Annunciation Orthodox School The Delphian FALL 2018 The Delphian is sent to alumni, current and alumni parents, grandparents, and friends of the school who wish to receive it.
Letter from the Editor
Strategic Plan 2017-2022
On Target: Second Step, A Social-Emotional Curriculum
Get to Know Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni Heather Haas Emily Benton
Summer Trip to Spain
Exciting, New Curriculum Design Thinking Explorations in Coding
What a Difference Space Makes
The Effects of Helicopter Parenting
Olga Flores Scholarship
AOS at Home From Our Kitchen to Yours Max’s Movie List Go Dolphins Coloring Activity
Cover: Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni, Head of School, Ellen B. ‘25, Marion C. ‘25, Anderson C., ‘25, Quinn S. ‘25, Nana B. ‘24
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Dear AOS Families,
Letter from the Editor
I am pleased and honored to introduce myself as the first-ever Director of Communications at Annunciation Orthodox School. As such, I have also assumed the role of Senior Editor for the school magazine, The Delphian. When reviewing the proposed job description for this position, one of the tasks I was most excited for was creating and managing The Delphian. School magazines are often a challenge, and I find the opportunity to refresh the vision and strategy for the magazine highly energizing. The direction I’ve decided to take The Delphian in is one that highlights and celebrates the many different voices within AOS. From families, to faculty, to school administrators, there are a wide variety of perspectives on what makes AOS the unique, family-centered community that it is. With each edition of The Delphian, you’ll see a strong focus on how we are securing those key characteristics but also on what keeps us relevant in a highly competitive market. The Delphian will follow several key themes, all guided by the current strategic plan, and contain a feature article called “On Target.” Each “On Target” article will speak to one of the strategic imperatives and expand upon the work being done to achieve that directive. With a new Head of School and three new members of the Administrative Team, there are a lot of newcomers in our community. To ensure the familial quality of AOS, introductions from all sides are in order. Within this issue, you’ll find several members of our community highlighted so we can all begin to get to know each other a little better. The backbone of AOS is the high-level academic standard. As AOS remains competitive academically and as new researched-based industry innovations unfold, The Delphian will report on how AOS is incorporating them into the school’s curriculum. Furthermore, as a private institution, we rely on contributed dollars to operate successfully. In appreciation to all of our donors and community members, The Delphian will show the exciting ways in which the school is putting your donations to work. Lastly, and perhaps my favorite addition, is what I am calling “AOS at Home.” AOS is a diverse institution in an even more diverse city. From varying faiths and cultural backgrounds to hidden interests and talents, “AOS at Home” celebrates the parts of our lives that we may not be privy to during daily interactions at school. “AOS at Home” allows for members of the community to share something special from their homes with the invitation for other families to try it in theirs. With that, I hope you enjoy the first issue of the re-envisioned The Delphian!
Director of Communications Have an idea for a story? Want to contribute something to AOS at Home? Feel free to contact the Communications Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. THE DELPHIAN I FALL 2018 1
Our Mission Annunciation Orthodox School, having grown from a ministry of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, celebrates the diverse and individual qualities of all children and their families. AOS provides a superior education in a secure and stimulating Christian environment which encourages the individual child to achieve academic, spiritual, emotional, social and physical excellence, and to become a responsible member of our society.
Lefkie Germanides ‘19, Madison S. ‘19, Alastair H. ‘19, Jordan K. ‘19, Sebastian V. ‘19
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AOS adopted a strategic plan in May 2017 that laid out the institutional goals for the next five years. Below, you will find a list of those strategic imperatives.
Mission and Diversity
Reaffirm our commitment to sustaining a strong and diverse school community based on the spiritual core, traditions, and culture of the Greek Orthodox Christian faith and heritage.
Campus Safety and Facilities Development
Update and refine the master plan for campus and facility improvements and additions.
Communication and Community
Improve communications school-wide, internally and externally, to augment transparency while celebrating the AOS community to all current and future constituents.
Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Evaluate the curriculum, its continuity, delivery, and effectiveness and the balance between traditional and innovative teaching.
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Faculty, Administration, & Staff Growth and Development Recruit, retain, evaluate, and reward faculty, administration, and staff talent so that we have the best employees possible for AOS.
Foster and grow the culture of giving at AOS to ensure future generations will benefit from the same high quality AOS experience.
Student Health/Wellness and Preparation for Life
Perpetuate and deepen an environment where all constituents (students, parents, and faculty/staff) recognize the importance of balance, self-advocacy, and resilience in the life of students at AOS.
Opposite Top: Sadie J. ‘27; Left: Mayuk S. ‘22, Luke R. ‘22, Cal K. ‘22, Ben M. ‘22; Top Left: Alice C. ‘26 and Alyssa S. ‘26; Top Right: Camille K. ‘27 and Joshua G. ‘27
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On Target: Second Step, A Social-Emotional Curriculum By Jacqueline Jaffe, Ph.D. and Ivy Ruths, Ph.D., LSSP
Annunciation Orthodox School is proudly “the school for hearts and minds.” As educators, we understand that unless we have our students’ hearts, we cannot reach their minds. This translates into the connections we make with our students and how we nurture them socially and emotionally as we challenge them academically to achieve their greatest potential. In an effort to strengthen and affirm this commitment, the AOS Board of Trustees adopted a five-year strategic plan in May 2017 that included “Student Health/Wellness and Preparation for Life” as one of the seven major focuses. As such, in August 2017, AOS hired two full-time psychologists, Drs. Jacqueline Jaffe and Ivy Ruths, to serve as Lower School and Middle School Counselors, respectively. Drs. Jaffe and Ruths have worked diligently to address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of the students, parents, faculty, and staff. This year, as point persons for the student health and wellness strategic imperative, they are continuing their work in fostering a culture of social and emotional wellness by addressing the rationales of this imperative: •
To preserve and enhance the positive and nurturing environment that fosters well-being and growth
To maximize personal, academic, physical, and spiritual growth and development
To reduce and manage stress and anxiety among all constituents
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An initial aim of this strategic imperative is to have a school-wide curriculum that encourages such important social-emotional skills such as grit, resilience, empathy, balance, perseverance, and leadership qualities. As a means to these ends, a special focus has been placed on the importance of a structured, integrated curriculum to support Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL is essential to the overall long-term success of our students. Having a strong social-emotional competency grants students the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to help them understand and manage emotions, to achieve goals, to make responsible decisions, to feel and show empathy, and to establish and maintain healthy relationships. It helps students build resilience, manage stress, improve interactions with peers, and gain confidence as learners. Research shows that SEL increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes toward school, reduces depression and stress, and, on average, improves achievement by 11 percent (Durlak et al., 2011). The five key skills of SEL are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Long-term benefits of high competency in SEL skills include an increase in readiness for postsecondary education, career success,
positive family and work relationships, better overall mental health, reduced criminal behavior, and engaged citizenship (Hawkins, Kosterman, Catalano, Hill, & Abbott, 2008; Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015). After diligent research and consideration, and in an effort to “formalize faculty and parent education to teach and model the skills of stress management and anxiety reduction,” AOS has adopted Second Step, a schoolwide SEL curriculum for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Second Step provides specific, age-appropriate instruction for SEL and focuses on developing skills for learning, empathy, emotional management, building and maintaining friendships, and problem solving. In addition to classroom lessons, Second Step also involves families through weekly Home Link activities. Second Step is recommended by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), which researches and rates evidence-based SEL curricula. Second Step has been evaluated in multiple randomized and quasi-experimental studies where students have been followed over the course of up to two years. According to CASEL, the evaluation of the Second Step outcomes indicates increased positive social behavior, reduced conduct problems, reduced emotional distress, and improved social and emotional skill performance.
Second Step will be fully implemented by the prekindergarten through eighth-grade teachers over the course of three years. Currently, Middle School students have started Second Step lessons in their advisory classrooms, and Lower School faculty will begin integrating the program after the Christmas holidays. Drs. Jaffe and Ruths anticipate a successful execution of this effort in compliance with goals set forward by the strategic plan, and they look forward to the feedback from families, faculty, and staff.
Want to know more? Log on to the portal and visit the Second Step Topic on the Counseling Connection page.
Left: David F. ‘19, Konnor A. ‘19, Charlie B. ‘19, Landon F. ‘19; Right: Jocelyn V. ‘22 and Maryn W. ‘22; Bottom: Richie H. ‘29 and Blair T. ‘29
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Get to Know Your Head of School
Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni What is your favorite hobby? Travel. I love experiencing different cultures and seeing the many wonders in our world. I have visited over fifty countries and am always looking forward to my next trip. What is your most marked characteristic? Calmness. I rarely get rattled, and even when I do, nobody around me knows it. Who is your favorite superhero? I would have to say Iron Man. I respect his ability to use intellect to put himself on a level playing field with many other Marvel characters who all have “unnatural” powers of some kind. Who is your favorite real-life hero? My mother. She has lived with multiple sclerosis most of her adult life and is also a cancer survivor. She raised my brother and me on her own and, in recent years, cared for my grandmother until she passed from Alzheimer’s disease. You would never know anything has been difficult from talking to her, though. Her constant desire to help others, her cheery disposition, and her positive outlook in the face of adversity is as heroic as it gets.
Why did you pursue a career in leadership and education? I believe there is no greater way to impact our world than through education. I went into leadership because I saw very early in my career the dramatic (positive or negative) impact that leaders have on schools. Without proper administrative support, teachers can’t thrive; and if teachers aren’t thriving, children can’t reach their potential. What is a personal rule that you never break? I am a stickler for being on time. If you are meeting me somewhere, you’ll probably find me there waiting when you arrive. What else should AOS families know about you? I am naturally an introvert. This often surprises people because I enjoy public speaking and have held very “social” positions for most of my career. While this makes me less aggressive about jumping into social situations, I really do love chatting; so please come say hi!
What is your motto? “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” I try to consistently remind myself of this. I also say it often enough that my students tend to know how strongly I feel about it. How did you earn your first dollar? When I was about seven years old, I picked all the dandelions out of my yard and put them into a bucket. I went door-to-door and tried to sell them to my neighbors. Nobody wanted to purchase these “beautiful, yellow flowers,” but several neighbors paid me to pick the dandelions from their yards. I was confused but was left with some money for the ice cream truck.
Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni, Head of School
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Get to Know Your Head of Middle School
Heather Haas Which living person do you most admire? I’d probably have to go with Neil deGrasse Tyson because he makes science both cool and accessible to the public. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? People probably get tired of me saying, “You know what would make that better? Sparkles!” What is your most marked characteristic? Compassion into action. Who are your favorite writers? I love to read mysteries and thrillers. Among many of my favorites are Tony Hillerman, Clive Cussler, Sue Grafton, and Michael Connelly. My favorite education blog is Cult of Pedagogy by Jennifer Gonzales. In the research world, Dacher Keltner is one of my heroes. I love to read his articles in Greater Good magazine, a publication by the Greater Good Science Center. What is your motto? “There is always some good to be found and always something for which to be grateful.” Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party? My family (so they could meet all the interesting people), Nolan Ryan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Jimmy Carter, Malala Yousafzai, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michelle Obama, John McCain, Pierce Brosnan, and Billy Joel. What quote do you live by? “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Above: Heather Haas, Head of Middle School; Opposite: Emily Benton, Director of Extended Day Center, and Daphne S. ‘25
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What is one thing you wish you had known when you were younger? “Be mindful. Be grateful. Be positive. Be true. Be kind.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart. I’m not sure I fully knew how important these things were until I was older.
Get to Know Your Director of Extended Day Center
What is your most treasured possession? My most treasured possession is a handmade bamboo fly-fishing rod that my dad single-handedly crafted for me. Growing up in Arkansas, I spent a lot of time outdoors hiking, fishing, and camping with my parents and two sisters. When my father began woodworking for a hobby, he decided to learn how to make bamboo fly rods and then gave one to each family member. It takes him around 140 hours to create one rod from 6 strips of bamboo shoots which he orders from China. I’ve been fly-fishing with my parents in Arkansas and Colorado many times and always love using this special bamboo rod that my dad made specifically for me. What is your motto? “Good. Better. Best. Never let it rest. Until your good is your better and better is your best!” After taking Gallup’s Strengthsfinder assessment, it came to me, as no surprise, that my number one strength is “Maximizer.” This strength really shines throughout my work here at AOS. I am always striving and on the lookout to take things from “good” to “great” by improving upon systems, operations, and program quality. I am very much looking forward to all that’s in store throughout the exciting year ahead! What item in your closet do you wear the most? White pants. Brave, I know, especially when working with three-and four-year-olds and their frequently uncapped markers.
important service to patrons. Not only did I acquire the necessary skills that could help to save a life, I also learned valuable lessons that have helped many of my future endeavors. I worked as a lifeguard every summer through high school and college. Shortly after graduating with my undergraduate degree, I became the Aquatics Program Coordinator at the Jewish Community Center of Houston.
How did you earn your first dollar? My first job was lifeguarding at the Racquet Club the summer after my sophomore year of high school. In the spring just before that very summer, my friends from the swim team and I went through lifeguard training. After many long hours, that truly did seem like an eternity at the time, we were honored to join the local aquatics workforce! I found that training and working as a lifeguard provided a great team environment and allowed me to provide an THE DELPHIAN I FALL 2018 11
Summer Trip to Spain
By Adam Georgandis
Last summer, fourteen students joined Mrs. Charles, Mrs. Condon, and Mr. Georgandis for a nine-day trip to Spain. With a goal of cultural and language immersion, the itinerary was ambitious. From sightseeing trips in Madrid, Toledo, and Barcelona to daily language immersion activities, this trip confirmed the power and importance of active, hands-on learning.
Language learning was constant and wide-ranging. Students worked in teams to design Spanish restaurants, participated in an interactive scavenger hunt, and cooked and dined in the homes of local madrileños. Each of these activities brought students into real, meaningful contact with the Spanish language and the Spanish people.
The trip began in Madrid, where sightseeing was a whirlwind of famous places and local flavor. Students visited the iconic Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, toured the centuries-old Palacio Real, and delved into the stunning collections of the Museo del Prado. They also experienced the city as locals do: exploring the progressive Barrio Chueca, sampling Spanish foods at a number of gastro-markets, and spending an unforgettable afternoon at the glorious Retiro Park.
The group was attuned to authentically local ways of life, and there was no room for shyness! A Sunday visit to the Mercado San Miguel found the elegant space bursting with life. Students spent an hour exploring the market, interacting with vendors and customers, and sampling a variety of Spanish delicacies. They used smartphones to record their experiences and then shared the results at a breezy, outdoor cafe.
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Above: AOS Students with Marta, language instructor; Opposite: AOS Students and Mr. Georgandis, 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher, at Park Guell in Barcelona
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After three full days in Madrid, the group traveled by bus to Toledo, a gorgeous medieval city. Once there, students wandered through narrow, winding streets while visiting the city’s Jewish Quarter, touring its massive Gothic cathedral, and taking in El Greco’s haunting masterpiece, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Later that day, the group returned to Madrid, where students witnessed the passion of Spanish flamenco and enjoyed a final dinner in the nation’s capital. The next morning, the group traveled by bullet train to Barcelona. Sightseeing in this stylish, Mediterranean city included a walking tour of the Barrio Gótico, a stroll down the tree-lined La Rambla, and a block of free time at the beach. Students also enjoyed a full day’s encounter with the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, visiting the hilly Park Guell, and the soaring Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. Language learning continued in Barcelona. Students visited an artist’s studio in the colorful Barrio El Raval, worked on a second round of video presentations, and dined in the homes of locals. The trip’s final language learning activity was perhaps the most meaningful. For this activity, the group traveled to a residential neighborhood far from the city’s tourist attractions. There, we visited an after-school center that provides services to a wide range of local families. AOS students learned about the center’s work, interacted with local children, and participated in after-school activities all while practicing their Spanish. Throughout the trip, we were accompanied by Patricia, our tour director, and Marta, our language instructor. We could not have asked for better guides! Both were enthusiastic and absolutely brimming with a heartfelt passion for their nation’s history and culture. Patricia and Marta spent meaningful time with each student. They encouraged the students to speak Spanish freely and confidently, worrying less about the specifics, and focusing more on the essentials. Careful listening was crucial. Most students found that even a partial understanding of another speaker’s words was enough to sustain a meaningful conversation. This authentic, hands-on learning was truly empowering for our students.
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Emmanuel S. ‘18 put it this way: “The most challenging part about using a foreign language is working up the courage to actually use it. Once I started talking, I found that it came more naturally than I thought it would.” Matthew H. ‘18 agreed, saying, “Over the entire trip, I felt my Spanish improved a lot.” The group enjoyed other aspects of the trip as well. Spanish cuisine was a real highlight, and our students were remarkably willing to try new tastes. As the days passed, each student developed favorites. Nick S. ‘18 said, “Tortilla de patata was my favorite food because it was the perfect combination of eggs and potatoes.” Luke S. ‘19 favored chicken paella and Spanish chorizo. Our tour guides were always happy to arrange meals that met a wide range of dietary needs; gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan dishes were just as delicious as their more traditional Spanish counterparts. Parents were pleased with the experiences their students had in Spain. Michelle M. mentioned that she and her daughter, Isabel M. ‘18, re-created some of Isabel’s favorite Spanish dishes in their home kitchen. Barbara Held shared that her son, Matthew H. ‘18, enjoyed many of the trip’s most interactive moments. “Shopping in local markets and having dinner with local families were special favorites,” she said. Mrs. Held added, “I highly recommend the experience to future
seventh-and eighth-grade students at AOS.” The trip was a terrific success. Our agenda was chock-full of activities, and every traveler found a way to shine. Some students were especially ambitious in their use of the Spanish language; others used strong organizational skills, leading the way during group activities. And let us not forget the two particularly brave students who confidently navigated Barcelona’s cavernous Metro stations; without them, we might still be looking for the exit!
Opposite Top: AOS Students, Mr. Georgandis, 8th Grade Language Arts Instructor, Patricia, tour manager, and Nacho, host, in Madrid; Opposite Bottom: Zulema Georgandis with local students in Barcelona; Above: AOS Students with local hosts in Barcelona
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Exciting, New Curriculum Design Thinking In the Design Thinking enrichment, instructor Jennifer Hockless covers units of circuitry, mechanics, physical computing, and Arduino projects with her students. The course is project-based with elements of problem solving and critical thinking infused into the curriculum. The design thinking and engineering design process is used consistently to aid students in identifying a problem or need and brainstorming their solutions. Offered: 1st Trimester to 7th grade students
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“Students will discover how computers can help turn their ideas into creations they can share with their friends and family. We will also explore how computers and technology affect our everyday lives and how computer science can help us improve the world.” Mohamed Awad Instructor and IT Manager
Coming Up! Explorations in Coding In the Explorations in Coding enrichment, students will learn foundational concepts and skills of programming and computer science. Regardless of background or prior experience, the course is designed to be fun, engaging, relevant, collaborative, and accessible for all. Students will build their understanding of programming and computer science through explorations, practices, and projects and will create animations, graphic designs, and interactive programs. Students will also learn how computer science impacts the world around them and how it relates to their own interests and experiences. Offered: 2nd and 3rd Trimester to 7th grade students
Opposite Top: Macy M. ‘20 and Janie T. ‘20; Opposite Bottom: Jennifer Hockless, Design Thinking instructor, Kamiya B. ‘20, Eleni G. ‘20, Sophia F. ‘20, Sophia M. ‘20, Janie T. ‘20, and Macy M. ‘20; Above: Mohamed Awad, Explorations in Coding instructor
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What a Difference Space Makes In our new Jones Center and Lower School buildings, classrooms benefit from light and space. Floor to ceiling windows maximize natural light; and new moveable desks, tables, chairs, and other furnishings allow space to be utilized for all types of learning. Whether students are engaged in whole class, small group, or individual instruction, there is a space and set up that is just right. Jones Center houses furniture designed specifically for our youngest learners and encourages learning through play and inquiry. Spaces are used to encourage natural curiosity, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving. Common spaces allow for display, performance, and celebration. The space, the light, and the furnishings allow the space to be transformed from classroom, to lecture hall, to theater, to museum, to ... the possibilities are endless. The new science and Eureka Labs allow students to explore and extend learning with hands-on inquiry and investigation. STEM and STEAM activities spill out from the classrooms, the art room, and the music room, culminating in meaningful interdisciplinary projects and authentic learning experiences. This authentic learning continues in the rooftop garden where students engage in planting and tending to the garden. They learn about the life cycle, ecology, dependency and interdependency, and many environmental and life science issues. AOS has always been filled with smiling students who are eager to get to school to meet friends and engage in learning; but with the new space, the smiles are broader, and the hugs last longer. The Jones Center and Lower School building, the playgrounds, pavilion, and green space have added extra areas for our students to explore while developing inquiring minds and compassionate hearts. 18 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL
By Sharon Corbett
A Note from the Campaign Co-Chair At AOS, students are taught many “words to live by,” but perhaps the most appropriate one at this time is “gratitude.” We are so thankful to all of the donors who made the new facilities possible and whose support of AOS has been so extraordinary! Seeing the new buildings being utilized by our students and faculty is so much fun. Viewing the many ways in which the new spaces help AOS deliver the “excellence” that is a hallmark of the AOS mission is truly exciting. I have heard it said that the best way to express thanks to the gift giver is to enjoy the gift, and at AOS, the gratitude and enjoyment are felt the moment you step on campus. Kris McGee Co-Chair of Carry the Torch Capital Campaign
Opposite Top: Chloe C. ‘24, Samantha R. ‘24, Quincy S. ‘24; Opposite Bottom: Evan P. ‘25 and Nadia T. ‘25; Top: Mrs. McKenzie’s 1st Grade Class; Bottom: Vivienne T. ‘29
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The Effects of Helicopter Parenting “Helicopter Parents.” “Tiger Moms.” “The Blackhawk Parent.” Many of us would never consider ourselves to be these kinds of parents. Yet, we may find ourselves elbow-deep in glitter glue for our first grader’s 100th Day of School t-shirt, working to bring to fruition our ideas instead of their own. Or, we may find ourselves spending our entire weekend (and too much money) on our sixth grader’s Periodic Table of Elements project. Parental involvement and cooperation with our children’s school and teachers is necessary. It sends a message to our children that we are accessible, supportive, and available to help guide them when school and life are overwhelming. It is important, however, to keep in mind that the way in which we support our children might send a different message altogether. For instance, when we send our eighth grader’s teacher an email questioning a grade, we are inadvertently sending our teen the message that we are not sure they can handle the situation on their own. It’s normal to want to protect our children from difficult experiences such as feeling embarrassment, discomfort, or anxiety; but at what cost? Are we sending the message that we are not confident in our child’s ability to solve the problem or bounce back? The Oxford Living Dictionary defines helicopter parenting as “a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.” Isn’t it normal to be invested and interested in our child’s success? Of course! We love our children and love seeing them happy, but it is not our job to ensure they are happy every minute of every day. It is our job to raise resilient, ready, responsible adults who are good friends, good employees, good partners, and one day, great parents. Are we playing Superman or Super Mom to a kid that can likely “save” himself if given the opportunity? We need to be mindful about where to draw the line in 20 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL
By Jacqueline Jaffe, Ph.D. and Ivy Ruths, Ph.D., LSSP
According to psychologist and author, Dr. Madeline Levine, there are three ways we might be overparenting and unwittingly causing psychological harm to our children
When we do for our kids what they can already do for themselves When we do for our kids what they can almost do for themselves
When our parenting behavior is motivated by our own ego
Dr. Levine’s research suggests that when we parent this way, we deprive our children the opportunity to be creative, to problem solve, to develop coping skills, to build resilience, to figure out what makes them happy, and to figure out who they are.
allowing our children’s successes and their failures to be their own. It is every parent’s responsibility to raise adults who can successfully and confidently navigate their world. Sometimes the motivation for our “excessive” or “overprotective” parenting is not our child’s discomfort but our own anxieties about who we are as parents and how others will judge us in that role. It is true; there is no manual for how to be a parent. We will most certainly make mistakes along the way, and when we do, we can model for our children important character traits, such as grit and resilience, accountability, and learning from our mistakes. It can take a shift in perspective; but, do we want our children to strive for the unattainable goal of perfection, or do we want them to learn to thrive through and cope well with the hard and messy parts of being human? While our insecurities and our intense love for our children might lead to saving behaviors, research shows that this style of helicopter parenting is negatively related to a child’s psychological well-being and could lead to an increase in anxiety, depression, and unhealthy coping behaviors, such as the recreational use of pain pills in college-aged children (LeMoyne & Buchanan, 2011). Helicopter parenting has also been associated with poorer emotional functioning, decision-making, and academic functioning once children reach college age (Luebbe, Mancini, Kiel, et al., 2016). When we deprive our children of the opportunity to fail, we are essentially depriving them of a human experience necessary for being able to successfully navigate the world. We leave them helpless in a world in which things do not always go according to plan; they will need to know how to get back up and keep going. Our children deserve to independently own their successes, to learn and grow
from their failures, and to go into the world with confidence. In the meantime, we can be their confidant, offer advice and support, encourage them, and provide unconditional love for when they fall and get back up again.
So, how do we know if we are overparenting? Ask yourself the following questions:
+ + + + + + + +
Are you dressing your preschooler instead of giving them the opportunity to dress themselves? Do you let your child win every game he or she plays with you? Do you pack your child’s backpack for him or her? Are you in it to “win it” on Parent Lap Day? When your child forgets his homework at home, do you bring it to school for him? When your child has conflicts with friends, do you call the other children’s parents to “help” them work it out? If your child needs to make up a test, do you email the teacher to schedule it? Are you doing your middle schooler’s project instead of playing a supportive, “coaching” role?
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Olga Flores Scholarship
By Richard Petronella
It was 1988, and as their twin daughters prepared to enter kindergarten, Olga Flores and her husband Richard Petronella searched for a school that would provide a good education in a loving and caring environment. In their search, they discovered Annunciation Orthodox School and determined it was the right choice. They enrolled Georgina and Leanna who would remain at AOS through the sixth grade. Although it looked different than it does now, the warm and nurturing spirit of the school remains the same. Georgina remembers celebrating with the third-grade teachers after she finished the SRA kit, playing competitive rounds of Science Jeopardy with Ms. Murphy, and romping in a rare Texas snowfall after the principal dismissed all the classes so the students could play outside. Leanna remembers water balloon tosses at Olympics, playing four square in the old, blue-tiled courtyard, and how Mrs. Utley and Mrs. Guffey encouraged her love of reading and writing. Both Richard and Olga were active within AOS. Olga was an enthusiastic advocate for her little pony-tailed twins, and Richard served as a member of the Board of Trustees. During his time on the board, he was instrumental in the acquisition of the property where the current school buildings are now located. Leanna would go on to attend Harvard University, and Georgina attended Georgetown University. Sadly, in early 2005, Olga was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away in September of the same year. As Olga’s friends and families wanted to honor her life and her love for education, a scholarship fund was established in her name to benefit girls wanting to attend AOS. The fund, now valued at over $100,000, has provided scholarships to three girls (and counting) at AOS. 22 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL
Since their college graduation, Leanna has earned a MFA in creative writing and a PhD in English. Her first book of poetry will be published in October 2019. Georgina, who is following in her mother’s footsteps, is currently working towards a graduate degree in social work. If you would like more information or are interested in contributing to the Olga Flores Scholarship, please contact Jill Buja in the Advancement Office at email@example.com
Above: Olga Flores with daughters Georgina and Leanna Petronella.
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FEBRUARY 23, 2019 AT THE REVAIRE
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AG OC Join us!
annunciation greek orthodox cathedral centennial celebration
November 9-11, 2018 www.agoc.org
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Tell Others about AOS! The most effective method for communicating the AOS story and attracting new families is you! Did you know? The key entry points into AOS are: • Delphi • Prekindergarten • Kindergarten • 5th Grade • 6th Grade Help us spread the word about AOS by inviting families in your circles to come and see what we have to offer! Have a family in mind? Encourage them to attend an Admissions tour or open house.
Upcoming Admissions Dates November 11 Middle School Open House December 15 Application Deadline February 2 Testing and Materials Deadline
Reed Owen M. ‘28, Everett T. ‘28, Michael O. ‘28, Margot L. ‘28
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AOS at Home Try any of these activities at home? Be sure to share your photos with the Communications Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ava C. ‘24 and Sophie P. ‘24
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From Our Kitchen to Yours
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Matzah Ball Soup TO MAKE MATZAH BALLS 4 eggs 1 tsp salt 4 tbsp canola oil 2 tsp baking powder 4 tbsp water or broth Mix ingredients together. Be careful not to overmix. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. Longer is ok, too!
NOW MAKE YOUR SOUP 1/2 of a bone-in chicken breast with skin 1 yellow onion - chopped 2 cloves garlic - diced 2-3 large carrots - chopped 1 lb package of pre-cut butternut squash 2 quarts of low-sodium chicken broth 1 bunch of dill Salt Pepper Canola Oil
The Bernstein-Hinojosa Family
Lightly oil bottom of large soup pot. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breast. Place chicken breast skin side down over medium heat to brown. Flip and brown the other side. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and carrots. Cook for a few more minutes. Add butternut squash, salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/3 bunch of dill. Add chicken broth. Allow to simmer until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken. Once cooled, shred or cut into chunks. Set aside. (I discard the skin, but up to you.) Once vegetables are soft, use hand blender to blend thoroughly. Consistency should be runny thicker than a pure broth but not a stew. Add ½ quart of water. Turn up heat until soup boils. Make palm-size balls with the matzah mix in your hands and place into soup. Once all the balls are formed and in the soup, cover and keep at a simmer for 30 min. Chop remaining dill. Add it and the chicken to the soup. Serve.
Left: Rafi H. ‘24; Right: Elizabeth B., Aaron H., Rafi H. ‘24, and Max H. ‘28;
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Max’s Movie List Max Weimmer is a new member of the AOS faculty. He currently serves as the sixth-and seventhgrade religion teacher. An alum of AOS, he could not be more excited to be back. His background is in theatre, but he has always been fascinated by movies. In fact, his love of drama stems from his lifelong obsession with film. Listed below is a list of some of Max’s favorite holiday films. As we approach the holiday season, he encourages AOS families to watch some of them as they always help him get into the holiday spirit.
HALLOWEEN E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) (PG)
I have loved this movie since I was a young child and watching it now still brings me so much joy.
Casper (1995) (PG)
Who doesn’t love a friendly ghost?
By Max Weimmer
THANKSGIVING A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973) (G)
Every time I see a Charlie Brown holiday movie on television, I try to watch it. When I was in sixth grade here at AOS, we did a production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” and I played Pigpen. My preparation for that role involved going outside and rolling around in the dirt.
CHRISTMAS Elf (2003) (PG)
Elf is probably my favorite holiday movie. Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf never fails to make me smile and laugh.
The Santa Clause (1994) (PG)
This is another Christmas movie I loved as a kid. The sequels weren’t my favorite, but the first one still holds a special place in my heart.
Home Alone (1990) (PG)
A Christmas classic - what else is there to say?
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) (PG) Max Weimmer ‘08
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I remember watching this film in class many years ago, and for some reason, it has always stuck with me.
Carefully tear page from magazine.
2 Color and decorate to your heart’s desire. 3 Bring to the next Spirit Game to cheer on the Dolphins!
Senior Editor Isabelle Dom Graphic Design Danielle Garbouchian
Photos Courtesy of
Meredith Flaherty, Lynn Lane, the Bernstein-Hinjojosa Family, Richard Petronella, and AOS Faculty and Staff Special thanks to Karen Craft, Adam Georgandis, Jeri Lodato, and Marian Rosse
ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM Head of School Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni Director of Extended Day Center Emily Benton Director of Advancement Jill Buja Head of Early Childhood & Lower School Sharon Corbett Director of Communications Isabelle Dom Assistant to the Head of School Debbie Elam Assistant Head of Lower School Kelley Elliott Director of Information Technology Patrick Foye Director of Curriculum & Instructional Support Alisa Eng Head of Middle School Heather Haas Director of Finance & Operations Bryant Richardson Assistant Head of Middle School Roxanne Szumilas Director of Admissions Rob Wise
Elizabeth P. ‘26, Alyssa S. ‘26, Sabrina L. ‘26, Harrison R. ‘26, Henson B. ‘26, Ian B. ‘26
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The Delphian ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL 3600 YOAKUM BOULEVARD HOUSTON, TEXAS 77006-4240 713.470.5600 aoshouston.org 36 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL