Director of Christian Education Report Annual Meeting January 2012
Presently the Church School (2011-2012) consists of 77 children and 12 regular teachers. Our staff members are: Toddlers/Pat Harrison, – Preschool & Kindergarten/Suzanne Kopulos, Leah Aguilar, – Grade 1 & 2 / Cheryl Evangelopoulos & Lynn Betsanes, – Grades 3 / Maria Kopulos & Adolph Galinski, – Grades 4, 5&6/ Lynn Rizo & Mary Jo Werbiansky, - Grades 7 & 8 (Junior High) /Aristea Zekios, - High School/Sub Deacon John Segvich & Theo Poulos. Angela Tatooles heads the “healthy snack” program.
• The Pre-Lenten Children's Retreat was held on March 6th. The theme was "Forgiveness" and WOW!! Was it a really neat day in the church school wing! We had 58 children attend, which is the most we have had in attendance since I have been directing. We had 4 classrooms set up with activities for the kids, and they all happily rotated through each station to learn about Forgiveness, how to express that you are sorry, how to say you are sorry to each other and to our Lord. We ended the day with Forgiveness Vespers, which was perfect.
• This year we added Diane Nickolaou who reads to the children (K-3 grades). She is a very nice addition to the program and the kids love it!
• The last day of church school was Sunday, May 22. We focused the day on a project writing Resurrection cards to Japanese Orthodox that were affected by the Tsunami. Anthea had a very well done, educational piece on the aftermath and how many churches we have over there. There are 30,000 Orthodox in Japan. We then ended with an ice cream social. The perfect way to end the school year!
• The summer was spent preparing for a new church school that began with refreshing start. We planned to use technology for the first time ever in the classroom!! Our TV's will allow us to use ipads and laptops to teach lessons and use pod casts.... from the INTERNET!!
• The first day of classes was 9/11/11.
• WI-Fi has been added to the church so that we can add technology to our teaching program. The High School and Jr. High School classed have already experienced learning via pod casts.
• Anthea Huisman has resigned from being icon lady. We would like to find someone to fill this ministry.
• Cheryl and I traveled to Antiochian Village for the Church School conference on 11/4-11/6. We had 6 classes we attended (each of us) over 2 days.
• December 4th we had a visit from St. Nicholas.
• There is a new item being implemented into our classrooms "Let Us Attend". It is a lesson on the Gospel reading for every Sunday and discussion, coloring page (for pre-school to 2nd grade), role play (narrative for 3-4th grade), and this starts each class off for 10 minutes. Parents may see the lesson come home with their children. It is through the Antiochian Education Dept that we can print these every Sunday. A wonderful tool we learned about at the conference. It is imperative our children, understand the Gospel, it's teaching, and to read the bible. More to come on this focus soon.
• Church School Christmas program was held Dec 18. The kids were a smash and the teachers pulled it all off! What a nice day it was, indeed God looks over us, and gives us endless ideas for these creative programs.
• A teachers meeting is scheduled for Feb 12, 2012. I need to discuss and have an open table about the things I learned at the Conference in November (Antiochian Village).
Upcoming Plans for 2012:
To meet the spiritual education and social needs of our youth in order to keep our Church School program viable and growing.
• With a new year right around the corner, we are looking to upgrade our ED Wing with AV things.... projector, TV's, ridding our use of VCR tapes, and implementing laptops (we need to purchase). Having technology added, laptops, printers, projectors and TV's mounted in every room, would be great. This will allow us to teach using more visuals, which children are used to in everyday school. This does require us teachers to spend more time planning lessons. It is worth it, as we have almost all seen what using technology does for the interaction of our children (in learning).
• We also see the need to have an Education Office (that stores our library of books as well as AV materials).It would be great to have this for us to store things safely and for us to be able to have our own area to use with a color printer! That way we can print our lessons from the internet when we get to church and have what we need in one location. I stress this, as then we will be able to use all our materials in one central location instead of being jumbled in with other parish items.
• We are in need of a "social director", at minimum, for our children, for high school aged children. Someone (or a group of parents) that can plan and execute social, community, and mission events that are held by St. Luke's and outside of St. Luke community events.
• Lastly we hope and pray we will find a new person to teach our children monthly about icons, as Anthea has stepped down from that position. It is vital for our children to learn as much about Icons and the lives of Saints.