ACS Athens Owlcast

The official ACS Athens podcast, telling the story of the American Community Schools of Athens. ... more

Latest Episodes

21

March 04, 2022 00:26:27
Owlcast 21 - with Dr. Julie Crain

Owlcast 21 - with Dr. Julie Crain

ACS Athens continuously invests time and resources to foster this development of its community of educators. Our guest today is Dr. Julie Crain, who under her present capacity as the Professional Development Coordinator is part of a team that develops the means for meaningful and effective professional development of staff, faculty, and administrators.  She’s also a member of a team of internal coordinators for Accreditation and has held several positions over the years, including Principal of Middle School and, previously Principal of the Academy. With Dr. Crain, today we discuss: A strong background in communication as a tool to connect in academia How a song and dance skit can warm up the whole community to you as the new principal The multiple challenges of shifting age-groups in the middle of the pandemic Are adolescents everywhere pretty much the same? From covering the Beat in a media outlet to controlling the Beat in a school Media Literacy, Social Media and the youth in times of excessive yellow The fine line between guidance and restriction, when it comes to protecting children online Evaluation through empowering as a growth process, when it comes to the professional development of employees ...

Listen

20

February 18, 2022 00:28:59
Owlcast 20 - with Pinelopi Dimitroula

Owlcast 20 - with Pinelopi Dimitroula

The demanding journey of a student through primary and secondary education in the 21st century bears very few similarities with that of previous generations, where the major objectives involved little more than literacy and quantitative skills. Critical thinking, art and media literacy, integration of computing and Artificial Intelligence along with cultural and social engagement were topics far from the norm in most schools. International education by nature has evolved into a much more holistic provider of life skills that global citizens must attain to have a better than a good chance to make it in the 21st century. When the discussion also involves the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, then we know for sure that students go beyond the traditional school framework, and have started thinking of the big picture. In order for a school to provide such a non-traditional, outside-the-beaten path education experience, it needs to introduce new mentalities, especially at the Elementary school level. Teachers must be open to new mindsets and skill sets that are required to engage and inspire children that mature faster and faster. With us today is Pinelopi Dimitroula, a 5th-grade teacher, who engages in the discussion of what this experience is currently in the ACS Athens Elementary. With an MBA degree from Pace University and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and Students with Disabilities from Touro University, New York, Ms. Dimitroula has a wide perspective on what Education should be about. With Ms. Dimitroula, today we discuss: The increasing level of Student's maturity in the Elementary School Supporting the mental and socio-emotional state of children during learning in difficult times The transition to Middle School and a new reality Meeting students where they are at.... the ...

Listen

19

February 11, 2022 00:30:54
Owlcast 19 - with Mark McGowan

Owlcast 19 - with Mark McGowan

The International Baccalaureate has been a staple academic program of the international schools. ACS Athens introduced IB as an academic option in the mid-'70s, long before it became the international standard for admission in universities around the world. Throughout the years, in combination with the Advanced Placement courses, the IB courses enhanced the academic offerings of the school that students could choose from as they aspired to develop a more rounded approach to their academic portfolio. This year, Mark McGowan joined ACS Athens as its new IB/AP Programs director. This is not his first time in Athens - he has served at another Athenian school before, but as most international educators, he has traveled around the world in the international school circuit, building expertise and global academic perspectives. He has held various leadership positions, including ToK Coordinator and Head of English at the International School of Brussels, and BTEC Coordinator at the JESS school in Dubai. In 2019, he obtained a Certificate of International School Leadership from the Principal’s Training Center in London. An avid reader, sports fan, and supporter of the arts, Mr. McGowan also enjoys traveling, swimming, cycling, and spending time with his family. With Mark McGowan, we discuss: Creative writing while living in Greece The International Baccalaureate as an academic option and not as the only choice The IB as the door to high-level thinking and better college placement Is the current system of preparing students for college optimal and what is the alternative What is the value of certain keystone courses, like the Theory of Knowledge Connecting the dots of knowledge by engaging in provocative topics of discussion Preparing students to enjoy life, to think and feel The IB as a bridge between school ...

Listen

18

February 04, 2022 00:15:33
Owlcast 18 - with Dr. Photini Pazartzis - Alumni Edition

Owlcast 18 - with Dr. Photini Pazartzis - Alumni Edition

The community of ACS Athens has always been one with strong connections between the student and alumni communities. Every so often graduates of the school cross the gates of the campus to reminisce and go back in time. Frequently, however, distinguished and renowned alums come to witness the work and projects of the students, to inspire and mentor them and address the all too relevant concerns of adolescents as they explore their life's possibilities. Late last year, Dr. Photini Pazartzis, honored the community with her presence in order to speak to Middle School and Academy students about the United Nations and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Pazartzis is a Professor of International Law at the University of Athens and the Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee. She spoke about the foundation treaty of the UN, the three pillars, and specifically the Human Rights Committee in which she has been unanimously elected as Chair. Students were able to understand how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are linked to the three pillars. “How long have you worked in the UN?” “What made you want to work in the UN?”, “How can one begin to work in the UN?” were some of the questions that middle school students had the opportunity to ask Dr. Pazartzis, who told students that "ACS Athens is a small United Nations.” “You are very lucky to be in this school," she said, "you have people from all over the world that are your friends and will remain your friends.” With Dr. Photini Pazartzis today we discuss: From International Law to Human Rights: how does someone with academic credentials transition to civic leadership Human Rights as part of ...

Listen

17

January 21, 2022 00:24:36
Owlcast 17 - with Helen Seretis & Michael Januzzi

Owlcast 17 - with Helen Seretis & Michael Januzzi

How does communication for Congressional campaigns prepare someone to advise students to write more effectively How does the Capstone Project combine with the Sustainable Development Goals? Does Connecting with the students promote learning? Welcome to today's episode of the Owlcast. We have with us Helen Seretis and Michael Januzzi who are in charge of the Writing Studio in the Learning Commons of ACS Athens. The Writing Studio is just one of the services available for students, along with the Math, Research and Media Studios in the Learning Commons, which sole purpose is to enhance the learning experience of the students, by providing support, guidance and necessary resources as the school community takes learning to the next level. Today with Ms. Seretis and Mr. Januzzi we discuss: The therapy couch of the writing studio Meta-strategies around writing and creative approaches The bad thoughts bunny, and why it's full Reaching out to the students How to motivate higher learners Handling over 2000 projects and assignments per semester Supporting students while setting boundaries Using creative writing as a way to express personal frustrations Using personal interests in order to learn a foreign language How to gamify EFL Language support Writing college essays in a personal and unique way - the case of the celery crunch Using hardship to grow, and The Capstone project: bringing the classroom into the real world ...

Listen

16

January 14, 2022 00:37:05
Owlcast 16 - with Sophia Tsinakis

Owlcast 16 - with Sophia Tsinakis

What kind of epiphany does someone experience before becoming a teacher? How does an optician, from adjusting frames ends up adjusting brains? Why it's important to have a balanced literacy classroom? The answers to these profound questions we attempt to find today with Sophia Tsinakis, Literacy Coordinator at ACS Athens. A native of Houston, Texas, Ms. Tsinakis holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology - with a minor in Art Therapy - from Lesley University in Cambridge Massachusetts. She has earned a Master's in Elementary Education and a K-12 English Language Learners endorsement at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. While teaching in Nashville, Tenessee, she was a finalist for the Teacher of the Year, recognized as a Literacy Leader by the District Director of Literacy, was interviewed and observed by the National Public Radio program, Mind/Shift, and one of her guided reading lessons was filmed by the district as an example of exemplary reading instruction. Sophia Tsinakis arrived at ACS Athens in 2018 and transitioned in her capacity as Literacy Coordinator in 2020, through which she facilitates the development of an ongoing collaborative literacy learning culture that aligns reading & writing curriculums. With Ms. Tsinakis, today we discuss: The vision of Literacy in the Elementary School of the late Steve Medeiros Growing into innovation through professional development Building a balanced literacy classroom Being a mentor, collaborator and coach at the same time Life in the digital realm and how it affects learning The emerging trends in literacy: Teaching Poetry and Use of Graphic Novels Reading critically and making sense of online content Sustainable development goals and Literacy Balance in a teacher's personal life and how that affects teaching ...

Listen