. It’s important to keep that in mind 1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/06/11/google-ai-lamda-blake-lemoine/
ETHOS • FALL 2022
2. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/jul/28/deepmind-uncovers-structure-of-200m-proteins-in-sci entific-leap-forward
And How Do We Teach It?
by Evelyn Pittas, Academy Vice Principal
Do you recognize what you are feeling? Can you effectively manage these feelings without getting swamped? Can you respond to others’ emotions effectively? Living in our fast-paced world means that sometimes we may not have the band width to respond to emotions appropriately. How ever, if you have answered the questions above in the affirmative, you have a degree of emotional quo tient.
Emotional intelligence involves the capability to identify and acknowledge emotions and their impact and uses this knowledge to determine thoughts and behaviors towards oneself and others. Specifically, emotional intelligence facilitates resilience, moti vation, stress management, reasoning, emotional control, and empathy (Bar-On et al., 2006). It forms
a bridge between cognition and emotion, allowing individuals to navigate different situations. Cultivat ing emotional intelligence from an early age would be beneficial in the fulfillment of a happy life.
The impact of emotional intelligence cuts across per sonal and professional lives and is a crucial compe tence that facilitates personal success and advance ment in different areas of life. Bar-On et al. (2006) suggest that emotional intelligence is just as im portant as intelligence quotient. He further demon strates that emotionally intelligent individuals can navigate life better than those with higher IQs.
Education on emotional intelligence from early childhood education promotes and ensures positive future personal and societal outcomes for children. The most significant years in a child’s life are the ear ly years, which provide a solid base for learning and cognitive and social abilities. Teaching EI in early childhood education creates the basis for a child’s de velopment and acquisition of life skills needed to be a functional member of society. It also translates to children growing up knowing how to deal with mod ern world challenges.
EI capacity is a prerequisite in most vocations, but es pecially in disciplines involving high-intensity emo tions, such as education, management, hospitality, medicine, and other social sciences. Such elements stem from self-management and regulation and an ability to liberate oneself from impulse-driven emo tions and other impulses detrimental to emotional stability. In turn, it translates into developing mean ingful relationships through the exercise of empathy, cooperation, and better social skills, which are im mensely useful in life.
Educating on emotional intelligence and how to re spond to others appropriately is a crucial part of the academic curriculum. Below are elements to employ in the curriculum to teach emotional intelligence.
Embed Social and Emotional Learning into the Curriculum.
Like other forms of teaching, SEL is crucial in educat ing students on emotional intelligence and reducing harmful behaviors such as bullying while effectively promoting academic access. In their study, Cristovao et al. (2017) found that SEL reinforces positive behav ior by allowing students to understand how their behavior impacts those around them and either im pedes or promotes good interpersonal relationships. Conversely, perhaps the greatest benefit of embed ding SEL into the curriculum is that it helps students realize that EI is just as important as their IQ since it translates into creating trust with superiors and col leagues later in life. Still, educators should also en sure that they embed SEL in their lesson plans.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Student participation also fosters the development of active listening, an effective tool for effective com munication. Active listening involves being attentive and showing interest in what a speaker portrays, and actively participating in the conversation. We ger et al. (2014) demonstrate that active listening transcends merely listening and extends into feed back, whether positive or constructive criticism. This element of communication enables learners to show empathy, remain polite, and be more receptive and understanding to the speaker facilitating good rela tionships. Therefore, educating students on the rel evance of active listening increases their emotional intelligence.
Have Educators that Model EI
Classroom learning comprises several critical di mensions to facilitate learning. Due to increasing diversity, educators must adapt to the ongoing de mographic changes and develop new strategies that accommodate diverse groups of learners (Bredt mann, 2021). Educators must become cultural rec onciliation agents, translators, and transformers to accommodate culturally and linguistically diverse students. Understanding these complex issues al lows them to tailor learning experiences to individ uals and promote effective learning. Modeling emo tional intelligence encourages learners to develop ethical and responsible behavior. It allows students to respect each other’s opinions, remain respectful regardless of disagreements, and understand that they disagree with the problem, not the person. It allows students to hone these skills and be better versions of themselves.
Conversely, perhaps the most crucial aspect of ed ucating on EI is to teach students the relevance of self-regulation. Cullinane & Montacute (2017) demonstrate that supporting students transitioning from childhood to adolescence is the most effective technique to foster emotional intelligence. Since this period is an experimental time for most teenag ers, implementing techniques such as self-reinforce ment, monitoring and goal setting go a long way in developing EI. Doing so allows students to learn that emotional intelligence is a gradual process requiring patience from all involved parties and learning daily.
Finally, several dimensions play a significant role in facilitating academic achievements and social inte gration. Understanding the impact of emotional in telligence and how to teach promotes the likelihood of a better society. Education expands perspectives and demonstrates that emotional intelligence is a gradual, continuous process since one does not stop learning. It allows society to do away with compo nents that embody emotional stuntedness and pro mote emotional intelligence.
Bar-On, R., Handley, R., & Fund, S. (2006). The impact of emotional intelligence on performance. In: Druskat VU, Sala F, Mount G, editors. Linking Emotion al Intelligence and Performance at Work: Current Research Evidence with Individuals and Groups. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum; pp. 3–19.
Bredtmann, J., Sebastian, O., and Christina, V. (2021). Linguistic diversity in the classroom, stu dent achievement, and social integration, Ed ucation Economics, 29:2, 121 142, DOI: 10.1080/09645292.2020.1866499
Cullinane, C. & Montacute, R. Life Lessons: Improving essential life skills for young people. The Sutton Trust. Cristóvão, A. M., Candeias, A. A., & Verdasca, J. (2017). Social and Emotional Learning and Academic Achieve ment in Portuguese Schools: A Bibliometric Study. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 1913. https://doi. org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01913
Weger, H., Castle Bell, G., Minei, E.M., & Robinson, M.C. (2014). The Relative Effectiveness of Active Listening in Initial Interactions. International Journal of Listen ing, 28, 13 - 31. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/1 0.1080/10904018.2013.813234
by Evelyn Pittas, Academy Vice Principal
People typically used to do every thing with their own hands. However, the development of ma chines came in handy in assisting humans with some tasks. Technology has emerged as a core aspect of the contem porary globe through tools like smartphones. In regions like Japan, ro bots are utilized at sig nificantly high levels in offering a wide array of services. An epitome is
that there are AI flower shops, robot hotels, and even robot barista cafes. It will not be long before humans, and artificial intelligence start to co exist in the contempo rary globe.
Artificial intelligence is deeply entrenched in modern lives, so there are concerns that it will overcome human intelligence. The rea son is that AI is inte grated into core areas,
including education, healthcare, painting, and politics. Neverthe less, human-centered AI would not exclude hu mans while performing varying tasks. Instead, it would focus on empow ering humans and pro moting human benefits through cooperation. In this regard, coexis tence would be pegged on trust. For instance, it would be ideal for foster ing an understanding of what conditions AI sys tems would work in can didly and the contexts through which AI deci sions would be made (Mind AI, 2020).
Moreover, it would facil itate a balanced attitude while dealing with the AI frameworks. A perfect analogy regarding co existence would involve the healthcare sector. The human-centered approach would play a critical role. Instead of replacing profession als like nurses and doc tors, human-centered AI could enhance the num ber of patients a doctor can examine. AI would also come in handy in lowering misdiagnosis rates, for instance, by empowering doctors with the ideal tools. For instance, robotics are utilized in the healthcare system to assist patients with mental disorders.
The coexistence would also lie in the identifica tion of the grievances of humans. AI would trans late and resolve issues accurately while being rational regarding deci sions. The need to curb the climate change issue has accelerated efforts toward adopting elec tric vehicles in the motor vehicle sector. Manufac turers like Tesla are al ready rolling out level 2 and 3 autonomous vehi
cles that depend heavily on artificial intelligence. These are going to be trusted with human lives in the transport industry. Moreover, cit ies across the globe are becoming connected through the internet of things. It would mean that an autonomous ve hicle would end up scan ning for a free parking space within a city, to the owner’s relief. More over, AI comes in handy in repetitive jobs, for instance, within manu facturing companies (Ji acheng, 2020). Another aspect is that AI facili tates predictive analysis as it can master big data and assist in future plan ning.
Currently, AI is being leveraged in areas such as enhancing customer experience. In this re gard, the lag between customer needs and business responses is eliminated through trig gered emails, chatbots, and other personalized frameworks. Moreover, errors are reduced as machines only under stand accuracy. En tities like Amazon are utilizing AI in the man agement of warehous es. At the same time, speech recog nition
technologies allow cus tomers to shop anytime. AI will also enhance cre ativity through human coexistence with AI, which artists can utilize, for instance, in design ing 3D items (Jiacheng, 2020). The use of hu man-centered AI would foster development in the right direction. It is also critical to assert that human nature and ethics tend to be emerg ing issues regarding AI integration. The reason is that robots and AI tend to per form re petitive tasks for the el
derly and even special populations like those in mental hospitals.
Overall, humans should strive to utilize artificial intelligence to enhance life by bringing positive development while es tablishing active inter actions. The reason is that with the right AI tools, overall produc tivity is bound to be en hanced due to reduced errors, increased oper
ational efficiencies, and customer satisfaction. A wide array of stake holders, such as govern ments, should come in handy in ensuring that data and privacy be come safeguarded, for instance, through es tablishing ethical codes. Machine learning and AI will also be pivotal in en suring that companies scale and expand. They will also ensure that de cision-making and com munication aspects get stream lined. Hu mans
should strive to embrace human-centered AI as the co-existence will be beneficial.
■ Works Cited
Jiacheng, D. (2020) Society capable of coexisting with AI: From my research perspec tive. https://www.st.sophia. ac.jp/chardin/pdf/19_Dong. pdf
Mind AI. (2020, May 18). How will humans and AI coexist? Medium. Retrieved June 29, 2022, from https:// medium.com/mind-ai/ how-will-humans-and-ai-co exist-b741a4df25f9#:~:text= Mind%20AI%20also%20con siders%20human,more%20 beneficial%20results%20 for%20humanity.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
by Effie Zografou-Elgabry Fellow of the Institute, ACS Athens
Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which the brain has the ability to connect senses to each other in a unique combination. For example, while we listen to music, a Synesthete could see it just as vividly. While we may look at a picture, there are some forms of Synesthe sia that give its viewer the sensation of taste as well as image.
In Synesthesia, the phenomenon of mixing the senses is not a strange ordeal. There are already 80 registered types of Synesthesia, and the most common form is when people associate words, numbers, letters, months, or days of the week with colors (grapheme-color Synes thesia). For example, 5 may be yellow, while Tuesday is blue. There are different versions in the emotional color palette, so Thursday can be yellow for some, while for others, it may be associated with a different color. These combinations depend on the individual and can lead to a charming dialogue between Synesthets!
What colors do your days and months have?
To some, it may seem scary and weird to feel that a robot can serve a human and can algorithmically sense and manage situations and relationships like humans. Although many people still look at it with sus picion, Artificial Intelligence is steadily entering our daily lives in a ubiquitous process.
It surprises us, scares us, excites us, and yet serves us. New things, new knowledge, additional information. A blending combination of Artificial and Real. This blend makes us wonder when the Real stops and the Artificial begins. An amalgamation of Senses, Practices, Theories, and Algorithms.
But before the new intelligence and artificial “natural” abilities become ever-present, let us discover together the quietly existing Synesthesia that looks just as artifi cial but instead combines human feelings and sensations in a charismatic way that is magical and wholly human!
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Monday White Tuesday Blue Wednesday Brown Thursday Yellow Green Saturday Avatar blue Sunday Red January Black February Brown March Orange April Green Mai Gold Orange June Black July Dark brown August Red September Yellow- Gold October White – Cherry red November Avatar Blue December Cream
Do words have scent? Can you taste music or listen to a painting? Do sounds produce colors?
Synesthesia diary Effie
[I am standing on a round diary in the shape that looks like a track. I usually sit in December (the first image in the shape of time is always December – maybe because I was born in December), and from there, I can look at all month-stations that follow every time. Always starting from December, in a mini mum of time, I move where the requested real-time is. If it’s June now, I will start in De cember and go and sit in June. And I go on and on, moving to the month-stations like time goes by.]
The Synesthetes themselves are often un aware that other people do not perceive the world in the same way as they do and assume that others can see what they see. It’s funny, but most of the time they don’t realize that they have Synesthesia; they consider their perceptions to be standard and can often believe everyone has the same experience, such as thinking every one sees Friday as green, A being red, and that October tastes like cherries.
The great effort nowadays is to enlighten Synesthetes (individuals, parents, kids) about their synesthesia to embrace their gift.
In Synesthesia, senses are com bined in such an unusual way that one would think it is artifi cial; since Artificial Intelligence is based on algorithms but also on the combination of informa tion coming from different areas, theories, and practices, this com bined form of perception looks like a common ground between Artificial Intelligence and Synes thesia!
We would almost expect artifi cial intelligence to generate this extraordinary experience and ca pability: seeing sound; hearing color; tasting touch; associating colors with words and numbers, or shaping time before your eyesit sounds like a state-of-the-art algorithm.
This is not the work of a machine, however; synesthesia is the magic of the senses.
[Peter Brook, the legendary British theatre director, who recently died at 97, explored the world of people with Synesthesia. He got on stage with many synesthetes and tried to show that communication with diversity, includ ing, for example, fighting as a form of colors or numbers as the love of musical sound, is a necessary condition to
reach to deep contact with ourselves and with the other normal people (Valley of Astonishment). His pioneering work left an era!]
It is almost certain that we all know at least three or four people who have Synesthesia; we just do not know who they are. Let’s go find them…
SYNESTHESIA: A Human Gift beyond Artificial Intelligence!
Production Process – From Shooting To Post-Production
by Thanasis Palos,Media Studio Coordinator
How AI is changing the audiovisual production process.
AI has been used in audiovisual production for many years now, and there are a number of ways that it is helping to improve the efficiency of the process. One such method is by using machine learning algorithms to help identify potential shots and scenes early on in the production process. This can save time and mon ey, as well as make sure that all content is shot to high quality. Additionally, AI can also be used to help iden tify any potential audio issues early on in the produc tion process, which can then be fixed before filming
How AI is helping to improve the quality of audiovisual content
AI has also been used to help improve the quality of audiovisual content. One way this is done is by using artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze footage and images for errors or problems. These algorithms can then suggest solutions or improvements, which can result in a higher level of quality for your video content. Additionally, AI can be used to identify differ ent aspects of audiovisual production, such as sound design and Foley work. By understanding these areas better, you can reduce the cost and time needed to produce high-quality audiovisual content.
How AI is helping to reduce the cost of audiovisual content
In addition to improving the efficiency of audiovisual production, AI also helps reduce costs associated with Audiovisual Content Production. One way this is done is by using computer vision technology to interpret digital photos and videos taken during audiovisual production and automatically classify them into rele vant categories based on certain criteria. This allows for a more accurate portrayal of events and charac ters within your video content, which often reduces overall costs associated with audiovisual productions by up 50%.
How AI is changing the audiovisual production process – from shooting to post-production.
Whether you’re a filmmaker or just starting out, it’s important to understand how AI is impacting the audiovisual production process. In recent years, AI has become increasingly powerful in shaping how movies are made. From shooting to post-production, AI is quickly changing the way we produce films and TV shows. Here, we outline some of the ways AI is changing the audiovisual production process – from shooting to post-production.
AI is helping to improve the efficiency of shooting au diovisual content by providing filmmakers with more opportunities for accuracy and slower editing times. For example, AI can help to reduce the time it takes to capture images, videos, and audio files. In addition, AI can help to improve the quality of shooting audiovisu al content by reducing noise and frame rates.
AI is also helping to improve the quality of shooting audiovisual content by using machine learning al gorithms to predict how a scene will look before it is filmed. This helps filmmakers create more realistic vi suals without having to spend time training models.
Finally, AI is helping to reduce the cost of filming au diovisual content by using software that predicts
when shots will need to be cut or changed in order to maintain film equipment or shot schedules. By doing this, filmmakers can save money on post-production costs while still maintaining high-quality audio and video footage.
Tips for Successfully Shooting Audiovisual Content.
The first step in shooting an audiovisual project is to have a good shooting plan. Make sure you know what shots you will need and where they will be needed on the video. You should also study the footage you are going to use and make sure you are able to shoot it in a way that meets your desired outcome.
Make sure you have the right equipment, too. You’ll need a camera, microphone, lighting equipment, and
other necessary tools. Make sure you have everything you need before starting the shoot so that your pro duction team can get started smoothly.
And finally, make sure you are able to handle the stress of shooting. Shooting audiovisual content can be highly demanding and tiring, but with a well-planned shot sequence and correct equipment, your team can get the job done perfectly every time.
Shooting audiovisual content is a complex and ex pensive process, but with the help of AI, it can be im proved significantly. By following tips for success, you can ensure that your content is of the best quality and costs less in the long run.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
As many experts in educational technology suggest, the ’20s will surely be the decade of Artificial Intelli gence as it’s peeking through the educational models around the world, attempting to assert its value, ad vantages, and practicality. The Media Studio has em ployed Artificial Intelligence in its practices and meth ods since its inception in the previous decade.
AI is used to make tasks easier and provide better services to more diverse groups of media consumers. From journalistic projects that require faster access and media sources through specialized algorithms, to accessibility options that serve everyone, AI can bring tedious tasks to fruition with a click of the mouse or tap of the finger – or even with the movement of the
Students can utilize AI tools to collect content for proj ects and classroom assignments through specialized data pools, and its distribution can serve more pur poses. At this point, the advice and guidance from the Media Studio experts keep them away from what’s known as “automated journalism,” (where stories are produced automatically by computers rather than human reporters), but rather curate and re-produce with logic and critical thinking skills.
AI can be an invaluable tool, especially when it comes to transcribing video for editing and re-writing pur poses. Speech recognition is a staple AI function in media production that employs ASR technology (Au tomatic Speech Recognition). Using this makes it eas ier to caption videos and audio productions, serving the accessibility goal of the Media Studio. This leaves more time for creativity in the precious free time of students and faculty.
Media Literacy Through AI
by John Papadakis, Director of Communications, Enrollment and Technology
Multimedia production has been part of the ACS Athens education model for many years. However, since the founding of the “Suheil Sabbagh Media Studio” in 2017, students have come to the Learning Commons to delve into a wealth of resources and ideas. They get inspired to discover the amazing new and continuously renewed world of the Media Studio productions that ultimately transform their journey through international education. With over 400 student and faculty projects a year, the Me dia Studio provides the school’s learning community with the latest digital tools and methodologies for video and audio production.
Video production software that employs AI can ana lyze entire footage to select the best possible shots for a proper color scheme, the right emotion, the best place to cut or merge scenes, etc. Streaming of content is also important. AI utilities are also used here, to ensure that the best possible image quality is streamed with fewer data streaming faults for the most optimal network usage and speed.
As the new AI / Innovation Lab comes to the Learn ing Commons in the 2022-23 academic year, the tools of Virtual or Augmented Reality will make the Media Studio services much more relevant. Productions in the metaverse will increase, providing the media pro ducers of the community with the tools to explore the next level of human activity. The Media Studio has been exploring and utilizing tools to produce mixed reality and augmented reality projects, robotics and human-computer interaction, computer vision, and others. By learning how the metaverse works, young people - who are the most impressionable - will now be less prone to accept the buzz of virtual life, but rather use it to their advantage to make their life and the life of their community better designing better ap plications and improving the workflows of their proj ects, focusing more on their goal than the process.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
The global pandemic has forced organizations to envision new ways of working through remote and virtual prac tices. In addition, with many organizations increasing cross-border collaboration and enhancing an internation al footprint, more digital innovations bring opportunities for flexible working models.
With the accelerated global need for new product and ser vice solutions, over 100 million new businesses per year are being created shifting large cor poration dynamics into a more entre preneur-driven so ciety.
A Digital Career Bank Guiding Students Towards Tomorrow’s Careers
by Carla Tanas, Dean of the Institute
Exponential technologies and organizations are dras tically changing tomorrow’s working landscape, bringing a shared global challenge in guiding stu dents toward future careers.
“Effective career guidance enables young people to devel op informed, critical perspectives about the relationship between education and employment, helping them to visualize and plan their transitions through schooling and into attractive work” (OECD Career Readiness Project).
But how can we guide students when “an estimated two billion jobs are expected to disappear by 2030”, estimates futurist Thomas Frey? There could be an upside, however, as billions of new types of jobs could potentially be created within the next two decades, potentially even exceeding the number of jobs lost.
The world of work is more dynamic and chaotic than ever.
The global population is changing demographics with a significant impact on the workforce needing alternative ways of working. An increase in life expectancy is outliving pension schemes; diverse age groups are working on the same team; women in leadership positions are increasing diversity in perspectives; millennials and GEN Z are craving meaning and ownership in their work and prefer alterna tive working environments rather than an office desk job.
Future work trends are shifting, requir ing career guidance to expand knowl edge on expected labor market de mands, essential skill sets, up-and-coming industries and technologies, as well as options for entrepreneurial suc cess.
While we may not be able to guide students to future proof their job, we can; however, guide them to future proof their inspired professional paths through a digi tal career bank bridging today’s world with tomorrow’s potential careers. This is the inspiration for creating the KNOWLEDGE SERIES (theinstitute.gr/ks).
The KNOWLEDGE SERIES consists of five-minute career videos featuring industry experts across all fields and all nations that briefly highlight their career, what makes it interesting, the skills it requires, and how the profession is anticipated to change in the future. The content heavily focuses on future insights with creative direction to of fer visual imagination. This career bank offers students a platform to explore career options in each field as well as opportunities for discussions with their families, career guidance experts, teachers, and other stakeholders.
The digital career bank aims to house a volume of videos as we believe every expert has a piece of the ambiguous puzzle of what the future holds. Acting as a living organ ism, new videos are added to the career bank, offering diverse perspectives and new ways of thinking in this fast-changing world.
Ultimately, the KNOWLEDGE SERIES aspires to provide a connection between experts and students in hopes of developing a mentorship relationship where students can even contact their expert of preference through our plat form and gain further guidance.
With an extensive network of influential experts, leaders, and professionals, we can begin to delve deeper into what our new world might look like in the coming decade.
1.A formulated estimation by Dr. Paul D. Reynolds, Director, Research Institute, Global Entrepreneurship Center
ETHOS • FALL 2022
by Carla Tanas, Dean of the Institute
Building alignment between K-12 and higher education institutions is a pathway to encourage construc tive collaboration and address the current na ture of our fragmented learning ecosystem.
K-12 and higher educa tion cannot avoid the fact that they need one another to meet the changing workforce re quirements while serving all students’ educational needs. The pandemic has created new possibilities for reform and institu tional transformation.
The Institute at ACS Ath ens is proud to announce that it has successfully completed its first collab
orative partnership for graduate students with Chapman University, which took place on June 20th – 22nd, 2022.
Fifteen Master of Arts students completing their degree at the Don na Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies (a dual credential general education + special ed ucation degree at Chap man University) came to visit ACS Athens. While also having finished a year of student teach ing, they came to learn firsthand about inter national schools, action research, and inclusivi ty from administrators, staff, faculty, students, parents, and friends of ACS Athens.
In an increasingly glo balized world, interna tional-mindedness and the need for intercultural understanding have seen unprecedented growth in the number of interna tional schools worldwide in recent years. Chap man Master of Arts stu dents enjoyed insights about the opportunities of international schools and how the curriculum is shaped international ly vs. a state-based ap proach.
In addition, with an institutionalized ac tion research culture at ACS Athens, which has
built the pathway for MSA’s Sustaining Excel lence protocol , which is now being conducted in a number of leading schools across the globe, Chapman University Master of Arts students learned first-hand about processes, and expe riences from both ad ministrators and faculty members.
Finally, with a diversity of programs for inclusivity across the school, ACS Athens highlighted its Youth 2 Youth program, an innovative education al and social integration program that was devel
oped in the midst of a cri sis to meet the needs of an ever-growing refugee population.
An exchange of infor mation and knowledge was the focal point of all the sessions, and our guests, as well as our ad ministration, staff, and faculty, left the sessions enriched through new perspectives.
We wholeheartedly en joy these collaborative opportunities because they always leave behind food for thought and al low us to reflect on how we can upgrade and fur
ther enhance our educa tional system. Education and knowledge have no end and are always on going processes fueled by inquisition and curi osity.
We look forward to con tinuing our ongoing partnership with Chap man University. ■
ACS Athens is accredited by the Middle States As sociation of Colleges and Schools. ACS Athens has received a “Sustaining Excellence” stamp of approv al and was one of seven schools worldwide, and the only international school to have achieved this level of accreditation. In November 2012, ACS Ath ens was approved to use the Sustaining Excellence Protocol, making it the first -and only- internation al school considered for re-accreditation with this top level protocol. Our school has thus become a de-facto model school for international education. Furthermore, οur school initiated, implemented and presented the Action-Research component for the Sustaining Excellence protocol. The Sustain ing Excellence Protocol is now offered to leading schools that have a demonstrated commitment to excellence and have demonstrated that the systems and structures necessary to support the Middle States Association standards are securely in place. This is a mark of distinction. Sustaining Ex cellence has schools commit to an action research project focused on a single, overarching area of learning.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Include Both Artificial Intelligence And Conscious Citizenship
by Carla Tanas, Dean of the Institute
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has progressed rapidly, and the fu ture is arriving faster than expected predictions. AI has become an integral part of our lives, and it is time to prepare for the age of AI by investing in educa tion and training.
AI has many advantages: minimizing human error, reducing risk-taking on hu mans, around-the-clock availability, help in ordain ing jobs, digital assistance, and faster decision-mak ing. AI may even have a
lower error rate than hu mans if coded accurately.
The best examples of AI in daily life could be seen in agriculture, finance, healthcare, navigation, criminal justice, and secu rity, to name a few. Yet, AI does pose future threats, including invasion of priva cy, autonomous weapons, loss of human jobs, and AI terrorism.
It remains up to us to choose how to upgrade our skills and knowledge and be part of a world
where artificial intelligence makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new data and perform human-like tasks.
To adapt to this new complex system, we need to be able to identify the multitude of factors, perspectives, or in teractions that might be associated with or contribute to particular outcomes. The context of the larger system is made up of networks of systems we can see as well as those we can’t (values, biases and decision-making rules that influence the way people think).
Education plays a vital role in transitioning sustainably and peacefully into this new realm. A holistic educational ap proach is a necessity to be able to focus on the constituent parts that interrelate and define how systems will work over time. Preparing our youth for the age of AI requires enhancing a schoolwide curriculum where incorporating artificial intelligence goes beyond our technology classes, where it belongs academically, but rather permeates the skills, concepts, and dispositions of AI in all other academic areas across our school in every grade (from K-12) and every discipline (math, science, history, art, literature, physical education, foreign language, social studies, psychology, and so on).
As our world transforms and machines become more in telligent, we must redefine our humanity and existence to include relationships with intelligent machines and each other. Defining the guidance that we need to provide hu mans is the role of today’s educational institutions, more importantly, K-12 institutions where children are defining their identity, character, and fundamental way of being. Empowering students for the future goes beyond helping them develop skill sets, but rather a way of thinking.
In January 2020, I developed and led a framework to in tegrate Artificial Intelligence and Conscious Citizenship (AICC) across our schoolwide curriculum so that we may empower our students to increase their human intelli gence, including mindfulness, creativity, and interconnect edness, so they are prepared to engage with, manage and lead tomorrow’s advances and innovation for the good of humanity to improve life and living on the planet.
To bring this framework from an idea into a schoolwide reality, a think tank and implementation team were both created to include administration, faculty, and staff mem bers1 who, as a team, worked hard to create a new holistic way of thinking within the school.
Beginning with the basics of defining our meaning of Ar tificial Intelligence and Conscious Citizenship that repre sented our vision at ACS Athens, we concluded that:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)” is a human-like intelli gence demonstrated by machines, and
Conscious Citizenship (CC) is one who places val ue on being fully human while connecting with a higher purpose; one who values human life and the relationship with all living things, and takes respon sibility for transforming skill into action, through ethical decision making, to ultimately improve life and living on the planet.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Our common definition laid the foundation for devising themes and topics around AI and CC, separately, which framed our processes to onboard faculty members across the school to make connections to their class curriculum. Faculty spent the academic year of 2021/22 during their selected professional development days to constructively research, envision the knowledge they wanted students to gain, assess the key questions they wanted to ask stu dents, as well as, the potential ways to evaluate the suc cess of student learnings.
After a two-year journey behind the scenes, we continue to grow our AICC strategic plan by including the introduction of an Innovation Lab that will include virtual reality, aug mented reality, robotics, STEAM (within a makerspace), and artificial intelligence, which will allow for further hands-on learning, experimenting, and exploring from in
sightful research to solution-oriented products. Our vision for the Innovation Lab is that it will serve as a hub for AICC development for our students, as well as for those in the surrounding community since we hope to welcome other students in the coming years.
Some additional growth projects that we have planned in clude the introduction of a new AICC digital library which to date already includes over 600 titles and continues to grow. Furthermore, additional programs under the AICC umbrella will be offered across the school to our students as we continue providing professional development pro cesses for our faculty and staff members, who are directly responsible for educating our students. In addition, educa tional opportunities for our parents and the community as a whole are all in the pipeline.
Transitioning to an AI-centric world
Our world is transforming as more companies build AI-based solutions. We are encountering systems of change. Below is a birds-eye view of one example on the horizon, auton omous vehicles, which will
impact many industries. How should education react to new labor needs, resources, infra structure, policies, and eco nomic models that will expand to include more roles support ing the production, mainte
From petrol and gas to electricity. Can corn become a fuel source?
From roads, bridges and traffic lights to all of it becoming smart. Can you create an app to support the system?
Designers, engineers, mechanics focused on safety, speed, and design as key performance indicators. Now philosophers are joining product design conversa tions to write algorithms. Do ethical discussions and idealistic perspectives control our future?
nance and operation of self-driving cars? What ques tions should we begin asking students when the driver seat transforms from being human-centric to AI-centric?
From human centric policies regarding speed and safety, who will be responsible for accidents by autonomous cars?
Service Jobs Emerging Economies
From taxi drivers, chauffers, bus drivers, delivery drivers, heavy truck drivers what new jobs can these individu als transfer to with their capabilities? What upskilling do they need?
As car companies will become mobility companies vehicles will be shared or rented for very short periods. A new sharing economy emerges. How can you imagine this new transformation impact other industries? What additional services can a mobility company offer?
1 A special thanks to ACS Athens President Peggy Pelonis, Academic Dean Julia Tokatlidou, Academy Principal David Nelson,Assis tant Academy Principal Evelyn Pittas, Middle School Principal Joletta Galozzi, Elementary School Principal Sophia Moros, Assistant Elementary School Principal Valeria Laitinen, People Manager Andromachi Fragkou, Coordinator of Professional Development and Accreditation Adviser Julie Crain. Many thanks to Teacher and Staff Antonios Karampelas, Spyros Arsenikos, Christos Pakos, Liana Tsigaridi, Tabitha Newton, Zoe Karatza, Victoria Poulou, Angela Chamosfakidis, Sophia Thanopoulou, Stavi Dimas, Christina Venos, Pinelopi Dimitroula, Katherine Bibidakis, Christina Rocha, Natalia Dadidou, Venie Gaki, Sophia Tsinakis, Panagiotis Mologousis, Stephanos Achilleas.
Middle School adventures
Teaching Adolescents That They Are Part Of A Whole; How To Help Middle School Students Become
by Venie Gaki, Middle School Faculty
“Aconscious citizen is someone who reflects on their value of being and personal responsibility to define and achieve their higher purpose, builds awareness, interconnectivity, and relationships among all living things in our community and our world, and empowers a harmonious engagement in committing resources and initiating actions to positively impact a sustainable quality of life.”
As Maslow suggests, self-actualization transcends the self.
It’s a tough call, and given the psychology of the ad olescent, it becomes much harder; adolescents can be frivolous, immature, spontaneous, and seem in considerate at times. How stereotypical this might sound, yet, it is true! However, all this is part of their search to discover their identity. In their effort to do so, this is when we, as educators and parents, have an obligation to intervene and lead them toward the right path.
And indeed, this is an educator’s ultimate goal: to in still knowledge, not only to facilitate the learning pro cess but to instill in the students the desire and the passion for serving a bigger purpose.
This is the reason why I expose my students to the Declaration of Human Rights and scaffold the text, analyze it and paraphrase it. They do love the process; they truly enjoy trying to comprehend and simplify such difficult discourse. However, it does not connect to their world; it does not activate their schemata; a 14-year-old adolescent of Generation Z cannot relate to what was happening in the world in 1948. Indeed, it is an invaluable document, a precious resource, and a necessary tool for everyone in order to comprehend the importance of human rights.
So, how could they make the declaration theirs? How could they connect and relate to it?
How could they find a bigger purpose to serve after having read it?
The answer was reached after a very long discussion in class that concerned how we could apply this text to our reality, community, and everyday life.
English Language Learners at the advanced level (ESL 2) read the Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in 1948, and went on to write their own Manifesto with which they would help Middle School students under stand their rights, but also their responsibilities and obligations as members of the school community. With this Manifesto, they would be able to publicly declare their intentions, motives, and views in an ef fort to help students become conscious citizens and make sure that every student in the school feels in cluded. It was easy; after all, our students are familiar with democratic processes where they collectively de velop classroom rules.
Of course, not every single right could relate to stu dent life; they picked the articles with which they could connect and made them applicable to school life.
This is what we at ACS believe in, and this is the defi nition we decided upon after several meetings as a Conscious Citizenship Committee. But how can an adolescent reach the point of self-actualization to be selfless and contribute to something purposeful that is greater than themselves?( (Greene, & Burke, 2007).
They worked on it collectively, in groups, as they had to simplify and group them and also made a poster to promote this document and make it known to the public.
One might ask why students found it necessary to
draft such a document, or one might claim that we know all this, that we, in the 21st century, are aware of children’s rights and respect them, but I wonder; is there a chance we might take them for granted? Is there a chance that we might be good in theory but not in practice and neglect implementing them at all times? After all, isn’t this why the declaration of hu man rights was drafted? TO REMIND HUMANS THAT
WE ARE ALL EQUAL and to avoid past atrocities. And this is what ESL students wanted to do; to REMIND STUDENTS THAT THEY ARE ALL EQUAL and avoid un fortunate incidents of the past, such as cyber-bullying or exclusion and taunting.
The result was incredible, but most importantly, it was meaningful.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Dr. Pazartzis spoke about the foundation treaty of the UN, the three pillars, and specifically the Human Rights Committee, in which she has been unanimous ly elected as Chair. Students were able to understand how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are linked to the three pillars.
“ACS Athens is a small United Nations,” Dr. Pazartzis told students.
“You are very lucky to be in this school; you have peo ple from all over the world that are your friends and will remain your friends.”
She also stressed the importance of how having a goal in mind could help one develop their future career.
The guest speaker was introduced by Dr. Pelonis, who also gave the message to middle school students that the purpose of education is for you to take positive ac tion to improve life and living on the planet.
Acs Athens Middle School Students Celebrate UN Day With The Chair Of The UN Human Rights Committee
by Christina Bakoyannis, Middle School Faculty and UN Day Advisor
“How long have you worked in the UN?”
“What made you want to work in the UN?”
“How can one begin to work in the UN?”
These were some of the questions that middle school students had the opportunity to ask the Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee and ACS Athens alum nus Dr. Photini Pazartzis. Eighth-grade students fol lowed the presentation in the theater, while sixth and seventh-graders had a live stream presentation in their advisory classes.
Dr. Photini Pazartzis, an ACS Alumnus, Professor of In ternational Law at the University of Athens, and the Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee, honored us with her presence to speak to middle school stu dents about the United Nations and the UN SDGs.
Students were also involved in this day’s event. Specif ically, a member of the Student Council spoke about the UN SDG advisory work and how sustainability can be achieved through personal commitments to the UN SDGs. The Middle School Honor Code shared information about the World International Day for Tolerance and how tolerance is an integral part of our ACS community and one of the club’s goals. The day also had a touch of music as Ms. Mancl’s Intermedi ate Instrumental Music class played This Land Is Your Land, and a member of the Student Council read the lyrics.
A beautiful event with many powerful messages and a strong sense of community and belonging.
ACS Athens Middle School Students Make Commit ments to the UN SDGs
The ACS Athens Middle School has a strong tradition of celebrating United Nations Day as a commemo rative event. This day has a theme, and for the past three years , the theme has been “Imagine the Future. Be a Changemaker”. This theme aims to develop stu dents that are the future changemakers to improve life and living on the planet.
In order to prepare for UN Day, students explore and discuss the 17 SDGs in their advisory classes. Further more, each advisory is assigned one SDG, and stu dents are challenged to explore it in depth in order to take action by making a personal commitment to their specific UN SDG. Students share their commit ments on a discussion forum in the moodle shell that hosts all of the UN SDG resources.
During these restricted times, students have posted personal commitments to the UN SDGs based on the UN Guide called “170 Daily Actions to Transform Our World”. Here are some examples of personal commit ments:
“I chose action 14 for Zero Hunger which is to minimize
ETHOS • FALL 2022
meat and dairy consumption.”
“I believe that installing a solar panel for your home would be a very good idea because fossil fu els result in polluted air.”
“In our advisory class, we are focusing on Goal 6: Clean Wa ter and Sanitation. We chose to turn off the tap when brushing our teeth and taking a shower.”
“The action I chose was to sup port local farmers’ markets and eat local food.”
Students mentioned how they could convince their friends and family and also use social media to spread awareness.
There is a thematic spiral so that three main themes of the UN SDGs are touched upon during their threeyear middle school experience. Through this continuum, stu dents thus gain a holistic per spective of local and global issues, which could help them think critically about solutions. ■
The MS Student Council spoke about the UN SDG advisory work and how sustainability can be achieved through personal commitments to the UN SDGs.
Ms. Bakoyannis with Dr. Photini Pazartzis, Dr. Peggy Pelonis and Ms. Carla Tanas at the Middle School United Nations Day
Dr. Photini Pazartzis, an ACS Alumnus, Professor of International Law at the University of Athens and the Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee speaks to middle school students about the United Nations and the UN SDGs.
Connecting SchoolWide Goals Through The Sustainable Development Goals In Mathematics
by Dora Andrikopoulos, former Middle School Faculty, currently, Elementary School Principal
This year The Sustainable Development Goals Project was extended to all my middle school classes (6-8), focusing on connecting mathe matics to real-world problems.
Expectations of this project were:
To enhance conceptual understanding, procedur al fluency, and use of problem- solving strategies in mathematics through applications to real-life problems.
To use technology and/or other engineering mod els to represent findings
To present final product(s) based on learning pref erences -how best students can demonstrate their learning-
To write a story reflecting on the process and the learning
The project included the following steps in alignment with our school goals.
A. School Goal: Teaching Literacy through critical thinking and logical structure
Research Focus Question / Literature Review
B. School Goal: Teaching Mathematics through applications, connections, identify ing patterns and reaching conjectures
Students were guided following a checklist
Write and Understand the fact
Read your fact and visualize the information giv en
Identify the given information in the fact- 2 differ ent units-
Write a Word Problem
Using the given information, turn the fact into a question (Word Problem)
In which STANDARD does your word problem be long?
Use words if , what, where, when, how.........to begin writing your word problem
Plan and Select a Strategy
Solve the problem
Show all steps (procedural fluency)
Evaluate your work
Check accuracy of your calculations
To develop an awareness of environmental issues and changes (morphing conscious citizens)
Make sure the answer makes sense and is reason able
To use a logical structure to present the informa tion.
C. School Goal: Teaching Science through applications in engineering and technology
To use critical thinking and reasoning to analyze the information and make logical suggestions
Researching, collecting and organizing informa tion and data
Reflection Writing: To write a story reflecting on the process and the learning through Discussion Forum Students shared highlights of their work in the ACS Media Studio with the help of Mr. Palos.. The Link to the video will be shared on the ACS Web site.
ETHOS • FALL 2022 ◉
Synthesizing and solving mathematical problems using the data
Representing/ Analyzing data and findings
Qualitative/Quantitative Analysis of data
School Goal: Morphing Conscious, Re sponsible Citizens
Evaluating the results and suggesting environ mental improvements
Student –Peer Evaluations/Suggestions (Gallery Walk-through guided questions) E. School Goal: Matching students with ‘best fit’ learning preference
Presentation of final project-allowing for differen tiation F. School Goal: support for ESL/EFL and OLP students through language development and use of inclusion models of instruction
Assessment of Project accommodated according ly taking into consideration ESL/EFL /OLP groups
Despina Iliopoulou and Teo Joomyung during Peer Evaluations exchanging ideas how to improve their research projects on Quality Education and Clean Water and Sanitation
Greg Sietis evaluating his mathematical procedures to his created word problems on Affordable Clean Energy
Ameer Bibi displaying his created model on No Poverty
Paavni Strivastava displaying her Art work representing Life in the Ocean
ACS Athens Recycling Program A Closer Look At The Process Of Its Design And Accomplishments
by Panos Mologousis, Citizenship Coordinator & Program Manager
cling, through learning, action, and partnerships.
ACS Athens Recycling Program Vision
The Athens Recycling Program’s vision is to inspire the school community to embrace the values of environ mental education, take action to promote recycling, and contribute towards the creation of a sustainable campus environment.
The ACS Athens recycling program is based on three core pillars. These pillars are particularly important as, according to them, all the goals and activities of the program are being designed. Not only does this support the continuous development of the recycling program, but it also inspires students to participate actively in these. The power of defining the core pillars allows the program to maintain a holistic identity, be ing as inclusive as possible.
ACS Athens Recycling Program Core Pillars: Learn ing – Experiential – Networking
1. Recycling Program Goals
Any goals of the recycling program are SMART (Specif ic - Measurable - Attainable - Relevant - Time Based). Thus, data is an important part of what we do with recycling to monitor the progress of each goal. Look ing at the data, students are more motivated and will be inspired to act since they appreciate the school no ticing their efforts. This will inspire them to keep go ing and be consistent along the way, facilitating the achievement of the recycling goals and the growth of the recycling program.
ACS Athens Recycling Program SMART Goals
Accomplishments for the 2021 – 2022 aca demic year
You cannot inspire a school community if the vi sion and mission of your program are not aligned with the values of your organization. The recy cling program was designed with a student-centered philosophy, focusing on inspiring students to practice recycling on campus daily and contributing to them thriving as conscious global citizens.
ACS Athens Recycling Program Mission
The ACS Athens Recycling Program aims to imple ment various recycling mechanisms on campus - both inside and outside of the classrooms - to educate and engage students and the school community on recy
ETHOS • FALL 2022
◉ The vision
- mission of the program
Recycling Program Strategic Map – Core pillars
Recycling Program Goals
◉ Raising awareness for recycling through advisory classes ◉ Asynchronous Online Learning opportunities for Environmental Education Experiential Pillar ◉ Lunch Time Recycling Mechanism ◉ Daily Measurement of recyclable materials by stu dent volunteers ◉ Paper recycling ◉ Recycling Batteries on Campus ◉ ACS Athens Environmental Clubs ◉ Student Council initiatives
Participation in 1st Panhellenic Tournament for Recycling Batteries
Participation in the Eco-Schools program
Collaboration with various environmental NGOs
2. Accomplishments for the 2021 – 2022 aca demic year
A lunchtime recycling mechanism was created for Middle school and High school.
Middle School and High School student volun teers measured the total amount of recyclable materials daily, resulting in useful data related to their ecological footprint (1087.83kg).
◉ An in-classroom recycling mechanism was creat ed for Middle School in May 2022 only for the col lection of paper (11kg). Student Council Volunteers collected the paper weekly and measured its total amount.
The Middle School Student Council collected funds and purchased recycling bins for all middle school classrooms to support the above-men tioned mechanism.
◉ Old textbook recycling started in February 2022 (1570 kg).
◉ ACS Athens received second place in the 1st Pan hellenic Recycling Batteries Competition.
◉ Middle School Advisory lessons were dedicated to the recycling process, and middle school students created recycling action plans.
◉ An environmental online course was offered to IB CAS students, “Environmental Journalism and Photography,” to serve as a means of raising awareness about the importance of recycling and other environmental issues through the “ecoschool program.”
The Middle School environmental club conducted an evaluation of the existing recycling mechanism during lunchtime, taking pictures of the recycling bins’ content.
The Middle School environmental club organized an advisory lesson around the topic of recycling, inviting an expert guest speaker who discussed the impact of plastic on animals.
The Middle School environmental club collected plastic water bottles for recycling purposes.
The Academy environmental club raised aware ness for the recycling batteries competition in all middle school and high school classrooms.
How Does Inclusion Of All Learning Abilities Ultimately Empower Students To Make Change?
by Chara Kouppa, OLP Inclusion Specialist and Sarah Kaldelli, OLP Coordinator
“The human mind, overstretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.”
(Oliver Wendell Holmes)
How often do we ask our children and students to generate solutions for much bigger prob lems of the world, such as climate change and gender equality? Students have incredible ideas and solutions that adults have neither thought of nor considered. Inclusion in education makes an es sential contribution to building inclusive and dem ocratic societies, where a wide range of voices can be heard, in pursuit of social cohesion and a sustain able world that celebrates diversity.
Problem-solving and finding creative ways to cir cumnavigate a difficulty are at the heart of the Optimal Learning Program (OLP). We do this by maintaining systematic collaboration with par ents, faculty, and staff to provide support services that meet the social, emotional, and full range of cognitive needs of all students. Crafting structured opportunities for students in OLP to collaborate with each other on individual goals provides them with multiple avenues toward the achievement of their learning. By giving students opportunities to present their learning growth within mainstream classrooms and by creating a safe environment for risk-taking, OLP assists in empowering all learners to problem solve, think creatively, and actively con tribute their strengths to the community. Through the different models of support offered through OLP (Full OLP, Consultation, Individual Support Plan, Ad vanced Learning Plan, and Inclusion), students par ticipating in this program are able to ask more ques tions and thus initiate more answers and solutions.
At the heart of the ACS Athens’ mission are the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which are an urgent call for action for the planet and all be ings depending on it. Education, the environment, health, hunger, gender equality, animals below wa ter and on land, and reduced inequalities are all dif ferent parts of what the world must focus on if it’s meant to survive longer. Following the Conscious Citizenship model, we strive to develop balanced students who can make responsible decisions to ren der our planet a better place. Based on our students’ metacognition, which is the encouragement to think about thinking, OLP strives to offer all learners appropriate learning experiences to explore further areas they find interest in. We strongly believe in our student’s strengths, and by offering multiple levels of support, we create an impressive environment of inclusivity. Our driving force is for our students to reach their potential and showcase their progress and strengths. We encourage them to challenge ex isting ways of doing and thinking about things as a means of stimulating new ideas, and ultimately, we strengthen their opportunities to improve life and living on the planet. We believe each of them can be a navigator of positive change.
During the March 16th Professional Development day of this year, we were given the opportunity to present to the entire ACS Athens Faculty and Staff. This in cluded all our key players: teachers, supporting staff, maintenance, security, Administration, and financeall departments were online and connected. The best result of our presentation was that our community members started coming forward, asking questions, pointing things out, and sharing their experiences or knowledge in this area. Some colleagues came forward to talk about how uncomfortable they had been with certain subjects and asked direct questions regarding how they could navigate discussions with students or
Let’s Talk About It...
by Sarah Kaldelli, OLP Coordinator
At the 2019 CIS Child Protection and Safeguarding Conference in The Hague, just at the break of the pandemic, a profound yet simple statement was made by several speakers: “if you’re not talking about it, you’re not doing enough.” That statement was a hook that has stayed with me ever since.
ACS Athens has steadily expanded and solidified its Child Protection policy and has many systems in place to respond to issues that relate to children’s safety, pro tection, and well-being. One of the key connections we made as the Child Safeguarding Liaisons was between Child Safety, the Conscious Citizenship model, and that one single phrase stated above.
Our aim and process have been to educate our teachers and students by giving them tools to empower them selves when they’re in difficult situations. We want our students to feel safe among us, while also know ing that whatever situation they share with us, we will first know how to respond to it, and secondly, we will maintain high confidentiality in that response. At ACS Athens, we’re doing our best to talk about the difficult issues revolving around child safety.
We’re starting those conversations that leave people feeling uneasy, yet with greater awareness of what they should be looking out for. We want colleagues to be able to fully talk to each other when something feels “off”. As I learned at the CIS conference, the uncomfort able conversations are the ones we need to be having.
Many of the questions don’t have immediate answers, yet they all contributed to that single commonality: we need to talk about it. Talking about what situations our students are experiencing at home, what they’re experiencing in school, and talking about what sys tems are in place to keep everyone safe on our campus is vital. Without these conversations, we’re not “con scious,” and without the connections we’re making, we’re not active citizens of our community either.
I like to find connections in ideas and relationships, and I see meaningful ones among our Child Safeguarding policy and ongoing development in this area, and in our Conscious Citizenship model. The Child Safeguard ing Liaisons at ACS Athens invite all members of our community to be conscious, alert, and as active as the Conscious Citizenship model invites us to be. Through this model, we strongly advocate that we need to be “creating the conditions to expand awareness of so cial [...] conditions while being empowered to assume personal responsibility, by engaging in, committing to and initiating positive impact”. As a strong education al institution, it is our responsibility to be vigilant over our younger community members, so they are safe and empowered to develop into citizens of the world who, in turn, will be the next custodians of the future generations.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
The Mindset And Commitment To Create Innovative Programs
In addition to their astound ing success, these four Youth-to-Youth Program ACS Athens graduates have also been accepted to col leges on scholarships: two to The American College of Greece, one to Southeast ern University in Athens, and one to Bethany College in Kansas, USA.
Could they have ever imag ined that despite the many challenges and risks, their boat journey to Greece would bring them to such a high-caliber and repu table international school as ACS Athens and a full scholarship to an American university? Undoubtedly, their journey through ACS Athens was beyond even the most optimistic expec tations they could have had for their lives in their new country.
the social integration of the children.
When the HOME Project sought collaborations with educational institutions in Athens, ACS Athens was willing and ready to act; thus, the partnership began in December 2016.
With its great tradition of in volving its students in com munity service projects and its commitment to serving humanity, ACS Athens had the ideal mindset required for undertaking the project. Combining our communi ty’s exceptional talent and professional skills, ACS Ath ens and The HOME Project Organization launched the Youth-to-Youth Education al and Social Integration Program on February 8, 2017.
Youth-To-Youth Educational And Social Integration Program; From Refugee Camp To College Scholarship
by Julia Tokatlidou, Dean of Academics
ACommencement ceremony is always a sentimental cele bration both for students and parents. It marks suc cess, pride, and the antic ipation of a better future. The 2022 commencement ceremony at ACS Athens was exceptionally moving for our community as it cel ebrated among its 112 grad uates four unique students.
Four children who traveled thousands of miles without their parents to escape war, persecution, and poverty to seek refuge in western countries. Today, Amie, Chanel, Irsa, and Tayebe, all students of our Youthto-Youth Educational and Social Integration Program, are proud graduates of ACS Athens.
How did this all come to be, one might ask? Could other individuals and orga nizations follow the lessons from this success story to provide meaningful oppor tunities to more underpriv ileged children? What is the necessary mindset and skill that individuals and orga nizations must possess to build inclusive educational programs?
Luckily, these students were placed under the care of The HOME Project, a newly es tablished non-governmen tal organization. I say luck because of the mindset and holistic care approach the organization adopted from the onset. They changed the narrative of relief orga nizations. Instead of build ing shelters for “refugee un accompanied minors,” they built homes for children.
This approach promoted the development of trust ing relationships with the children, which facilitated further socioemotional support and identified the importance of education in
Approximately 60 facul ty members and an equal number of students vol unteered to participate in the program, indicative of our community’s mindset in taking action to improve people’s lives.
When designing the parttime (Saturday) Youth-toYouth program, our main objective was to create a program that would be meaningful both to our stu dents and the children from The HOME Project.Thus, we chose the student-to-stu dent instructional ap proach. This instructional approach greatly facilitated the educational and social integration objectives for both groups of students. Furthermore, the curric ulum design based on the needs of the Youth-toYouth students and with a built-in adaptive curriculum progression helped steep en the learning curve for all participants.
This rapid growth of student learning and socioemotion al development increased the program’s value for all.
In turn, this was acknowl edged and appreciated by kind sponsors such as the IKEA Foundation and The Shapiro Foundation. The latter provided scholarships to 18 students to attend ACS Athens. Thus, in 2018, ACS Athens developed a highly inclusive learning program, the Full-time Youth-toYouth Program.
The design of the full-time Youth-to-Youth focused on addressing curriculum dif ferentiation and adaptive progression to facilitate their gradual inclusion into ACS Athens courses. The student-to-student teach ing model was used when possible and social inte gration was encouraged through participation in sports and student clubs. With intensive English lan guage courses, an empha sis on learning skills devel opment, and motivational support by the school and the HOME Project profes sionals during the first two years, the Youth-to-Youth students were fully inte grated into the ACS Ath ens courses by the third year of their studies. At this point, it is worth noting that this was a formidable task for these children, our heroes. Nevertheless, they overcame obstacles, fears, and uncertainty, and with their teachers, counselors, friends, and the ACS Athens family’s support, they ac complished their dreams.
Thus, what are the lessons learned from the sustain ability and expansion of this program during these last five years? First, the program’s success lies in the meaningful and syn chronized collaboration of all parties involved. For our program, this collaboration involved The HOME Project Organization, The Shapiro Foundation, and ACS Ath ens. The continuous com munication among the
three organizations regard ing the well-being and ed ucation of the children was fundamental in overcom ing challenges and motivat ing students to work hard to achieve their academic dreams.
Second, the mindset and commitment of ACS Athens to actively engage its com munity to create innovative programs to promote well ness for those in need were equally fundamental for the program’s success. Active engagement ensures that the impact of the social in terest of the community goes beyond awareness and active participation to the creation of new knowl edge.
Third, the professional ex pertise and skill of ACS Athens educators, com bined with their high em pathy and caring approach, brought to the forefront the capability of educators to think outside of the box to create meaningful educa tional and social programs.
Lastly, the ACS Athens par ent community’s continu ous engagement and sup port allowed the growth and expansion of the pro gram to reach the mag nificent outcomes we all witnessed during the 2022 commencement ceremo ny.
The words one of our Youthto-Youth graduates wrote to her teachers on the first day of college serve as the best reflection on the im pact of the program:
“Hello to my dearest teach ers,
I hope you all had a wonder ful summer and have a per fect school year. Today the direction of my class was dif ferent than last year, which was strange for me. My first day at college was unfor gettable. I got into college.
I got lost, but I could find my class as well as I was on time. Don’t worry, my kind teachers. I met my class mates and the teacher. You cannot imagine how happy I was. My dream came true, and it was unbelievable for me. All the time, I was tell ing myself that I would be a psychologist in the future. As you know, I didn’t talk much in class because I felt shy to speak up; however, I spoke, answered, and intro duced myself to my class, and I had confidence.
Well, I don’t know how but it happened. I wrote all these to you, my best teach ers, and I want to say it’s because you and your help pushed me to be active. It worked. I cannot find any words to say and be enough for whatever you have done for me, but I can say thanks to all of you from the bot tom of my heart. I will try very hard to be successful. I hope you never give up on the students like me. I know it is hard, but we need such help to show ourselves and the world that we can be successful like other people.”
As ACS Athens, our promise to children in need is to con tinue empowering individu als to become architects of their own learning to thrive as conscious global citizens and improve life and living on the planet.
ETHOS • FALL 2022
“Place Is Security And Space Is Freedom (Tuan)” Integration Of Migrants Via Artificial Intelligence In Media Production
by Vana Αlexopoulou, Media Production Specialist
One of the many challenges in a refugee’s every day life is the process of integrating into a new environment. Digital media plays an essential role in helping migrants to become vital members of their host country. Furthermore, the ongoing migra tion flux has triggered the rapid development of me dia technology and digital applications to tackle the issue of refugee integration in Europe. (Alencar, 2017)
Social integration is fundamental for the personal development of the refugees, and not only. Migrants cannot continue their life journey without being a piece of the local’s society puzzle, without feeling fa miliar with the people around them. Furthermore,
migration, especially for unaccompanied minors, is an emotionally complex process involving mediated experiences and expressions of emotions and affect. (Neag, Supa, 2020)
To provide a better future for unaccompanied refugee youth, ACS Athens has been offering the Youth-toYouth program, an educational and social integration project. Y2Y provides a meaningful, holistic and har monious educational experience to unaccompanied refugee minors. The beauty of the program is that ACS Athens faculty and student volunteers act as mentors and teachers to the Y2Y students, and this is what en ables successful and effective social integration.
The Media Studio of ACS Athens supports the Y2Y pro gram and its participants with its technical expertise. The studio uses specific Artificial Intelligence tools for face recognition, in order to track faces. Once this process has been confirmed as accurate, immigrants’ facial characteristics are tracked, blurred, and hidden. This way, we keep their identities safe. From the very first moment that minors enter the school as Y2Y par ticipants, they know that they are in a safe environ ment where they can learn, be creative, and behave like children of their age. The studio has also employed AI to provide creative tools for numerous media proj ects, helping these minors to be a part of the school’s society in an innovative and collaborative way. Thus, specific applications are used to transcribe students’ audio and/or video productions and turn voices into text. After confirming that the text is correct, subti tles are added to productions, making the audiovisual pieces accessible and easier to follow by non-native speakers. Finally, AI software can also be used for col or correction, video auto-crop for social media, clarity of speech, voice isolation, etc.
Technology can help us democratize media in various aspects of modern life. Migrant youths of Y2Y have the opportunity, by using all the tools provided by the Me dia Studio, to be free and inventive in a safe and wel coming environment. After all, as the American-Chi nese geographer, Yi-Fu Tuan says, “Place is security and Space is freedom” (Tuan:2001).
Alencar, A. (2017) Refugee integration and social media: a local and experiential perspective, 1588)
Neag A., Supa M (2020) Emotional practices of unaccompanied refugee youth on social media, International Journal of Cultur al Studies, Volume 23, Issue 5
Tuan, Y.F (2001) Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience
Considering Responsible Artificial Intelligence In The Classroom
by Dr. Antonis Karampelas, Academy Faculty
“Aconscious citizen is one who places val ue on being fully human while connecting with a higher purpose; one who values hu man life and the relationship with all living things, and takes responsibility for transforming skill into action, through ethical decision making, to ultimate ly improve life and living on the planet.” . Any such future of conscious citizens living in harmony with their environment is hard to imagine without the consideration and proper use of technology. Equally, a data-driven future that would benefit humanity is hard to imagine without the responsible deployment of technology.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming so cieties and economies, while the pandemic has ac celerated the transition to a more digitized future. Artificial intelligence (AI) lies at the center of this transformation, promising the solution to persisting problems of humanity with the help of machines that can mimic aspects of human intelligence. With UNE SCO recommending “the development of values and skills for life and work in the AI era” , AI teaching and learning needs to be incorporated into K12 curricula. Moreover, any relevant instructional design needs to consider the algorithmic biases, limitations, and ethi
cal dilemmas intrinsic to AI.
Responsible AI is a term used to indicate the principles that are sufficient to achieve human-centered, fair, and safe Artificial Intelligence. OECD recommends five principles for responsible AI : ◉ inclusive growth, sustainable development, and well-being ◉ human-centered values and fairness ◉ transparency and explainability, ◉ robustness, security, and safety ◉ accountability
Key AI actors call for responsible AI as well. Microsoft states that fairness, reliability, safety, privacy, secu rity, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability principles drive their AI development , while Goo gle reports the utilization of responsible AI practices, including fairness, interpretability, privacy, and secu rity .
Artificial Intelligence is part of the ACS Athens cur riculum since 2018 as a unit of the Academy STEAM course [6-11]. In this course, students become aware of and brainstorm the potential impact of responsible AI. Similar learning opportunities for all three schools are growing over time. In STEAM, there is an inten tional progression from the awareness of the impact and limitations of AI to more technical knowledge and skills later in the unit, to reflect the societal im portance of this disrupting technology.
In a typical AI unit, students would showcase their learning by answering, among others, the following questions: ◉
What is AI’s impact, limitation, and good use in employment, transportation, healthcare, en tertainment, and education? ◉
What could the tasks, technical limitations, and safety concerns associated with a vehicle moving autonomously inside the ACS Athens campus be? ◉
How could a machine learning model trained by a student be developed to be inclusive and fair?
Students exhibit imaginative, creative, and criti cal thinking while working on their answers to the questions above, working both independently and in groups. Relevant work is showcased in the Figures. More specifically, Figure 1 shows a slide of a group presentation about the impact of AI on healthcare (image credit: https://www.hyro.ai/covid-19); Figure
2 demonstrates a 3D design of a self-driving vehicle in SketchUp; Figure 3 presents an instance of testing an AI model created in Google’s Teachable Machine.
Responsible AI and Conscious Citizenship will remain at the center of the AI unit of the STEAM course for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, the students will turn skills into action in the coming years, thus con tributing toward enabling a more sustainable, fair world. ■
 Business Partners (2021). Conscious Citizenship: The Role of Education in Creating a Fair and Sustainable Future. Ameri can-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.
 UNESCO (2019). Beijing Consensus on Artificial Intelligence and Education. ‘Planning education in the AI era: Lead the leap’ International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Education.
 OECD (2022). Recommendation of the Council on Artificial Intelligence. OECD/LEGAL/0449
 Microsoft. Microsoft responsible AI princi ples. URL: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ai/ our-approach?activetab=pivot1:primaryr5
 Google. Responsible AI practices. URL: https://ai.google/ responsibilities/responsible-ai-practices/?category=general
 Karampelas A. (2021). Why Adopt a K-12 Artificial Intelli gence Framework? Ethos, Fall 2021
 Karampelas A. (2021). Building a design-centered STEAM course. IGI Global, Handbook of research on K-12 blended and virtual learning through the i2Flex classroom model
 Karampelas A. (2020). Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the STEAM classroom: Analysis of performance data and reflections of international high school students. Hellenic Journal of STEM Education, Vol. 1, No 2
 Karampelas A. (2020). Developing and Delivering a High School Artificial Intelligence Course in Blended and Online Learning Environments. Human and Artificial Intelligence for the Society of the Future, European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) Proceedings, 2020 Annual Conference
 Karampelas A. (2019). The S.T.E.A.M. course at ACS Athens, Artificial Intelligence, and a Space Experiment. Ethos, Fall 2019
 Karampelas A. (2018). Introducing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Secondary Education. Astrolavos Journal of New Technologies, Hellenic Mathematical Society, Issue 29-30
Figure 2. A 3D
Figure 3. Testing an AI model (work by Iuliana Ciubotaru) copy
ETHOS • FALL 2022
Figure 1. A slide of a presentation about the AI impact on healthcare (work by Sydney Pina, Taleen Deeb, Michelle Bouri, and Ariadne Daskalaki)
design of a self-driving vehicle (work by Fanny Mikropandremenou)
Empowering Human Intelligence Through Learning And Design Thinking
by Michael Januzzi, Writing Studio Coordinator
Human intelligence is empowered through learning experiences that are novel, emotional, and seen as bigger than oneself. The Capstone Project carefully considered these components with in the theme of the 21-22 academic year: celebrating learning. The Capstone Project is a 10th-grade initia tive using the United Nations Sustainable Develop ment Goals (SDG’s) as guideposts for learning sound research techniques, exploring college/career op tions, and improving academic writing. Example stu dent research ranged from the impact of plastic pol lution in the Bay of Bengal to the primary problems in the Nigerian education system and how artificial intelligence is affecting traffic systems. In the 21-22 ac ademic year, two major changes were made: extend ing the project from one semester to two, and creat ing a Capstone Showcase of student demonstrations focused on take-home messages about their chosen SDG.
The fall semester was led by the Writing and Research Studio. Four original presentations were created:
◉ Workshop 1: SDG Exploration provided current data and insights from 17 SDG’s cross-referenced with previous year students’ chosen variables. Beginning with the big picture and sharing the startling realities of the world alongside solutions from their classmates served as the initial emo tional pull into a project about working on chal lenges larger than themselves.
◉ Workshop 2: College & Career Exploration con nected future opportunities to the SDG’s. One student shared how the presentation helped her choose SDG 3, Health and Well-being, “because of my hopes to study psychology and helped moti vate me to [in the second semester] research stu dent mental health during the pandemic.” One artificial intelligence tool that was utilized, in partnership with the Media Studio, was Descript, an audio and video editing tool, where 11th-grade students shared their experiences on how their SDG research related to their career and college pathway interests.
◉ Workshop 3: How to formulate a research ques tion had students narrow down their self chosen topics for time, place, group, and aspect.
◉ Workshop 4: How to conduct high quality re search was described by one student as, “an expe rience which helped me understand how research papers could look like in the future.”
A second artificial intelligence tool to empower hu man intelligence was FrameVR, a tool to collaborate and communicate in 3D environments. This novel tool allowed students to have interactive access to the materials for constant reference as they completed their independent work.
The second semester deepened the collaboration with Advisory as well as all middle and high school faculty, who served as mentors. The goal of the sec ond semester was to finalize the writing component of the Capstone and to create the showcase. Sixteen classroom visits conducting workshops or providing small groups and 1:1 writing and research support was approved in advance of the second semester by fac ulty and their departmental heads. One student de scribed the second semester as, “a way to make class time useful and having three teachers meant all of us could make real progress on our work. We felt sup ported!” To that end, mentors also met with students 1:1 to build relationships and provided feedback on the students’ writing. Over 85% of students said mentor support was ‘very helpful’ in completing their Cap stone Project. Collaborative planning to provide time for faculty to develop relationships with students is as important to empowering human intelligence as the materials provided to students.
The student showcase focused on the “take-home” message students wanted to convey from their re
ETHOS • FALL 2022
search. Student projects included songs, interac tive experiments, posters, games, physical models, and more. A design thinking approach was used and pushed students to consider key questions as they built and iterated:
◉ What is the one take-home/central message you hope others understand from your re search?
◉ What was the most memorable or surprising aspect from your research?
◉ How has your research changed the way you see the world?
◉ Who is your target audience?
◉ What means would you use to symbolize/ demonstrate the message so that your audi ence understands?
The Capstone project sought to empower Human intelligence through learning experiences that were novel, emotional, and seen as bigger than oneself.
Anastasia Riga’s original art on the Nigerian education system
Kyveli Hartzler’s visual poster on habitat fragmentation and poaching effects of the Saola population.
Matilda Beligiannis’ showcase on plastic pollution in the Indian
FrameVR screenshot of all first semester workshops by the Writing Studio
2022 IB Visual Arts
ital photographs, fashion pieces, videos, and instal lations. This reflected the professional direction they wanted to follow, whether this was Fine Arts, Archi tecture, Illustration, Fashion, Photography, or Film.
Complying with the IB requirements, all exhibitions managed to form coherent bodies of works, showing both technical competence and conceptual qualities. All exhibits included curatorial rationale and exhibi tion texts beneath all work that justified the selec tion, arrangement, and exhibition of their artworks within the designated space and reflected on how the exhibition conveyed an understanding of the relation ship between the artworks and the viewer.
Following are small sections of each student’s curato rial explaining the rationale behind their exhibitions.
Arianna Adamopoulou’s artworks are preoccupied with identity in an evolving world. The following text is part of her curatorial rationale:
“Our modern world is continuously evolving and changing, and major important issues are brought to our attention on a daily basis. This influx of displeasing information significantly disrupts the environment in which identity thrives, making it harder for people to differentiate and determine their identity from others. For these reasons, I use my exhibition as a medium to see how the essence and feeling of identity may endure the test of time. My pieces begin as paintings and then move into more sculptural work, with a focus on garments.”
In 2022 we had two consecutive but equally excep tional IB Visual Arts Exhibitions showcasing the works of fifteen talented young artists. Both exhi bitions took place in the Theatre Lobby. The first was held between March 29th and April 1st and the second was from April 5th to April 8th, 2022. The students who participated in the exhibition are as follows: Ada mopoulou Arianna, Chatzioti Anna, Kassalia Stelee za, Kefala Anna, Korsakova Liza, Kyriakousi Asimina, Lousides Markella, Makarigakis Max, Michaelidou El lie, Papaioannides Jason, Perakis Gaby, Rocco Jelena, Stamoulakatou Maria Tsakiris Ellie and Emma Bello (SL).
The last two years have been very challenging for our IB Visual Arts students, who managed to create some of their art remotely from home during the lock downs, often with scarce materials. They ended up curating high-standard exhibitions with remarkable art. Some pieces showed areas of isolation, loneli ness, destruction, and suffocation, displaying the un derlying feelings they were experiencing at the time. Their exhibitions touched on a multitude of other top ics as well, such as identity, family, beauty, feminin ity, conformity, order, chaos, transformation, time, space, nature, and mythology.
The plurality of concepts and approaches in their art was also shown in the different media they used, which included drawings, paintings, sculptures, dig
Anna Chatzioti’s primary focus is nature in relation to humans. She wrote:
“I saw the connection between flowers and human organs. I explored the relationship between the two proving how similar they are. Humanity and nature go beyond the extent to which an individual believes or feels part of nature. It can also be un derstood as our adaptive synergy with nature with our actions, memories, and experiences.”
Steleeza Kassalia wrote in her curatorial rationale : “Through my composition of pieces, I chose to reflect the theme of transformation and surreal metamorphosis. This theme resonated with me, considering my own experience with acceptance and growth; I personally believe that growth is a more abstract concept that cannot fully be grasped by the individual and is instead a journey of events rather than an instantaneous change. This is what I wanted to reflect through my works, a reflection of the sequence of events that lead to a metamorphosis.”
Anna Kefala mentioned in her curatorial that:
“she has always been intrigued by the binary hier archical oppositions of order and chaos, as they are observed in architectural buildings, nature, and the way the world around her is formed. The idea
ETHOS • FALL 2022
for the theme was born from the observation of the natural environment and developed through the exploration of architecture and the hidden struc tures of the universe.”
Liza Korsakova wrote in her curatorial that: “People are tempted to disregard the amount of dependency we put on nature and the animals around us. In my exhibition, I wanted to combine the personal issues I experienced with my view of the world and its inconsistencies. We as people depend on animals for various things. Humans depend on animals for emotional support. […] I combined these ideas with an individualistic con nection to me as an artist and as a person part of that society.”
Asimina Kyriakousi raised in her curatorial rationale that:
“The overarching concept that dominates her exhibition is the impact of time on human experience and overall existence. As the viewer flows from one piece to the next, various underlying themes unfold, addressing different aspects of life: the effects of the past on the present, the creation of memories and relationships, an exploration of the complex mental world of individuals as well as the overall connection between nature and humans.”
Markella Lousidis mentioned in her curatorial that the preoccupation of her exhibition was Femininity. She specifically wrote:
“Femininity is a social construct dictating what de fines. In reality, femininity is not dictated by gen der and cannot be tied to one. In today’s society, women are conditioned to act according to certain norms and standards. There are proper and im proper ways to act, look and think. I believe these norms only harm women, especially those with ex pectations of how one should dress. Through my art, I wanted to express the power of femininity.”
Max Makarigakis mentioned in his curatorial that:
“We tend to conform within a group to find con nection and avoid rejection; two deeply instinc tive emotional needs we are born with. In earlier times, this was the difference between life and death. Nowadays, even though our circumstances are very different, this rudimentary mindset is still prevalent. Forces with influence and power use this need to conform to condition things to their desired form. Conformity and conditioning are ex plored in this exhibition through several approaches in various mediums.”
Ellie Michaelidou explained in her curatorial ratio nale that:
“The persistence of time is a defining force in human/natural life. Through my artworks, I decided to utilize my favorite theme of time to convey the
perseverance and progression of humans, both positively and negatively. I wished to convey our power over time, as we are able to preserve it, hence “overcoming the persistence of time. My work is viewed through contrasting reliable/objec tive documentation of events through technology and subjective/emotional memories. The artworks connect with the theme of time alongside hu manity and take the viewer on a journey, whether through a static period in time or through fastpaced dream states.”
Jason Papaioannides wrote in his curatorial that:
“This collection of work is focused on exploring and deconstructing the emotional oscillations that we as individuals experience as we traverse the land scape of life.
Through digital photography and sculpture, this exploration of the human frame of mind is pursued through a unified narrative, beginning with work inducive of calm serenity, and finishing with pieces defined by overwhelming distress.”
Gaby Perakis worked around Mythology. She men tioned:
“In my art, I question and examine the relation ship between nature and mythology as well as the consequences of modern society on mental health and the environment. More specifically, my works share similar emotional meanings, such as uncer tainty, introspection, inner turmoil, and ambition. The meaning and passing of time are criticized and questioned as well as their relation to emotional growth. The relationship between humans and nature is evident in these pieces, highlighting our dependence on it and reminding the viewer of our origin.”
Jelena Rocco’s art relates to transformation. As she said:
“Within my art, the mechanical aspect and the desire to explore architecture were my primary in fluences which led me to question how far we can take what we know and transform it. In how many different ways can we take a concept familiar to us and push it? This is what I attempt to do with my art, combining mechanics, architecture, faces, landscapes, and different colors. In each painting, I try something different that is outside of my com fort space, keeping a defining line that follows my pieces: transformation.”
Maria Stamoulakatou works around the notion of beauty. In her curatorial, she says:
“As humans, beauty is something that we highly value in society. It can make or break a person, and it heavily impacts our everyday life. Not only that, but beauty is an asset in today’s society, yet it’s viewed differently by many. Through my exhi
ETHOS • FALL 2022
bition, I aim to show the different ways in which beauty is represented, the main symbolism revolv ing around wings and cages. Wings represent the freedom that society doesn’t allow you to explore through beauty standards. Cages symbolize being trapped in a world where your actions are judged consistently.”
Ellie Tsakiris interest in interior design was expressed in her curatorial rationale. She mentioned:
“As an aspiring interior designer, my two years journey in IB Visual Arts focused on my exploration of spaces. This was somehow influenced by the unfortunate extensive lockdowns that made me extra observant of the same spaces. This, merged with the distorted reality of everyday life, made me search for “intangible spaces.” My exhibition re volves around the experimentation of the notion of space in literal, metaphorical, and spiritual terms.”
Emma Bello’s unique work was explained in her cura torial. She wrote:
“This curation surrounds the concept of what it means to remember how it feels to grow up and become a part of a home and how each experience within those walls is emotionally significant to how someone perceives who they have become. At the same time, my pieces emphasize the connec tion between the self and their past, present, and future environments, which is represented through the use of old furniture, plants, and other materi als like clay and wood stain to add age and feelings of abandon to my pieces.”
Sports and Summer Camp
Annual Sports Celebration
by Annie Constantinides, Director of Athletics, Summer Camp and Recreational Programs
provided an opportunity to acknowledge everyone participating on our school teams and to congratu late the special award winners for each team in the presence of their peers and coaches, as well as their parents and loved ones.
The event ended with a video including photos from the year’s athletic events and the presentation of the final special awards for Scholar Athletes for the Acad emy and the Athletes of the Year for the Middle School and the Academy.
These are numbers worth celebrating! The ACS Athens Athletic Department is proud of its com petitive program and all its constituents: the student-athletes, the coaches, and all those support ing them. A strong legacy has been created by all our student athlete-alumni and a great history that has carried through the years, inspiring so many students.
This past year was very refreshing as it was the first year after the COVID years when sports competition was allowed. Even though travel was prohibited, just having our teams in uniform and competing locally was a “breath of fresh air”. Our annual sports banquet, a “gala” event that has been taking place year after year, was also halted, much to everyone’s disappoint ment. Yet despite the limitations imposed during the seasons, this past year, our student-athletes were strongly in favor of having a sports celebration to hon or their efforts.
Sports Celebration, which took place on June 3rd,
20 TEAMS 20 COACHES 235 STUDENT – ATHLETES
by Annie Constantinides, Director of Athletics, Summer Camp and Recreational Programs
To many, the last day of school means the end of a tiring school year and the beginning of summer va cation away from daily routines. To others, it is sim ply a regular day before another “kind” of school begins.
The ACS Athens Summer Camp is now an expectation for the greater Athens community. With the camp closure, a couple of years ago due to COVID-19 and the reopening the following year with strict regulations, the communi ty was ready for a carefree summer camp, a camp that would be vibrant with children having fun, learning new activities, and making memories. And vibrant it was!
With a record number of registrations, our campus was filled with young children wanting to have fun; close to 600 children joined us over a period of 3 weeks, and the camp staff was ready to go! Our staff members, a combi nation of ACS Athens professionals and others, were dedi cated and committed to providing the best experience to all the children. More than 20 activities were offered, ca tering to different needs and desires. However, the most important element of the ACS Athens Summer Camp is that many children had the option to choose their activi ties; and that is what we are all about!
Celebrating The Class Of 2022
by Evelyn Pittas, Academy Vice Principal
values you have worked so hard to create is a signifi cant component of this character. Open-mindedness, empathy, honesty, ethos, diligence, and solidarity should not just be “tags,” but rather essential truths and guiding principles that serve as a reminder of your moral code as you extend your wings and soar into the future. After graduating from ACS, Athens, you must map a new course and create your own vi sion. I sincerely hope you never give in to others’ at tempts to dissuade you from pursuing the goals that you truly desire in life. I sincerely hope you will not be so adamant in your demands for rights that you fail to fulfill your commitments. I hope you will keep in mind that what you say and do has consequences. I hope you have big goals! Aiming high and falling short are both acceptable outcomes; but, failing because you never tried is a waste of time. And always remember, in order to avoid regrets, dare to dream.
I hope you can laugh more. Find new challenges to overcome, uncharted lands to go to, and fresh faces to meet. I have faith that when you look back on your life, you will be proud of the kindness you showed oth ers, and the softness you noticed in their demeanor. Keep others in mind when you venture out into the world. You need to have some place in your heart where you can remember that your country, your family, and your friends depend on you. Keep ACS, Athens close to your heart. Maintain a growth mind set and treat others and yourself with respect! Keep in mind that in addition to being an individual, you are also a responsible citizen who needs to stay informed of what is happening in the world; be critical of the evidence, and always look for the truth.
As you are about to embark on the next stage of your life, one that I hope will be exciting and gratifying for you, it brings me great pleasure to speak to you, our graduating class of 2022.
As you enter a world that is always evolving, but also one that is a bit frightening, where nothing is truly secure, I sincerely hope you attempt to seize the lives that are rightfully yours. Your independence, willpow er, and perseverance will all be required for this. This implies that you will surely experience disappoint ments and encounter moments when life may feel unjust. Adventure, thrill, wisdom, and mystery are all promised by these experiences. These are the kinds of opportunities that may confound people of all ages, but you may bewilder yourself the most because you may travel to places you have never been before.
Teenagers today have the freedom to live casually, hap pily, and without concern about the future. Whereas young adults must make decisions that could alter their course in life. Adolescents must balance ambi tion with passivity, cause and effect, and action with reaction. Young adulthood entails being free to make decisions, being morally and legally autonomous, and being ethically and consciously responsible. Your ex periences and education during the first 18 years of your lives have shaped your character, and it is this character that is now gradually paving the route into maturity. Never lose sight of the fact that the set of
Keep your integrity complete while you confront and handle the inevitable changes. Keep your work ethic, morals, intellectual curiosity, and, most importantly, your humility intact. I am sure that when you look back on your life, you will realize that it was one filled with joy! Best of wishes to you all!
by Chris Perakis Evloyias, Learning Support & Testing Center Consultant The Institute of ACS Athens
It seems like yesterday that we were planning with a dynamic and dedicated dream Team for the long-awaited ACS Athens Grand Reunion. The an ticipation from a two-year wait due to Covid was fi nally over, and we finally came together, from near and far, for an unforgettable event to be remembered for many years to come. The reflections and com ments from the 300-plus attendees continue to bring out strong emotions from all the fun we had reminisc ing about our ACS Athens stories told during the twoday celebrations.
The team effort of the organizing team made it all possible by ensuring this was an unforgettable event. The teacher/student art exhibit, the buffet dinner, to ken gifts, and the live music organized by an alumnus with many alumni performing still have us dream ing of that night and remembering how ACS Athens brings everyone together. We danced, we laughed, we reminisced, we thought of all those no longer among us, and overall we had an unforgettable evening.
A touching moment, one of many, was the standing ovation given to the retiree teachers there. Each retir ee felt the warmth of every one of their students and was delighted to hear about their accomplishments and memories of how they touched the students’ hearts by caring.
On behalf of the organizing committee, I would like to thank everyone for contributing with their time, donating items for the silent auction, providing food and beverage for the previous day’s gathering, and just making the impossible possible!
May these unforgettable moments and events we ex perience at ACS Athens continue to grow and be with us always! We are ACS Athens! We are a family!
I quote Dr. Pelonis’ remarks, “The ACS Athens 2022 Grand reunion may now be over, but the memories will continue to warm and inspire our hearts for many years to come”
I am looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!
ETHOS • FALL 2022