Languages Department
Learning Differences Conference 2013

ACS Athens Colloquium 2016


"New knowledge means changing; moving toward the unfamiliar and the unpredictable"
- Peggy Pelonis - Dean, Student Affairs

Dear Colleagues, Honorable Guests:

On behalf of the ACS Athens Board of Trustees, parents, students, faculty, staff and administration, it is with great excitement that we invite you to attend the ACS Athens Colloquium on April 21 - 22, 2016.

At the Colloquium we will share new educational knowledge with school teachers, administrators, policymakers and parents from around the globe, celebrating the culmination of a two-year process completed by the entire ACS Athens professional staff as part of the Middle States Association’s (MSA) "Sustaining Excellence" protocol for re-accreditation.

ACS Athens is proud to have been selected as one of the first schools in the world to participate in this new accreditation protocol.

A continually changing student body mandates that teaching and learning are dynamic processes open to change:

"Sustaining Excellence," says Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, President of ACS Athens, "is a dynamic approach, at the heart of which lies improving student learning.  Our challenge is finding the optimal way for students to acquire 21st century skills and ways of learning while we continue attaining excellence."


For the past two years, working to create the best learning environment for their students, the teachers of ACS Athens have expanded the definition of their professional responsibilities to include being reflective practitioners, engaged researchers and active members of collaborative professional learning teams.  The desired outcome has been to improve student learning and create engaged and caring global citizens who can contribute to the greater good of families, schools, communities, countries, and the world.

The areas of focus identified for school-wide research are:

  1. Best fit; programs within the school as well as higher education institutions
  2. Writing to think and learning across disciplines
  3. Teaching mathematics conceptually
  4. Teaching ESL/EFL holistically
  5. i2Flex methodology: the ACS Athens model of blended learning
  6. Delivering Learning Support Programs through professional partnerships
  7. Collaborative Learning Communities (CLC) to support research and professional development


We look forward to having you with us at this event!


Stefanos Gialamas, Ph.D.
Ms. Mary-Ann Augoustatos
Mr. Steve Medeiros
Ms. Peggy Pelonis
Accreditation Coordinators

ACS Athens Colloquium PROGRAM

Program of Events

View or click to download the Colloquium Program...  (please be patient while program is downloaded)

ACS Athens Colloquium GREETINGS


I would like to welcome you to this historical moment for ACS Athens.Suheil H. Sabbagh

These are the final two days of a long process that celebrate several years of hard work and commitment by our faculty, as they bring the outcomes of their Action Research work to this Colloquium in the many presentations scheduled.

ACS Athens was selected as one of the first international schools in the world to be granted re-accreditation with the "Sustaining Excellence" protocol.   Being given the opportunity for re-accreditation by MSA through this protocol attests to the innovation in teaching and learning at ACS Athens which has been evident and constant over the years.

As Chairman of the Board, I am delighted that we are able to experience and celebrate such an accomplishment during my tenure.   I am proud of our students, parents, faculty, staff, administration as well as the entire community, for their dedication and hard work in arriving at the moment of acknowledgement of our efforts for educational excellence.

Again, congratulations to everyone!



Suheil H. Sabbagh
Board of Trustees

Innovation in Education Knows No Borders, No Time, And No Limits
“τα πάντα ρει καί ουδέν μένει” 1 - Heraclitus

Dr. Stefanos Gialamas

After serving for more than two decades in a variety of Higher Education institutions in the United States and Greece, I have held the belief that the creation of “new knowledge” was not only the charge of higher educational institutions, but that research and creativity was also necessary in JK-12 institutions.   I refused to accept that educators in Elementary and Secondary institutions are not capable of creating “new knowledge”, developing new paradigms and establishing and implementing cutting edge methodologies.  Thus, when I joined the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS Athens) in 2005, it was with the goal of putting this belief into practice.

In response to the global quest for educational reform, the ACS Athens educational community joins forces with the mission to synthesize, present, and share the components of a new educational paradigm that aspires to revolutionizing learning.

This Colloquium manifests extensively the theoretical framework of how an academic institution models a new pathway for meaningful learning, and also advances the sufficient and necessary conditions that must be in place for the successful implementation of such model.  This is done by connecting the pieces outlined above, and creating the thread that runs between the larger educational arena and ACS Athens, with this “new knowledge” being communicated to all educational institutions at all levels.

As the purpose of education is to successfully prepare students for the future, we cannot, therefore, continue educating them in ways that address education and the market needs of the past.  The world has changed exponentially in ways that are not always easy to understand.  Therefore, to accurately prepare students for the future, a new trajectory of education is urgently needed.   We call it the Global Morfosis Paradigm (gMp), which was organically developed by the ACS Athens community of learners and addresses this need through being an authentic, unbounded and exciting educational paradigm, educating students for complex and ambiguous future needs.  Implementing the gMp provides students with the inspiration to develop the wisdom to transform their educational experience into social, economic, environmental, intellectual and ethical resources to improve their lives, but most importantly the lives of less privileged students across the globe.

The Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools observes and reflects on this authentic educational trajectory which ACS Athens is following and is the reason it selected ACS Athens to be one of the first K-12 academic Institutions in the world to have Action Research as part of the higher-level accreditation “Sustaining Excellence” protocol.  This protocol, in addition to the requirements to meet and exceed the 12 standards of accreditation, required an Action Research component by the entire ACS Athens community and especially, our faculty.  The ACS Athens Action Research question is the following:   “With the characteristics of the current student body, what is the appropriate curriculum, faculty professional development and teaching and learning methodology needed to achieve 95% “best fit” college placement?”.   The results of this Action Research will be shared in a variety of modalities, over the next two days, by our faculty and staff.

I hope you will find the “Sustaining Excellence” Colloquium meaningful, insightful and one which might inspire you to adopt, modify or create your own new pathway in learning.



Stefanos Gialamas, Ph.D


Video Broadcast

Broadcasts from the Theater (Thurs. April 21 @14:00 / Fri. April 22 @9:30)

The live broadcast channel is no longer active!

For the broadcasts from the Theater please see detailed schedule of events...



Colloquium Media

Enjoy scenes from the Colloquium in this photo gallery...

View videos related to the Colloquium, including many interviews, in this playlist...

Stay tuned for more videos of presentations, interviews and other Colloquium events in the forthcoming days...


MSA Accreditation

What is Accreditation

(Below text was taken directly from: The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools website (

peer to peer tutoring Since the turn of the 20th century, accreditation has had a major impact on American education, with Middle States Association among the pioneers in the field.  Today it is a concept that few people understand and yet one from which many could benefit.

At its inception, accreditation responded to the public demand for improved quality and greater accountability for schools serving society’s needs.   The U.S. Department of Education – describes approved accrediting organizations such as Middle States as a “reliable authority as to the quality of education.” Accreditation is an external, objective validation of school quality and student achievement that fosters continuous school improvement.

Profile of Middle States – Accredited Institution

  • Adheres to the Middle States Standards for Accreditation;
  • Uses its mission, beliefs, and goals as the basis for easily decision-making;
  • Operates in the public interest and in accordance with ethical practice;
  • Accepts responsibility for the level of performance of its students;
  • Remains committed to continuous improvement in student learning and to its capacity to produce the levels of learning desired and expected by its community;
  • Operates in a collegial and collaborative way with all of its stakeholders;
  • Sustains its focus on implementing recommendations, addressing monitoring issues and correcting stipulations that may be part of its notification of accreditations and
  • Fulfills its maintenance requirements to the Commission.

Benefits of Accreditation

Involvement in an on-going accreditation protocol recognizes achievement and fosters and facilitates on-going school improvement.

Accreditation provides a means for public accountability by:

  • Validating the integrity of a school’s program and student transcripts. Assuring that the school’s purposes are appropriate and accomplished through a viable educational program.
  • Assuring that the school’s purposes are appropriate and accomplished through a viable educational program.
  • Justifying the faith and resources others place in the school.


  • Provides a systematic process that requires a school to justify its existence, establish a vision of its future, and determine specific objectives to realize that vision.
  • Reveals information that serves as a sound basis for school or district improvement, strategic planning, restructuring, and staff development.
  • Takes a holistic approach, examining the entire school philosophy and goals, its community, programs and services, facilities and financial stability.
  • Provides the means to manage change through regular assessment, planning, implementation, and reassessment.
  • Helps schools/districts establish priorities for improvement by using comprehensive, research-based needs assessments, rather than faddish approaches to improvement.
  • Requires the establishment and implementation of a multi-year improvement plan based upon the school’s vision of the future.
  • Provides an excellent growth experience for staff, who participates on volunteer visiting teams to evaluate other schools.

Accreditation builds positive community and stakeholder relations by:

  • Providing opportunities to emphasize the positive and demonstrate the strength and effectiveness of the school.
  • Broadening the staff view of community expectations and fostering closer school and community collaboration.
  • Articulating and communicating opportunities between school levels and among stakeholder groups.
ACS Athens Colloq. and Sustaining Excellence Protocol

Sustaining Excellence Protocol and the ACS Athens Colloquium 2016

What is Sustaining Excellence Protocol?

According to the Middle School Association of Colleges and Schools, the Sustaining Excellence Protocol provides an accreditation protocol option for schools that can demonstrate:

  • Their efficacy, over time, in producing the levels of student performance that are desired and expected by their community of stake holders;
  • Are recognized as what Doug Reeves calls “leading schools are those schools that are achieving high levels of student performance, have an excellent understanding of the necessary and antecedents for those results, and are likely to continue achieving those high results over time.”

This Protocol has a two-stage process:

Stage One: Accreditation Standards Review

  • Philosophy & Mission
  • Governance & Leadership
  • School Improvement Planning
  • Finances
  • Facilities
  • School Climate & Organization
  • Health & Safety
  • Educational Programs
  • Assessment and Evidence of Student Learning
  • Student Services
  • Student Life & Activities
  • Information Technology

This process was completed and re-accreditation was granted in Spring, 2015.

Stage Two: Action Research

The second phase of The Sustaining Excellence Protocol was to have the ACS Athens Planning Team, comprised of representatives of all school contingencies meet to identify an Action Research Main Question to serve as focus of school-wide research into best practice and action research projects conducted by all faculty members.

The Main Question:


  1. Our current student body (demographics, abilities, talents, skills, learning needs, language fluency, family background, etc...)
  2. Our curriculum with options (American Philosophy of Education and HMH);
  3. Our teaching and learning philosophy (student centered);
  4. Our faculty (US, local, 2/3 year, long-term)

Can we continue to accomplish our mission and assure that every student graduates and enters the “best-fit” post-secondary institution of learning?

Based on collaborative analysis and review, the Planning Team identified seven areas of focus for school-wide research:

They are:

  1. Best fit;
  2. Writing to think, learn communicate across disciplines;
  3. Teaching mathematics conceptually;
  4. ESL/EFL;
  5. i2Flex methodology;
  6. Learning Support Program;
  7. CLC - Professional Development

What Have our Educators Been Doing?

  1. Individual and Collaborative Practice;
  2. Literature Review (Constructivist/Inquiry-based learning theory, best practices, current theory – in each of the focus areas);
  3. Classroom Action Research;
  4. Data Collection and Documentation;
  5. Reflection and Drawing Conclusions;
  6. Performance Evaluations/Goal Setting/Defining new Actions Research Focus;
  7. Continuing Classroom Action Research
out of this world

The goal is to institutionalize this process – to make this the way we plan teaching and learning at ACS Athens.

ACS Athens Colloquium 2016

The April 2016 Colloquium will be a milestone in the history of ACS Athens.

At this event those attending will be able to witness live the defense of our action research question/process through a:

  • Series of Innovation Talks based on research into best practice and action research in our classrooms;
  • Break-out sessions (for more focused discussion);
  • Teacher exhibitions, demonstrations, panels, discussion groups;
  • Student and parent discussion groups/presentations

The culmination of this will be this event will have the MSA representatives validate the Action Research findings and process.

Our audience will consist of MSA officials, university administrators and educators, JK-12 local and international school administrators and teachers, ACS Athens student, parents and alumni and the general public.


ACS Athens Colloquium PRESENTERS


Invited Participants

  • Dr. Abour H. Cherif, Emeritus Dean, DeVry University, USA
  • Dr. David Gleason, Clinical Psychologist, Member ACS Athens Advisory Council
  • Dr. Margaret Grogan, Dean, Chapman University College of Educational Studies
  • Dr. Panos Kanellis, President, Perrotis College
  • Dr. Ioannis Miaoulis, President, Boston Museum of Science
  • Captain Robert Palm, Defense Attaché, US Embassy & Member ACS Athens Board of Trustees
  • Dr. Jane Pruitt, Accreditation Officer, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Dr. Kevin Ruth, Executive Director, European Council of International Schools (ECIS)
  • Mr. Suheil Sabbagh, Chairman, ACS Athens Board of Trustees
  • Dr. Dimitrios Sampson, Research Professor of Learning Technologies, Curtin University, Australia; Parent, Planning Team member
  • Mercedes Z. Sheppard, Head of School, Morgan Park Academy, Chicago, IL

Presenters, coaches, moderators and participants are ACS Athens Faculty / Staff and Parents, Students.

Faculty, Staff and Parents

Elementary School Students

Birbil and Captain Chip

  • Antonis Dimitropoulos
  • Rhea and Kyveli Hartzler
  • Aviya and Noa Rabinowitz
  • Anjali Raphael

Science Lab Session 1: 11:45-12:45 Grade 3

  • Danae Barbalia
  • Adrianos Botsios
  • Nicolas Demetroulis
  • Eva Giannakis
  • Yiorgos Keramidas
  • Aggelos Kollilekas
  • Iliana Lyssaios
  • Alexandros Maheras
  • Dimitri Meintanas
  • Fotini Mikropandremenou
  • Evan Paneras
  • Ioanna Pantazis
  • Stylianos Papanikolaou

Session 2 12:45 - 13:30 Grades 4 and 5

  • Olianna Dimitropoulou
  • Evdoxia Mikropandremenou
  • Nelly Roussou
  • Peter Sfinias
  • Filippos Simonetos
  • Pavlos Somoglou
  • Themis Soukakou
  • Marissa Syrigos
  • Anna Vitalioti
  • Theofano Vitalioti

3rd Grade Wax Museum

  • Adrianos Botsios
  • Nicolas Demetroulis
  • Evgenia Dourida
  • Eva Giannakis
  • Irini Karamanou
  • Yiorgos Keramidas
  • Alexader Kocahan
  • Angelos Kollilekas
  • Louis Linder
  • Iliana Lyssaios
  • Alexandros Maheras
  • Dimitris Meintanas
  • Reece Mersiowsky
  • Katrina Muelder
  • Evan Paneras
  • Ioanna Pantazis
  • Stelios Papanikolaou
  • Noa Rabinowitz
  • Alexander Theodorakis
  • Christos Tsenes

5th grade "Exploring Colonial America through research-based creative writing"

  • Amaryllis Antonopoulou
  • Loukas Kokkinos
  • Alexia Kotroni
  • James Lane
  • Mary Ma
  • Evdoxia Mikropandremenou
  • Leonidas Mendrinos
  • Kanella Roussou
  • Jelena Sgouropoulou
  • Angelika Sieti
  • Anna Vitalioti
  • Theofano Vitalioti

Middle School and Academy Students

Learning at ACS Athens – A Dialogue with the President (Friday, 9:30)

  • Maria Christodoulou
  • Marcus Galindo
  • Kewei Li
  • Billy Sotiropoulos
  • Sofia Trifonopoulou

Reflective Dialogue on the Middle School Migrant/Refugee Project (Friday, 11:00)

  • Marilina Bitsikas
  • Thanasis Sitinas
  • George Soukakos

Marketplace of Ideas – Ms. Wang’s Session (Friday, 11:45)

  • Dimitrios Athanasopoulos
  • KeWei Li
  • JiaHao Weng
  • Daniil Zorzos

Interactive Gallery of Student Programming (Friday, 11:45)

  • Anna Balaska
  • Maria Bizaki
  • Ellie Michaelidis
  • Athan Ovcina
  • Kristjan Jaak Raidal
  • Charalampos Salivaras
  • Daphne Stamou
  • Reine Yousef

Middle School Model United Nations – Mock Debate (Friday, 12:45)

  • Angelos Alexopoulos - Russia - Legal
  • Marianne Bitsikas - UK - Humanitarian
  • Max Furda - USA - Budget/Admin
  • Maria Kulukundis - Afghanistan - Humanitarian
  • Nefeli Naoum - Syria - Budget/Admin
  • Melina Opperer - Syria - Humanitarian
  • Dimitri Pantazis - Iran - Budget/Admin
  • Paraskevi (Vivian) Papatzanakis - USA - Legal
  • Marina Polios (3) - Hungary - Legal
  • Marina Polios (1) - Hungary - Humanitarian
  • Sabrina Saboya - Germany - Budget/Admin
  • Marianna Sampson - China - Legal
  • Zoe Scotes - Saudi Arabia - Budget/Admin
  • Barbara Simonetou - Russia - Budget/Admin
  • Vassilios Pavlos Soubassakos-Al Naouakil - Somalia - Legal
  • Sofia Sofocleous - Saudi Arabia - Humanitarian
  • Jason Stavropoulos - Germany - Humanitarian

Academy Students – Workshops in the Writing Studio (Friday, 12:45)

  • Konstantinos G. Alexopoulos
  • Doddi El Gabry
  • Spiros Karidis
  • Lida Kritikou
  • Christina Parathiras
  • Stefanos Psomas
  • Emilia Anna Sioka
  • Billy Sotiropoulos
  • George Soukakos
  • George Srouji
  • George Tzelalis

Academy and Middle School Students – Workshops in the Math Studio (Friday, 12:45)

  • Nancy Panagiotopoulou-Andritsopoulou
  • Marilina Bitsikas
  • Nicolas Di Piazza
  • Maria Fernandes Camano Garcia
  • Alexandra Gregoriou
  • Michaela Gregoriou
  • Thalia Kalai
  • Ioanna Meco
  • Pinelopi Papadopoulou
  • Lydia Piniros
  • Maria Ramadhi
  • Julia Saraferas
  • Poly Sardelli
  • Eva Tarasi

Academy Students: A Socratic Seminar (Friday, 12:45)

  • Marios Afraitos
  • Arthur Aharonian
  • Marina Alexopoulou
  • Violetta Alargof-Anagnostou
  • Beatrice Athanasiou
  • Manos Daoulas
  • Madison Dorey
  • Andreas Empeirikos
  • Danae Evmorfidi
  • Nadine Ginena
  • Varvara Gkaris
  • Niovi Megiris
  • Aliki Papoutsi
  • Angeliki Plessas
  • Nicole Saboya
  • Eirini Sampson
  • Athanasia Sbarouni
  • Chrysoula Stavropoulou-Synodinou
  • Sofia Trifonopoulou
  • Philippe Veldkamp

Academy Honor Society Students – Volunteers

  • Marina Alexopoulou
  • Antonios Belexis
  • Marios Bourtzonis
  • Fotios Emery
  • Aikaterini Farou
  • Andreas Kordalis
  • Sophia Kotsianou
  • He Liu
  • Andreas Louskos
  • Angelos Makras
  • Christina Parathiras
  • Ismini Prapa
  • Antonios Proiskos
  • Georgia Sideri
  • Fotios Tsitsos
  • Konstantinos Tsoumas
  • James Wood



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