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President's Newsletter

Read more about our President's Academic Leadership Journey

 


August 2017

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty and staff, I would like to welcome you to the American Community Schools of Athens and thank you for entrusting us with the education of your children.

The 2017-2018 academic year is my 13 th year serving ACS Athens. I am so proud to experience a continuous growth with quality and integrity of our institution in all aspects. Most important, is the fact that all of us are preparing your children to become global citizens with ethos, serving humanity.


Thursday
Sep142017

ACS Athens highlights - August 2017

Enrollment

We continue growth of enrollment, which will reach a new high!   This indicates that ACS Athens is enjoying a great reputation as an institution with not only high academic standards, but also as an institution living with its commitment in serving humanity.

International Baccalaureate Results

For a third year, ACS Athens IB Diploma students achieved exceptionally high IB Diploma scores. Two students received the perfect score (45/45) and ranked at the very top of the scale; Only 219 students received a perfect score, worldwide. The total number of students taking the IB Diploma exams is 159,400. With an average IB Diploma score of 35,7 points, compared to the world average of 29.95 points, this year’s scores place the ACS Athens IB Diploma students amongst the best performing IB Diploma students worldwide. This year’s score distribution was marked with a very high median of 36 points; 50% of the IB Diploma students scored 36 points and above and 17.8% of the IB Diploma scores were above 40 points. All students have met their offers from the UK colleges.

The average scores per subject offered at ACS Athens, which includes the performance of all students taking IB exams (both IB Diploma and IB Diploma Course students) indicate that the success was widespread and that the majority of those taking IB exams have scored well above the world average; 95% of subject averages were above the world average and the overall average exam score is at 5.60 points.

Advanced Placement (AP) Results

ACS Athens offers three AP courses, Calculus AB, Environmental Science and Spanish Language and Culture. A total of 7 ACS Athens students were enrolled in AP classes and took the respective exams. Additionally, ACS Athens students who are encouraged and guided to be risk takers and architects of their own learning, took another 19 AP exams either by attending the respective IB courses or by studying entirely on their own for their AP exams.

With 5 being the highest AP score and 3 the passing grade, ACS Athens students achieved a 3.11 average exam score, with 71% of those taking AP exams scoring above 3 while 40% scored 4 and above. Most US colleges provide college credit for AP scores of 4 and above.

College Acceptances

Our college/university placement has been outstanding, with our graduates continuing their education in their “best fit” schools around the world. Below are some of the universities in the U.S., U.K. and other countries that our students have been accepted.

In the United States: Bentley University, Boston University, Brandeis University, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, Columbia College Chicago, Dartmouth College, Drexel University, Elmhurst College, Fordham University, George Mason University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Pepperdine University, Roger Williams University, Seton Hall University, Syracuse University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and more.

In the United Kingdom: Brunel University London, Cardiff University, City University of London, King’s College London, Kingston University, London School of Economics and Political Science, Queen Mary University of London, Royal Holloway University of London, Swansea University, University of College London, University of Bath, University of Dundee, University of Exeter, University of Manchester, University of Nottingham, University of Surrey, University of Strathclyde, University of Westminster and more.

In Canada and other countries: American University of Paris/France, Bocconi University/Italy, Eindhoven University of Technology/Netherlands, Erasmus University Rotterdam/Netherlands, Maastricht University, Netherlands, McGill University/Canada, Ryerson University/Canada, University of Amsterdam/Netherlands, University of Bucharest/Romania, University of Groningen/Netherlands, University of Innsbruck/Austria, University of Toronto/Canada, University of Vienna/Austria and more.

Summer Leadership Academy 2017

Eleven ACS Athens students participated in the 2017 Leadership Academy from June 24 - July 7, 2017, designed in collaboration with the Oskin Leadership institute of Widener University in Chester, PA. While at Widener, ten of the students (rising 9th - 11th graders) participated in an intensive series of seminars on leadership and ethics, led by Dr. Arthur Schwartz, Director of the Oskin Center and a renowned scholar in the field of ethics in leadership.   One student participated in the Widener Summer Engineering Camp, organized by the Widener School of Engineering, during this time. Our collaboration with Widener is but one of the many university and institutional partnerships we have developed to provide expanded learning opportunities for our students and faculty.

Their learning and campus living experience complete, the students and program leaders, Dr. Peggy Pelonis and Mr. Steve Medeiros, continued their study of leadership, ethics, history and government during a seven-day field study experience in Washington, DC, where I had the pleasure of joining them.

In addition to visiting the city's monuments and museums, the group also visited the US Congress and Supreme Court.  They also got to explore themes of leadership in action in a visit with the diplomats at the Greek Desk in the US State Department, as well as in meetings with three ambassadors and other government officials.

One event stands out for me: One evening, we were returning to our hotel near the George Washington University. Outside one the university buildings, several students spied a credit card on the sidewalk. Rather than just moving on, they went inside the building, found an employee who, via the university database, identified the GWU faculty member who had lost the credit card. They did not leave until the owner of the card was found.

This, too, is what leadership in action looks like, and a manifestation of the “morfosis” they receive at ACS Athens.

The Panagiotis Gialamas Summer Leadership Scholarship

Three Students who attended the 2017 Summer Leadership Program received collectively 5,500 Euro scholarship from the Panagiotis Gialamas Scholarship Fund. This fund was established in 2015 in the name of the father of Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, Panagiotis Gialamas an educator who past away in 2015.

The Suheil Sabbagh Media Studio

ACS Athens recently completed a state-of-the-arts Media Studio facility that is located in the MS/HS Library. This new addition to the ACS Athens campus is a unique element for K-12 educational institutions that was generously funded by Mr. Suheil Sabbagh. In addition to resources equipping students and faculty to produce and broadcast radio and television projects, this cutting-edge studio space will support all classes in using media as a means to communicate. The Suheil Sabbagh Media Studio includes a 35 square meter green room that offers unlimited applications for virtual sets, a control room, two editing workstations and a lab setup of up to ten workstations for student and faculty projects.

The Suheil Sabbagh Media Studio will also become the new home for faculty research initiatives where curriculum with experiential knowledge can be created. Educators will be able to capitalize on the facilities of the studio for the creation and production of all forms of media, including print, broadcast, radio, film and multimedia storytelling.

Donations

The generosity of the ACS Athens PTO, individual parents and community members has resulted in over 140,000 Euro in personal donations to the school, which will be used to financially support many important initiatives. We would like to extend a special thank you to all for their support!

Thomas Gialamas Scholarship

We recently received a commitment from Mr. Nick Gialamas, a Chicago resident, for a new, full 3-year academic scholarship in the name of Thomas Gialamas for one new student entering the 10th grade beginning September 2018. We will be accepting application for this scholarship during the 2017-2018 academic year. This unique opportunity to study and prepare for college in the best international school in Greece will be given to a student who meets the below stated requirements and will cover the full tuition and school fees for a maximum of three years. The student must:

  1. Have a minimum of GPA of 3.5 (out of 4) or average score of 18 (out of 20).
  2. Pass the ACS Athens Admissions Test (English and Mathematics).
  3. Write an essay reflecting on “The responsibility of today’s citizens to serve humanity”.

Youth to Youth Program

We are continuing our contribution to humanity with the program “Youth to Youth”: educating all students, in collaboration with the HOME Project, the NGO organization established by the Libra Group of the Logothetis family.

The HOME Project has developed the concept of providing a home environment to unaccompanied refugee children. Through this collaboration we provided refugee children with creative learning experiences for six Saturday cycles (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). Volunteer ACS Athens faculty and students come together to work with approximately 15 refugee children in integrating athletics, art, music, English or Greek, computers and more in order to ensure a truly multi-faceted educational experience for these children. Volunteer doctors, the bus contractor and other supporters of this initiative have donated transportation, medical check-ups and certain apparel. We will continue this initiative with the new academic year.

Faculty

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you our new US faculty.
Click here to view further details.

Please join me in wishing all a successful academic year!

Other Programs and Projects

NFOP (New Faculty Orientation Program)

At ACS Athens, we took the lead in developing a comprehensive and effective New Faculty Orientation Program that is aligned with the institutional educational goals and practices. The New Faculty Orientation Program (NFOP) was evolved from the previous programs, which we have implemented since the 2007-2008 academic year. The latest and comprehensive NFOP was shaped and implemented during the 2015-16 academic year. It utilizes the i2Flex teaching methodology, which includes course designing. Faculty begin online the NFOP program as soon as they are hired and continue with guided learning until they arrive in Athens. Finally the Face-to-Face learning occurs weeks before the academic year begins and therefore are prepared to welcome their students and begin their teaching and learning journey at ACS Athens.

Major upgrading of the Elementary School Facilities.

All Teaching and Learning Facilities of the Elementary School have been upgraded dramatically to reflect the global morfosis Paradigm philosophy of teaching and learning, including all classrooms, the library, the technology lab and a new extra fifth grade classroom.

Finally, the dining facilities are totally redesigned to provide more space, new dining furniture and more natural light.

New approach to our energy sources

Also, school-wide, we are replacing petroleum tanks with natural gas.

The Incubator of Students Creative Ideas at ACS Athens

An innovative initiative for students has taken birth the past few months: the establishment of the Incubator of Students Creative Ideas. The mission and vision is defined as follows:

Mission: The Incubator at ACS Athens is a student-led, student-run, project-based learning hub using the design process to promote, support and guide student’s creative ideas in all disciplines.

Vision: Students function as architects of their own learning as they choose, create, fund and support their intellectual curiosity.

The Incubator, which will be housed on the first floor of the Learning Commons in the Sabbagh Library, will be an exciting new addition to our campus learning environment, a place where students (with faculty mentorship) can experiment, design and create -- turning their ideas into viable products, projects and initiatives, allowing them the opportunity to become entrepreneurs in a wide variety of scientific and technical, cultural and artistic, and social and humanitarian realms. The incubator will be designed and operated by students, and Ms. MaryAnn Augoustatos, Director, JK Academic Research and Learning Studios, ACS Athens Learning Commons will guide their work.

FINALLY: The ACS Athens History Book

The first ever ACS Athens history book was written, published and is now available for everyone to add it to their library! Find out more about the Book and how to acquire it here!

Sincerely,

signature Dr. Gialamas

Stefanos Gialamas, Ph.D.
President

 


 

Thursday
Sep142017

March 2017

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty and staff, I would like to welcome you to the American Community Schools of Athens and thank you for entrusting us with the education of your children.

Below, we would like to highlight accomplishments and school related news leading to the semester of Spring 2017.

Monday
Apr032017

Growth in Enrollment

Our enrollment continues to grow as the school year progress.  Our last enrollment report reflects that we have 914 students, and 4 refugee children, for a total of 918 students.

Applications for 2017-2018 have increased since last year and perspective parents are indicating that ACS Athens is enjoying a great reputation as an institution with not only high academic standards, but also as an institution living with its commitment in serving humanity.

Monday
Apr032017

2017-18 Budget Presentation

The Board of Trustees has approved the budget.   Mr. Steve Kakaris, Director of Finance has completed presentations to parents on March 14 and on March 23.

Monday
Apr032017

ACS Athens Serving Humanity 

We are continuing our contribution to humanity with the program "Youth to Youth": educating all students, in collaboration with the HOME Project Organization, the NGO organization established by the Libra Group of Mr. George Logothetis.  The HOME Project Organization has developed the concept of providing a home environment to unaccompanied refugee children.  We have begun the program with creative learning experiences for 17 refugee children on six Saturdays (10:30 am. – 3:30 pm.).  38 volunteer faculty working on a rotating basis and 20 ACS Athens volunteer students are integrating athletics, art, music, English, Greek to create a unique, multi-faceted learning experience both for the visiting students and for ACS Athens students.

Our faculty design and deliver the curriculum and learning activities while our students serve as teaching assistants working one to one with the visiting students.  Transportation, medical check-ups and certain apparel have been donated by volunteer doctors, the bus contractor and Ms. Constantinides / Mr. Tzelalis.  The first 2 Saturdays we had three volunteer doctors that examined the children (pediatrician, ophthalmologist, and dentist.)

Monday
Apr032017

University Acceptances

We have great college / university acceptances and scholarship offers this academic year for our seniors.  More details will be shared with you with the next report.

Monday
Apr032017

Partnership with Widener University and The University of Delaware 

Widener University

To date, seven students have been accepted to Widener University with scholarship offers of $ 15,000 to $ 35,000 yearly.  Approximately $ 172,500 yearly has been offered to our seven students should they decide to attend Widener.

University of Delaware

The University of Delaware has accepted two of our students and we are currently waiting for their scholarship offers.

Monday
Apr032017

Representatives of Dutch Universities Visited ACS Athens

Netherlands landscape

On Wednesday, February 8th, ACS Athens hosted a Dutch College Night for parents and students.  ACS Athens focuses on "finding the best fit" for our students and this special evening was organized to provide parents and students with important information about living and studying in the Netherlands.   The evening was a great success and parents / students were able to hear first-hand about the educational opportunities in the Netherlands.

University representatives came from the following universities: Leiden University, Tilburg University, Utrecht University, University College of Groningen, University College of Roosevelt, Radboud University.

Monday
Apr032017

Student Teachers at ACS Athens 

Through our various collaborations with universities around the world, we currently have ten student teachers at ACS Athens; two from the University of Delaware, two from the University of Amsterdam, two from Dundee University in Scotland and four from the University of Winnipeg.

Monday
Apr032017

Recruiting in the United States

Mr. Steve Medeiros, Dean of Academics and Dr. Peggy Pelonis, Dean of Student Affairs were recently in the US to recruit a high school principal and faculty across the three schools.  To date we have hired the high school principal and 11 faculty members.  Overall the recruiting went very well and both Mr. Medeiros and Dr. Pelonis have done a great job attracting highly qualified faculty and an excellent principal.

Monday
Apr032017

Model United Nations in Doha and The Hague

MUN

ACS Athens students, as in every year, participated in some of the most challenging, yet rewarding Model United Nations simulations in the world: the Hague MUN (THIMUN) and Georgetown Qatar Model United Nations (QMUN).

At THIMUN our delegates represented Bhutan under the theme "Borders in a Globalized World."  At the Georgetown Qatar MUN, the delegates represented their assigned countries under the theme of "Fostering Development: Complexities of Intervention in a Globalized World."

Both delegations prepared for the conference they would be attending by researching current topics, using the Official Records and the Masthead documents of the UN to prepare opening speeches, draft resolutions, realistic strategies, non-violent negotiations, all while following the UN Rules of Procedures.  The students participating in this initiative learn about economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and how the United Nations acts on them to resolve conflict. Congratulations to the students who participated in both MUN events so successfully!

Monday
Apr032017

Stanley Haas / Luke Hansen Student Awards

NESA

The Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA) in cooperation with TIE International established the annual "Stanley Haas / Luke Hansen Award" that is given to students who model the character traits outlined in the criteria for this award and are valued most in students: persistence, a willingness to take risks, acceptance of other cultures and points of view and a genuine interest in an demonstrated, sustained commitment to the welfare of others.

This year one of our students, Ms. Chrysonoe Katsarou, was chosen to receive this award.   Congratulations are extended to Chrysonoe Katsarou!

Monday
Apr032017

SCIS Middle School Swimming Championships

Congratulations to the Middle School Boys and Girls Swimming team for their performance last week during the SCIS Championship: great competition among ten schools!  The ACS Athens Boys came in first; the Girls finished sixth and our team with their overall score finished in third place!!!

We had outstanding performances from a number of swimmers and finished the meet with 5 gold medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals.  Congratulations to the athletes and their coach!

Monday
Apr032017

Donation of Property

Dr. Andreas Chatzivasiliades, a pediatrician in the USA and former professor of the University of Chicago Medical School, who for many years served at some of the best hospitals in USA, donated a piece of land with area of 1,157 m2, located at Nomos Messinias, south east of the city of Kalamata, near the town of Kardamyli, Koinotita Eksohoriou, with purpose to be used by ACS Athens for the promotion of educational and cultural activities in the area.  The tax value of his donation is in the amount of € 53,000.

Monday
Apr032017

WISE (Madrid)

WISE

Dr. Gialamas was invited by WISE to be part of a panel discussion at a WISE@ event, a collaborative meeting of stakeholders who gathered in Madrid for discussions on topics of particular educational concerns to regional WISE communities.  Further to Dr. Gialamas, Ms. Vicky Colbert, Founder and Chairperson of Escuela Nueve Foundation, Colombia and 2013 WISE Prize for Education Laureate and Ms. Nieves Segovia Bonet, President of SEK Educational Group participated in this panel discussion.

At this Forum, Dr. Gialamas shared the Global Morfosis Educational Paradigm (gMP) implemented at ACS Athens over the past decade.

WISE@Madrid Forum took place February 27 - March 1 in Madrid.  The topic of the panel discussion was "Redesigning Education Systems for the Future" (see details here).  Eight hundred invited educators, leaders, policymakers, Minister of Education and other influential individuals attended.


You may watch a relevant video below

Monday
Apr032017

Basketball

ACS Athens Girls BasketballACS Athens Basketball - 1st place Winners
ACS Athens Boys BasketballACS Athens Basketball - 3rd place Winners

The ACS Athens Girls Varsity Basketball team competed in Frankfurt in the ISST Div. 2 championship and captured first place, defeating the host school Frankfurt by a margin of 6 points, 42 - 36.   All of the girls' games were close games but they finished with 5 wins and the gold medal in their hands.   Joana Meco and Marie Heder were selected as All Stars.

Not far from there, in the ISST Div. 1 championship in Brussels, the ACS Athens Boys Varsity Basketball team finished in third place with a 4 win - 1 loss record.  While most of their games were won by a large margin, they fell short playing against ACS Cobham.   They did finish strong by defeating Vienna International School by a margin of 23 points for the bronze medal!  Marios Bourtzonis and Angelos Makras were selected as All Stars.

A job well done by Angelos Makras who was the Scott Baillie Award recipient, a prestigious ISST award as voted by the coaches for the player who demonstrates character, intensity, sportsmanship and poise.

Monday
Apr032017

New Media Production Studio

Media Studio

A new approach to media literacy would not be possible without the technical facility of our new Media Production Studio, located at the H.J.Sabbagh Library.  The new Media Studio has been in the planning stages for the past 2 years and through the generous donation of ACS Athens Chairman of the Board, Mr. Suheil H. Sabbagh, it is now a reality.

State-of-the-art equipment includes professional digital cameras in a green screen virtual set, which offers unprecedented flexibility in video applications.  The new media studio includes also a modern professional video broadcasting system, two digital video/audio post-production workstations, a sound booth for audio applications, and it is designed to serve as a media lab for up to 10 students working simultaneously on their individual or group projects.

Monday
Apr032017

Widener/Washington, D.C. Summer Leadership/Engineering Program 

Widener University

Following our important partnership agreement with Widener University, ACS Athens and Widener are offering two summer courses in the U.S., taking place in the latter's campus in Philadelphia and in Washington D.C.: a Leadership course (typically offered to their college students) which leads to a leadership certificate and a course in Engineering.

Both courses emphasize Leadership, Collaborative activities, College life, learning about U.S. culture, but may also include Engineering projects, visits to other Universities, etc.   The program entails a university and field study experience at Widener University School of Engineering (in Philadelphia and in Washington, D.C) — an exciting learning experience for students in grades 9-11.  It involves a week of ‘leadership in action’ where students will be exposed to the new Media Production Studio, historical sites, museums, political officials and a visit to the Senate and House of Representatives.

Monday
Apr032017

Summer Aviation Program

Aviation:Plane flying

Offered for the second year, in conjunction with Hellenic American University, an Aviation course for High School students 14-16 years old.  They will receive 3 college credits.

Last summer 6 ACS Athens students in grades 9 - 12 participated and successfully completed the program.  Registration for this year’s program is in progress.

Monday
Apr032017

Congratulations to Dr. Peggy Pelonis

Dr. Pelonis

Dr. Peggy Pelonis has successfully completed all the requirements and received her Doctoral Degree in Education from the University of Bath.   The title of the doctoral thesis is The Administrator Role in Professional Development in International Schools: Perspectives on Planning, Implementing, Evaluating and Resourcing.

The research involved more than 100 international schools around the world and is providing significant findings, which will potentially help international schools in their commitment to offer the best possible professional development for faculty and staff.