Pinewood

American International School of Thessaloniki, Greece

Dr. Giampapa's April Director's Report

Events of the Month

Enrollment

Total Students 269

American Student Exchange Visitors at Pinewood April 9-22

During the month of April, Pinewood is excited to welcome a group of 14 American high school students and 3 teachers to Pinewood as part of a newly initiated student exchange program with schools in the United States. Our visiting students this year are from Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, Maine and they will be in Thessaloniki from April 9 – 22. While here, they will enjoy a full range of activities that introduce them to our Pinewood students and teachers through classroom visits and to the history and culture of Greece through several short and longer trips around the country. In addition, they will be joining Pinewood families for dinner on several evenings. Thank you to each of our families who have so graciously opened their homes to our American visitors!

Pan-Hellenic Forensics Tournament March 17-20

Our Forensics Team, made up of 17 high school students, traveled to Athens to compete in the annual Pan-Hellenic Forensics Tournament with over 400 other students from around Greece. Thank you to the following teachers and parent for preparing our students for success this year: Mr. Ian Harrington, Ms. Athena Yannoulis, Mr. Takis Oikonomopoulos and Mr. Kingsley Johnson. Participation in Forensics helps students become effective communicators and builds debate skills and other essential skills for life. I am delighted to share that Georgia Rheault, ’17, earned an Honorable Mention for her original Oratory. In this category, a student writes an original speech on a topic of his/her choosing which is either informative or persuasive, memorizes it and presents it orally to the audience. Congratulations to the whole team!

Greek Independence Day Assembly March 24

Our annual Greek Independence Day Assembly took place with its usual full house. Students in Elementary, Middle and High School presented poems, songs, dances and historical retellings in commemoration of Greek Independence Day, which is held on March 25 each year. Our Greek Department, Ms. Vicky Tzima, Ms. Amalia Spiliakou, Ms. Filiana Zafeiriadou, Ms. Sophia Konstantinidou, designed the event to celebrate Greek culture. In addition, the Music Department, under the direction of Dr. Gundega Smite, prepared students to share selections from the Composer of the Month, Mikis Theodorakis. The celebration was capped off by a surprise appearance by Minas Vasileiadis, who accompanied the singing of the Greek national anthem with a debut performance on saxophone. Thank you to everyone who worked on making the celebration so lively and fun.

Pinewood Science Day April 6

Science Day is a school wide celebration of the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that is hosted by the Science Department each year. From dinosaurs in Grades 1-2 to a huge array of science and Engineering projects from Grades 3-12, there were opportunities to learn the answers to a multitude of cryptic science questions. Students from all grade levels presented their work with enthusiasm and explained their projects with confidence to their teachers, visiting parents and to each other. Communication and collaboration is key to the development of new science as our IB1 Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Computer science students had discovered over the past two months as they worked on their IB Group 4 project on 'Health and Eating Habits'. Their thought provoking findings were presented to high school students, teachers and visitors with eloquence during a special seminar.

An important part of Science Day for the high school is the judging of projects. Six students from the Veterinary and Forestry departments of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki judged each student's poster presentation on scientific information, clarity of concepts and visual representation. Our congratulations go to Middle School student Javier Aguilar Martinez for his engineering project 'Can water produce electricity?' and to high school students Sergey Chikunov and Konstantinos Chrysoulas for their Chemistry project entitled 'Which type of sugar will produce more smoke in a smoke bomb?'. Our students also judged one another and voted for their favorite projects. Middle school students voted for High School student Arina Kocherga's project, 'Oxidation of a Gummy Bear' and Middle School Winner Javier Aguilar Martinez was also voted as the High school students' favourite.

Science Day was completed by an inspiring speech entitled “Light and Innovative Nanomaterials: The story of compound semiconductors” by our Keynote speaker, Dr. George Dimitrakopoulos. During his speech Dr. Dimitrakopoulos took us on a journey from the manipulation of materials on an atomic scale to the current and future applications of semiconductors including the technology appliances that have become an essential part of the way we live our lives!

The Science department would like to thank everyone involved in the success of Science Day, including Dr. George Dimitrakopoulos; student judges from AUTh, Dr. Eva Avramidou, Ms. Hermione Malliarou, Mr. Nikos Tourvas, Mr. Konstantinos Lyberis, Ms. Evagelia Kofidou and Ms. Katerina Leopoulou, Pinewood parents, Pinewood teachers and of course our wonderful students! – By, Dr. Clare Squires

Documentary Film Project with Grade 6

Our Grade 6 students are participating in a European Project entitled, EUforia Project, a pan-European project for Middle and High school students targeting two things: (1) Understand whether and how EU funded urban landscaping projects were effective to people and the cityscape and (2) Through the exploration of urban landscaping projects, learn how to create a documentary, thus introducing cinematography to secondary education. Our students will be creating a documentary centered on the history of the Rotunda, a historical document in the center of the city.The documentaries will be presented at the Thessaloniki Film Festival next year! For more information, visit the Home page of our website.

Let’s Do it Greece April 11-17

The week of April 11-17 is “Green Week” around Greece and Pinewood will do its part to contribute to the environmental preservation of our Earth, too. Students throughout the school will be participating in special environmental friendly projects in their efforts to reduce our footprint on the earth. In addition, we will be participating in a clean up of the Axios River where they will also be able to visit the lagoon Kalochori. At this time it hosts dozens flamingos and migratory birds, such as Black-winged Stilts, the avocets and thalassosfyrichtes. The area belongs to the European network of protected areas Natura 2000, while it is also being protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Thank you to the Pinewood CAS Advisors, Christina Pagidou and Niki Tzivanaki for organizing our events at school and on Sunday in the city. Look for details!

MAP Testing April 11 – May 29

MAP testing, our computer adaptive, standardized testing for students in Grades 2 – 12 will take place from April 11 through the end of May. The specific schedule for each grade level will be published for your review in April. As a reminder, MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) provides powerful student growth data that allows for informed instruction, measures the growth of every child over time regardless of grade level performance and compares and predicts student achievement and growth over time via normative comparative data from students in other schools around the world.

IB Mock Exams April 7-15

IB Mock exams, which are formatted exactly as the regular exams, are a way for teachers to assess the readiness of our students for the formal IB examinations in May. These exams are an important preparatory step as they can pinpoint areas that are in need of additional consideration before the exams. Formal IB exams take place in the month of April.

Professional Development Activity this Month

As educators, teachers are continually expected to keep themselves updated on latest trends, new best practices and knowledgeable about new research in their respective teaching fields. With these goals in mind, Pinewood provides various professional development opportunities for teachers. This month and last, several teachers (Ms. Evie Kota, Dr. Linda Manney and Ms. Monica Varsalopoulos) attended the TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Annual Convention. TESOL, or Teachers of English as a Second or Other Language, is an independent non-profit professional association for teachers of Northern Greece whose role is two-fold: to explore the reality of teaching in our classrooms and to strive towards improving teaching and learning for teachers and students. I am also happy to announce that Dr. Linda Manney has been elected to the TESOL Board of Directors as the new Vice President. We look forward to Dr. Manney’s continued cooperation with TESOL and relationship-building between their organization and our school.

In addition, two teachers, Ms. Dimitra Bentioulis and Ms. Alexia Marinides, attended the annual NESA conference in Bangkok, Thailand. NESA is the Near East South Asia professional development organization to which Pinewood is a member. While there, they attended workshops related to visual thinking, assessment with rubrics, writing, formative and summative assessment and differentiated instruction, among other things. One of the highlights was the keynote address by Mr. Rick Wormeli, American educator and educational consultant. Check out one of his many YouTube videos here: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15413b65c85f0e00?projector=1.

Mrs. Kapanidou, our Visual Arts teacher, was invited by Patakis Publications to deliver a training program for Preschool and Elementary teachers and linked to the book that she recently illustrated. The book, titled, “Does the real Triceratops feel fear?”, was written by Vagelis Iliopoulos and it explores the subject of Bullying at school through the story of a young boy and a Triceratops. Linked to the National Anti-Bullying day, which is on the 6th of March, the author and Mrs. Kapanidou prepared an interactive workshop each one on their area of expertise in order to raise awareness on this subject and train teachers on methods of exploring it with their students. During the fully attended workshop, Mrs. Kapanidou trained teachers on interactive play, drama games and visual education methods, with which all types of learners can be included and involved, and offered tailor-made advice on how these methodologies can be applied on different grade levels. The workshop was completed by book signing and sharing of ideas.

Two teachers (Ms. Christina Pagidou and Mrs. Niki Tzivanaki) will travel to Athens to attend the ACS Athens Colloquium entitled, Improving Student Learning through Continuous Research and Reflection. At this colloquium, new educational knowledge and best practices will be shared among teachers, administrators, policymakers and parents from around the globe.

Making Music Matter at Pinewood – Maurice Ravel

In Pinewood’s ‘Making Music Matter’ campaign to make music ‘visible’ this year, April’s Composer of the Month is French composer, pianist and conductor Maurice Ravel. I invite you to visit the bulletin board in the reception area of the main building or the reception area of the EYP to learn about this influential composer. And, if you are at school between 8:00 – 8:30 in the morning or 3:00 – 4:00 in the afternoon, you will hear the composer’s music playing in the reception area.

Notable Upcoming Events

Delphi Overnight Trip – Grades 9, 10, 11 April 14-16

Students in Grades 9-11 and our American student visitors will travel to Kavala with Mrs. Amalia Spiliakou as part of our Host Country Studies program. Students will travel to the city of Apollo to see his famous Oracle and the wonderful ruins that surround this beautiful Greek area. Thank you to Mrs. Spiliakou for organizing the trip and to Dr. Squires and Mr. Paschalidis for chaperoning this wonderful learning experience for our high school students.

Kavala Overnight Trip – Grades 6, 7, 8 April 19-20

Students in Grades 6-8 and our American student visitors will travel to Kavala with Mrs. Amalia Spiliakou as part of our Host Country Studies program. While on the trip, students will visit the beautiful Lake Kerkini to learn about the thousands of birds that migrate there each year and tour the famous ruins of this classic city. Thank you to Mrs. Spiliakou for organizing the trip and to Mrs. Paliouris and Mr. Oikonomopoulos for chaperoning this wonderful learning experience for our middle school students.

Spring Break April 22-May 8

Spring Break begins on Friday, April 22 after school and classes resume on Monday, May 9. Please note that there will be no After School Activities on Friday, April 22.

IB Final Exams May 2-20

Final IB Exams for our seniors begin during Spring Break on May 2 and run for 3 weeks. During this time, students will be taking exams that cover material, concepts and ideas from their two-year IB Diploma Program studies. We wish our students the very best on their exams!

Cedefop Visit May 11

Students in Grade 11 will visit Cedefop (European Center for the Development of Vocational Training) to learn about their trainee program. While there, they will have an introduction by the Director of Cedefop and then meet with the trainees.

The visit to Cedefop aims to provide Pinewood students with a unique experience of Cedefop's role as an EU institution, well-placed as a multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi-ethnic working environment contributing to the development of mutual understanding, trust and tolerance, to inform our students on how to increase their "employability", future education and training pathways and to learn about European citizenship, EU integration processes related to vocational education and training. Students will be introduced to the professional world, and they will have the opportunity to engage in an interactive discussion with Cedefop 2016/2016 trainees, the majority of whom are recent university graduates or PhD students, assigned to the twelve project areas:
  • Records management and assistance & support to Open Access Repository project
  • Legal research and assistance
  • Data Protection Officer 
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Press and News service
  • Publications 
  • Lifelong Guidance 
  • Apprenticeship 
  • VET policies and systems 
  • Europass 
  • Statistics and Indicators 
  • Skills forecasting and skill mismatch

This is a nice opportunity for Pinewood to connect with Cedefop as another international organization in Greece. It also provides a learning experience for our students in line with our Student Services Action Plan for developing career education to our students.

Special Issues Pinewood Community Committee

From Mr. Ian Harrington - As an international school presenting itself as a family and an institution, we face a multitude of important ‘family’ issues ranging from our personal relationships to our relationships with the outside world. Looking at the range of concerns that our family faces, it is clear that no one person can possibly keep track. Thus, the SIPCC, a new committee being formed, will provide a platform for discussion and action through a systematic approach to individual topics that are both proposed by members of the committee, as well as the community at large. The group will follow a Model United Nations approach to each issue whereby each constituency of the committee presents their personal views and knowledge on the main subject, followed by an in-depth discussion of recommendations to be considered by the school.

All of the meetings will be open to the community at large; however, a key group of members made up of teachers, the school psychologist, parents, and students will be the main contributors to each month’s meeting.

GOALS

  1. To provide a grounds for intelligent, meaningful discussion of current issues as they pertain to the Pinewood Community.

  2. To provide Pinewood with a central response system, through Sycamore/Facebook/etc., to key developments both local and international in nature.

  3. To produce recommended action plans for how Pinewood might be able to provide opportunities for student/staff development and learning.

Look for more information about the committee in the Pinewood communication sites. 

Administrative Activity

Advisory Committee to the Board

An auxiliary committee to the Board of Directors is the Pinewood Advisory Committee. Presently, one member has been appointed to the committee. Dr. Soula Mitakidou, Professor of Education at Aristotle University and published author, is a long-time supporter of Pinewood. Among other things, Dr. Mitakidou established the successful American student-teacher exchange program some 25 years ago at Pinewood. In her capacity on the Advisory Committee, Dr. Mitakidou offers her expertise in the field of education to us in many ways. At present, she is working with me on organizing a small educational conference at Pinewood and most recently has been on campus to share her time and knowledge with several different groups. We look forward to our continual cooperation with Dr. Mitakidou, a key figure in the local educational community. I invite you to read one of Dr. Mitakidou's articles, "Enhancing language acquisition through literature" here: http://www.enl.auth.gr/gala/mitakidou.pdf

Registration & Pre-Payment for 2016-2017

I am pleased to announce that our tuition and fees will be maintained at no increase for the 7th consecutive year. In addition, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I remind you of the following key payment dates for registering your child(ren) for next year:

  • June 1, 2016 Payment made in full by this date will receive a 7% discount on tuition
  • September 1, 2016 Payment made in full by this date will receive a 5% discount on tuition

Accordingly, I kindly remind you to complete a Registration Form for each of your children for the new academic year and to submit these forms with your pre-payment for the new year (EYP=€1,000 & Grades 1-12=€2,000).

Individual family Billing Statements for 2016-17, accompanied by Registration Forms, will be emailed to you in April and sent via regular mail by April 11.

Board of Directors Elections

Nominations for the Pinewood Board of Directors are now being accepted by the Nominating/Electoral Committee. Two elected parent positions are open and all current parents who will have children in the school next year are eligible to run for office. Nominations will be accepted through May 4, 2016, exactly two weeks before the date of the elections. Elections will take place on May 18 during the Corporation meeting and continue the following day until 17:00. The term of the office is 2 years with duties beginning July 1, 2016. If you are interested in submitting your nomination and/or for further details, please contact either of the following 3 members of the Nominating/Electoral Committee:

Dr. Linda Manney (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Mrs. Maria Nikolaidou (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Mrs. Rodica Cojocaru (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Dr. Giampapa's March Director's Report

Events of the Month

Enrollment

Total Students 270

Winter Music Concert February 9

The Annual Winter Music Concert was a superb success this year! With more than 35 student participants from Elementary, Middle and High School, the gymnasium was transformed into a proper music hall as students performed a range of pieces from the classical oeuvre, including Bach, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky and modern selections from the rock and pop genres. Under the direction of Dr. Gundega Smite, students had the opportunity to demonstrate their love of music and their beautiful multiplicity of skills. Thank you to all families who came out to support our students and our Pinewood Music Department. We look forward to preparing for our next concert. 

Faculty Professional Development ½ Day February 12

Students were dismissed early on this day in order for faculty to participate in specifically designed professional development projects and workshops to promote growth and improvement in our teaching and learning environment at Pinewood. In brief, the teachers were involved either in IT integration in the classroom or curriculum design and standards work. Below is a snapshot of each group’s focus.

  • EARLY YEARS PROGRAM: Introducing the use of ICT for teaching & learning in the EYP classroom.
    In the spirit of TTT (Teachers Teaching Teachers), Ms. Natalie Pinakidou led a workshop with the EYP teachers based on a questionnaire that was administered to gauge prior knowledge and interests. The content of this workshop was in line with the ICT Action Plan for developing and enhancing ICT in the classroom.
  • ELEMENTARY: Using tablets to enhance teaching & learning in the Elementary classroom.
    Also in the spirit of TTT (Teachers Teaching Teachers), the Elementary teachers, who have just received one new tablet per classroom (Grades 1-5), conducted a self-directed workshop on best practices, ideas and coordinated goals for using tablets in the elementary classroom. The content of this workshop was in line with the ICT Action Plan.
  • ENGLISH DEPARTMENT: English Curriculum Design in Grades 6-12.
    The Secondary English Department worked collectively on vertical alignment of (1) literary studies/genres, (2) formal writing instruction and (3) assessments across English classes in Grades 6-12. From this workshop, they have produced a document that outlines these three areas and will be used for the development of specific content through continued curriculum design during the summer 2016. This work is part of the English Curriculum Review process currently taking place.
  • SCIENCE DEPARTMENT: Laboratory Safety and Rules.
    After the installation of the new ventilation system in the chemicals room of the Science Lab, the Science Department continued to work on safety procedures and rules for the lab by reviewing lab safety resources from the U.S. and collectively preparing earthquake preparedness procedures and a set of rules for the lab. This is in line with the MSA visiting team recommendation to "review the safety features in the current science lab to insure they meet government safety standards." Further safety upgrades are currently underway, too.
  • MATHEMATICS DEPARTMENT: AERO standards, transitions & textbook alignment.
    The Math Department continued its work on the AERO standards, paying particular attention to both vertical alignment from Grades 6-12 and textbook alignment with the standards. In addition, they examined the transition between Elementary and Secondary mathematics in order to come up with curriculum suggestions, if needed, to make the transition the smoothest one possible. This work is in line with the accreditation monitoring issue requiring each course to identify where the standards are being taught throughout the year and in preparation for the introduction of a curriculum mapping program.
  • SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT: Curriculum content alignment in 5-12.
    The SS Department worked on aligning content and skills in Grades 5-12 as a re-visiting of the previous curriculum review from 8 years ago. They will create a document of content and skills to be used to guide our curriculum planning each year.
  • ARTS DEPARTMENT: Collaborative project development between art-dance-music.
    The teachers in this department worked together on their cross-collaboration projects. In addition, each subject has adopted new standards specific to their programs, and they continued to work on the alignment of these standards with their curricula, too.
  • PHYSICAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT: AERO standards alignment with curriculum.
    The teachers have adopted new PE standards and worked with their curriculum to align these new standards with the curriculum.
  • WORLD LANGUAGES DEPARTMENT: WLC Action Plan Work.
    The World Languages teachers worked on the Action Steps that they presented in their Secondary World Languages and Cultures Action Plan in order to have a list of proposals - recommendations for the coming years.

Model United Nations February 12 - 14

Secondary students participated in the annual MUN competition at Anatolia College in Thessaloniki. Pinewood’s very strong MUN team represented Jordan and Angola. In addition, several members were part of International Court of Justice Advocates. A special congratulations to Antonios Zarkatzias ’16 for winning Honorable Mention for his work in the Security Council and to Maria Poimenidou ’16 and Niya Kafedzhiyska “17 for winning their court case as Ethiopia in the International Court of Justice. Thank you to Mr. Ian Harrington for his advisorship of the Pinewood MUN team.

National Honor Society Induction Ceremony 2016 February 17

The NHS Induction Ceremony is a celebration of scholarship, leadership, service and character among our Secondary student body. Congratulations to the 14 students who were inducted into Pinewood’s Chapter of NHS this year. Mr. Peter Baiter, Pinewood’s Director from 1982–2004 joined us as keynote speaker. Mr. Baiter was an ideal speaker to address our students as he is a graduate of Princeton University and the parent of two children who were inducted into Pinewood’s Chapter of NHS in the ‘80s. Mr. Baiter chose to focus his speech on the competitive and challenging place of college admissions, but ended by reminding students to follow their passions no matter what sorts of hoops and hurdles they are forced to jump through and over in order to get accepted to the universities of their choices. To read a transcript of Mr. Baiter’s speech, visit the National Honor Society page of our school website.

Pinewood Book Week February 22-26

Each year, Pinewood celebrates everything literary during Book Week. With the generous time and organization of the EYP teachers, Elementary teachers, Secondary English Department and Library support, we enjoyed many very special events for our students, all of which shared the goal of instilling the joy of reading and writing into the hearts and minds of our students. In the Early Years, students enjoyed reading The Gruffalo stories, Elementary students created beautiful book banners (now hanging in the Elementary hallway) from some of their favorite books, dressed as their favorite fictional character and enjoyed a presentation by our own Ms. Konstantina Kapanidou, Visual Arts teacher, about her most recently illustrated children’s book and the role of the illustrator in creating a story and Elementary Greek classes created informative posters about the importance of reading. In the Secondary School, Grade 10 students performed a highly charged excerpt of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Grade 9 students presented literary analyses of books read from the gothic genre and Grade 6 students, who were learning about the importance of characters in fiction, presented their favorite characters from a book or movie and explained what we can learn about humanity from those characters. In addition, several students read their own publications from this year’s We Are Writers! Thank you to all of our teachers for inspiring our students to read and write!

German School Sports Tournament February 24-26

Pinewood participated in the German School sports tournament this year with Girls’ Volleyball, Boys’ Soccer and the Cheerleading Squad. Although our teams did not place this year, our students’ dedication to playing their best, sportsmanship towards all participants and visible school spirit are things to be commended. Thank you to the Cheerleaders for your support and fantastic performances, too. Also, thank you to the families who came out to support our teams.

Rare Disease Day February 29

Rare Disease Day takes place on the last day of February each year. According to the Rare Disease Day website, the main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. Since Rare Disease Day was launched in 2008, thousands of events have taken place throughout the world. One of those events this year was organized by our very own Pinewood Grade 5 students. Under the leadership of Kalypso Isaidou, the students created informational posters to post around the school and held a very nice bake sale to raise money to be donated to the Rare Disease campaign! Thank you to Kalypso and her Grade 5 classmates for bringing this important campaign to the forefront of our minds. 

Meredith O’Connor, Anti-Bullying Spokesperson, at Pinewood March 2

Singer, songwriter and anti-bullying spokesperson Meredith O’ Connor visited Pinewood to present her anti-bullying message through pop music. Meredith, who is from New York, tours around the world to sing songs with messages like, ‘be yourself’, ‘stand up for what you believe in’ and ‘embrace your weirdness’. In describing her music, O'Connor says, "My music is definitely pop, and at first had a country feel. Since I was a child actress in the musical theater world, it is influenced by that too, with a bit of rock. I want to keep my songs interesting and different, but still catchy. The song, 'Just the Thing' is about accepting who you are, and loving what makes you, you. It is a fun upbeat track, and has a similar message to it like the game does, but the game is more of a ballad or anthem. 'Just the Thing' is lighter and fun. It can be to a boyfriend or girlfriend, or to a best friend that really gets you. When I wrote it I was thinking about that, and close relationships with people who love you for your weirdness.” You can listen to Meredith’s songs on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/Meredithter

ICT Integration Workshop: i2Flex March 11

We were delighted to welcome Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, ACS Athens President, and Dr. Maria Avgerinou, ACS Athens Director for Educational Technology & eLearning, to the Pinewood campus last week. Our colleagues from ACS Athens led an interactive seminar on the innovative blended teaching methodology of i2Flex for our Secondary teachers. The event addressed 10 of our faculty in Middle and High school divisions, and focused on what it takes to successfully implement i2Flex from the perspectives of leadership, instructional design, professional development, and evaluation. Specific classroom examples from various ACS Athens classes were shared. Our teachers were asked to bring a lesson plan to the session and participated in a hands-on activity on how to make the transformation from a traditional face-to-face lesson to a blended (i2Flex) one. Our teachers left the session inspired and with a sense of confidence about how to proceed with the integration of technology into the teaching and learning environment. Survey results from the workshop will be shared later. Thank you to Ms. Natalie Pinakidou for organizing the workshop for our teachers and for her leadership as a co-chair of the ICT Action Plan team.

Dr. Vatopoulou – Sexuality Education Program March 11

At Pinewood, we recognize that an effective PreK-12 comprehensive sexuality education program is an important part of every child’s schooling. As such, this goal is part of the Student Services Action Plan, which focuses on student life skills support in the form of health education and formal presentations and seminars for students in PreK-12. With this goal in mind, we were delighted to welcome Dr. Anastasia Vatopoulou to Pinewood to survey and present the topic of sexual health to our Grade 9 and 10 students. Dr. Vatopoulou’s support is so very valuable in working towards adopting, implementing and institutionalizing comprehensive sexuality education programs at Pinewood that are research-based, medically accurate, age-appropriate and support sound student decision-making. I thank Dr. Vatopoulou for her collaboration on this initiative. 

Carnival Party March 11

Our annual Carnival Party was a great success again this year. Students in the EYP and Elementary enjoyed games and a costume contest for best original costume in the gymnasium. All in all it was a fun celebration for our students. A very big thank you to the Elementary teachers and the EYP/Elementary parents who put everything together to create a memorable experience for our young students! 

ROOMS - Pinewood IB Visual Art Exhibition

Young visual artists from Pinewood exhibited at TABYA artworks they created during their International Baccalaureate Visual Arts course. The artists have explored a variety of subjects and challenges in order to create multi-layered artworks experimenting with techniques of painting, digital art, photography and printmaking.Using TABYA’s separate spaces, the exhibition “ROOMS” was an attempt to display both the distinction between the different methodologies that these artists used, as well as the links between the subjects explored. Marialena Dionelli, a second year student, displayed a mature group of artworks exploring the subject of movement with links to the Spiritual. All first year students, Anna Gjoleka, Inna Gjoleka, Sofia Nikolaidou, Marianna Petra-Calfacacos, Maithili Rajput, Sibora Ramizi and Anastasis Tziatas, have explored subjects of Self-portraiture, social and political issues such as terrorism and refugee inclusion, along with female stereotypes and visual deception. Congratulations to our IB Visual Arts students for their articulate discussions about art during the opening night. Also, thank you to Ms. Konstantina Kapanidou, our IB Visual Arts teacher, for curating the exhibition, preparing the students with such passion and for collaborating with the other Arts Department teachers in innovative ways. 

STEPS – Pinewood IB+ Dance Performance

With close to 100 student performers and countless choreographies, young dancers from Pinewood performed in the 3rd annual IB+ Dance Performance with commitment and creative flair again this year. Our IB Dance students, Katerina Asteriadou, Aigli Dapi, Juliet Rheault, Olga Ziaka, Dimitris Biskas, Mria Daskaloudi, Kalina Dimitrova, Hannah Johnson, and Georgia Rheault, performed final pieces as part of the requirement for their IB diploma while all other Secondary grade levels performed pieces learned during PE class. As I referenced from “Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning” both during the Art Exhibition and the Dance Performance this weekend, we are delighted to provide opportunities for our students with authentic learning experiences in the arts that engage their minds, hearts and bodies in ways that make learning real and meaningful for them. Indeed, we believe, as this report identified decades ago, how involvement in the arts provides unparalleled opportunities for learning that enables students to reach for an attain higher levels of achievement. Kudos to Ms. Christina Pagidou for her tireless efforts to bring dance into the Pinewood curriculum in creative, cross-disciplinary ways. 

Making Music Matter at Pinewood – Mikis Theodorakis

In Pinewood’s ‘Making Music Matter’ campaign to make music ‘visible’ this year, March’s Composer of the Month is Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. I invite you to visit the bulletin board in the reception area of the main building or the reception area of the EYP to learn about Greece’s best-known living composer. And, if you are at school between 8:00 – 8:30 in the morning or 3:00 – 4:00 in the afternoon, you will hear the composer’s music playing in the reception area.

Notable Upcoming Events

Ear Exams for EYP & Elementary March 15-16

As part of our Student Services Action Plan to provide specialist examinations for our students, Dr. Thomas Vlachonasios, Consultant and ENT Surgeon, will be visiting Pinewood School on Wednesday and Thursday of this week to conduct ear examinations for EYP and Elementary students. A report will be sent home with your child after the examination this week.

Pan-Hellenic Forensics Tournament March 17-20

This week, our Forensics Team, made up of 17 high school students, will travel to Athens to compete in the annual Pan-Hellenic Forensics Tournament. Our students will be competing with students from private schools throughout Greece. Thank you to the following teachers and parent for preparing our students for success this year: Mr. Ian Harrington, Ms. Athena Yannoulis, Mr. Takis Oikonomopoulos and Mr. Kingsley Johnson. You may be wondering about “Forensics”, i.e., what is it? For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, forensics competitions are contests between individuals or teams in various argument and advocacy skills. Participation in Forensics helps students become effective communicators and builds debate skills, essential skills for life. Our students will be competing in the following events this weekend:

  • Impromptu: Students are given a topic, usually a single word or phrase that may be a person, thing, well-known saying, a less well-known quotation, current event, or an object. They then compose a speech based on the prompt. Impromptu speeches generally run about four to six minutes in length.
  • Debate: Debate is a team event that advocates or rejects a position posed by the resolution. The focus of the debate is a clash of ideas in a persuasive manner that can be understood by a “lay” judge. Good debaters should display logic and analysis. They should use evidence when needed. They should win their case and refute that of their opponents. They should communicate effectively, using the fundamentals of good speaking.
  • Duet Acting (Comedy): Duet Acting involves two people, two chairs and a script. Each acting pair performs an eight-minute scene, typically using only two characters. The pieces may be either serious or funny, and the extensive use of movement is permitted.
  • Original Oratory: In this category, a student writes an original speech on a topic of his/her choosing which is either informative or persuasive, memorizes it and presents it orally to the audience.
  • Oral Interpretation of Literature (Comedy & Drama): Oral Interpretation is close to, but is not, acting. The student sits in a chair and reads from a literary source (book or other manuscript) and tries to express the author’s intent through his/her expressions in voice and tone.

Greek Independence Day Assembly March 24

You are cordially invited to attend our annual Greek Independence Day Assembly. Our students in Elementary, Middle and High School will be presenting poems, songs, dances and other presentations in commemoration of Greek Independence Day, which is held on March 25 each year. Our Greek Department, including Ms. Vicky Tzima, Ms. Amalia Spiliakou, Ms. Filiana Zafeiriadou, Ms. Sophia Konstantinidou, have designed the event to celebrate our respect for Greek culture. In addition, the Music Department, under the direction of Dr. Gundega Smite, has prepared students to share selections from the Composer of the Month, Mikis Theodorakis. We hope you will be joining us for this annual celebration.

Pinewood Science Day April 6

Science Day is a school wide celebration of the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that is hosted by the Science Department each year. All students in Grades 1-12 will have the opportunity to display scientific projects that they have been working on and parents are invited to come in to listen to the multiple student presentations taking place throughout the day. In addition, each year, the Science Department, under the guidance of Ms. Georgia Paliouris, invite a guest scientist to serve as the keynote speaker for the event. This year, we are delighted to welcome Dr. George Dimitrakopoulos, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Division of Solid State Physics, Aristotle University. The title of Dr. Dimitrakopoulos’ talk is, “Light and Innovative Nanomaterials: The Story of Compound Semiconductors” and is sure to be an innovative presentation of his work in the field of Electron Microscopy. All parents are invited to attend all parts of the day’s celebration of the sciences, including the student awards ceremony for best science projects, followed by the keynote speech, at 13:50 in the school gymnasium.

Administrative Activity

Mr. Dimitris Terzidis, Secondary Principal, Mr. Costas Kois, EYP/Elementary Principal and I had the distinct opportunity to travel to Luxembourg on March 10-13 to attend the European Curriculum and Teacher Leadership Summit hosted jointly by the International School of Luxembourg and Rubicon International, an educational leader in curriculum mapping and professional development. While there, we attended sessions for school leaders about articulating the curriculum process, keeping the written curriculum active, relevant and unified, developing inquiry in the elementary classroom and aligning curriculum to assessment data to facilitate learning. In addition, we arranged for a consultation with Rubicon International as we embark on a new school wide curriculum mapping project to ensure that our curriculum is aligned to our standards, assessment and teaching and learning environments.

The Marketing Committee is working diligently on initiatives to market two areas of our school to the local community: Early Years Program and IB. In order to achieve our objectives, Ms. Alkioni Kloussiadis and the committee have designed special-interest flyers to be distributed throughout the Thessaloniki area in efforts to raise awareness about the rich programs that we offer to 3-year olds, 4-year olds and 5-year olds as well as the dynamic International Baccalaureate Program that we offer to students in Grades 11 and 12 (the final two years of high school). In addition, the committee will begin preparing a Library Dedication and Naming in memory of Pinewood Librarian Mary Glyn Waddill Hick from 1969 – 1995. As taken from her obituary, Mary Glyn was a woman with a huge heart and a bubbling enthusiasm for life. She could make friends anywhere, regardless of age or language barrier…These qualities would prove invaluable, as life took her from the little town in Eastern North Carolina where she was born to thirty-two years in Thessaloniki, Greece. Her career was spent as the librarian at Pinewood, where she served as librarian, mom, counselor and friend to thousands of students over the years. Using her degree in Library Science and a passion for her vocation, she built the Pinewood Library into the largest library of any international school in Europe [at the time]. More information to follow for the dedication.

Directly related to enrollment initiatives, the Finance Committee is working on budget proposals for the 2016-2017 school year. A budget proposal or proposals will be presented at the April Board of Directors meeting for review and vote. In addition, re-enrollment billing information will be sent to all returning families as we begin to prepare for pre-payment collections for next year.

The Facilities Committee is working on several initiatives. Firstly, we are looking into all recommended actions from the re-accreditation visiting team report, which includes safety features in the Science Laboratory and Art Studio, items related to the entrance of the school and requests from faculty. In addition, we are putting together a grant proposal for added security equipment from the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools.

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, President of ACS Athens, will be joining us in June as the Commencement Speaker for the Graduating Class of 2016. Dr. Gialamas has a close friendship with Pinewood as his children attended Pinewood and he served on the Pinewood Board of Directors during his time in Thessaloniki as Provost of the American College of Thessaloniki. Dr. Gialamas, who has been President of ACS Athens, holds a B.Sc. in mathematics & Physics, an M.Sc. in Statistics an M.A. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Mathematics (Knot Theory). He is currently working closely with Pinewood for several initiatives, one related to student services and the other related to integrating technology into the teaching and learning environment. A full biography will follow as we get closer to the commencement date in June. 

 

 

Dr. Giampapa's February Director's Report


Enrollment

Total Students 270

Events of the Month

Grades 4 & 5 Fieldtrip to the Galarian Palatial Complex        [January 21]

As part of our Host Country Studies program, under the leadership of Ms. Amalia Spiliakou, students in Grades 4 and 5 traveled downtown to the Galerian Palatial Complex. The buildings that were part of his complex include the Rotunda, the Triumphant Arch, and the Royal Palace. Thessaloniki, thanks to Galerius’ building program, became a splendid city, one of the most impressive in the Roman Empire. The Rotunda and the Triumphant Arch are very well preserved and our Pinewood students visited both of them. Visit our school website for more information about this trip and accompanying photos.

Secondary Midterm Exams      [January 25-29]

Students in Grades 6-12 completed midterm exams during this week, covering material from the start of the school year until the halfway point in the year. Quarter 2 and Semester 1 report cards and comments are currently available in Sycamore.

Secondary Quarter 3 Begins     [February 1]

Quarter 3 began in the Secondary school. This marks the halfway point in the school year.

Grade 7 Fieldtrip to Thessaloniki Olympic Museum      [February 2]

In the words of Ms. Amalia Spiliakou, our Host Country Studies teacher, “Visiting the Olympic Museum of Thessaloniki was pure JOY, and a great cultural experience for our Grade 7 students. Their points of view help us better understand what Baron Pierre de Coubertin said back in the early 1900s: May joy and good fellowship reign, and in this manner, may the Olympic Torch pursue its way through ages, increasing friendly understanding among nations, for the good of a humanity always more enthusiastic, more courageous and more pure.” The museum’s educator guided our students through the exhibition, encouraging them to be inquisitive, imaginative and active. For more information about the trip and photos, visit our school website.

Contest of the Mathematical Association of America     [February 2]

All Grade 10 Pre-Calculus students and Grade 11 Mathematics IB1 SL students participated in the annual AMC 10/12 Contest of the Mathematical Association of America this year at Pinewood. The AMC10 is a 25-question, 75-minute, multiple-choice examination in secondary school mathematics containing problems that can be understood and solved with algebra and geometry concepts. The AMC12 is a 25-question, 75-minute, multiple-choice examination in secondary school mathematics containing problems that can be understood and solved with pre-calculus concepts. This contest is a great opportunity for students to challenge themselves in Mathematics and is one in a series of examinations (followed by the American Invitational Examination and the USA Mathematical Olympiad) that culminate in participation in the International Mathematical Olympiad, the most prestigious and difficult secondary mathematics examination in the world. More information about the contest can be found at:  http://www.maa.org/math-competitions/amc-contests/amc-1012

Pinewood – ACS Athens Cooperate for Educational & Diagnostic Testing

During the week of February 1–6, Pinewood hosted a team of two specialists from ACS Athens, Mrs. Chris Perakis and Mrs. Cynthia Ouaijan, to conduct educational testing at Pinewood as part of our development of inclusive student services at the school. The visit is the first stage of cooperation between Pinewood and our sister school in Athens. Mrs. Perakis is an educational specialist and the Vice President of the Professional Special Education Society of Greece. She also serves on the IB Special Education Needs (SEN) Committee and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Education Committee for Learning Differences. Mrs. Ouaijan works as a clinical psychologist and a diagnostician in Athens. Together, they spent the week at Pinewood conducting a first round of testing for select students and led a workshop for the faculty on differentiated instruction. Further information about the development of our cooperation and our commitment to student services will follow. For more immediate information about educational testing at Pinewood, please feel free to contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Stavroula Vasiliadi (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), our in-house educational specialist, or your child’s teacher or advisor.

Making Music Matter at Pinewood - Tchaikovsky

In Pinewood’s ‘Making Music Matter’ campaign to make music ‘visible’ this year, February’s Composer of the Month is Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky. I invite you to visit the bulletin board in the reception area of the main building or the reception area of the EYP to learn about this composer of the late-romantic period, some of whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. And, if you are at school between 8:00 – 8:30 in the morning, you will hear the composer’s music playing throughout the school building.

Pinewood Participates in Harvard Caring Schools Initiative – 2nd Year

This year, for the second year in a row, Pinewood's Secondary Division is participating in the Harvard Caring Schools Initiative, a survey and research-based study aimed at helping schools improve school climate and helping them focus on more than academics. This fall's survey results, from surveys administered to students in Grades 6-12, parents and teachers, have arrived and have been shared with all faculty and are available for all to see upon request. These results will be part of the data used by the Student Services Action Plan team in their work on improving inclusiveness practices at Pinewood.

We Are Writers – 2nd Edition

Pinewood’s second edition of We are Writers, a publication of student writings from Grade 1-12, is hot off the press! This year’s edition is noticeably longer than last year’s debut edition so a special note of thanks is due to Ms. Stavroula Vasiliadou, Ms. Helen Dalakas and Ms. Marsha Shkurina, the three who organize the publication each year. In addition, a special thank you to all the teachers who have inspired our students to write. As I say in the Foreward of this year’s edition, “As educators, we work consciously, yet naturally, to inspire our students to use their imaginations to do things like create the magical stories found herein. A very important part of inspiring young learners is believing in a growth mindset. In other words, at Pinewood, we believe that our students’ qualities are things that they can cultivate through their efforts. They simply need to be given the opportunity to grow through application and experience. We Are Writers is one of the ways that children are given the opportunity to develop their creative writing skills. Thus, I am delighted that so many more students chose to contribute a story to our book this year!”

Notable Upcoming Events

Winter Music Concert February 9

The Annual Winter Music Concert will be held at 19:00 on this evening directly following the Board meeting. Under the direction of Gundega Smite, students in Grades 1-12 have the opportunity to perform musical pieces of their choice. I encourage you to attend this lovely event, which is also a fundraiser for the Music Department. This year, we have a record 35 participants, including the introduction of our new School Band, who will perform several pieces.

Faculty Professional Development ½ Day – EARLY DISMISSAL DAY February 12

Students will be dismissed early on this day (12:00) in order for faculty to participate in specifically designed professional development projects and workshops to promote growth and improvement in our teaching and learning environment at Pinewood. In brief, the teachers will be involved either in IT integration in the classroom or curriculum design and standards work.

Model United Nations February 12 - 14

The annual MUN competition at Anatolia College in Thessaloniki is being held this weekend. Pinewood’s very strong MUN team will be representing the countries of Jordan and Angola. In addition, several members will be International Court of Justice Advocates. Thank you to Mr. Ian Harrington for his advisorship of the Pinewood MUN team.

National Honor Society Induction Ceremony 2016 February 17

I am delighted to announce this year’s NHS Induction Ceremony, which will be held on Wednesday, February 17 at 12:00 in the school gymnasium. At this time, selected students in Grades 10-12 will be inducted into Pinewood’s Chapter of National Honor Society, a society based in the United States to promote enthusiasm for scholarship, desire for service, promotion of leadership and the development of solid character. This year, we welcome Mr. Peter Baiter, Pinewood’s Director from 1982 – 2004, as our keynote speaker. Mr. Baiter is an ideal speaker to address our students as he is a graduate of an American university (Princeton University) and the parent of two children who were inducted into Pinewood’s Chapter of NHS in the ‘80s.

The four criteria on which NHS is built and around which students are selected are defined as follows:

  • Scholarship: Students must have a cumulative grade point average of 85% or higher from grade 9 and maintain that average through grade 12.
  • Service: This quality is defined as the voluntary contributions made by a student to the school or community, without direct financial or material compensation to the student.
  • Leadership: Student leaders are often viewed as those students who are resourceful, good problem solvers, involved in and promoters of school activities, idea contributors, dependable and who are both organized and organizers.
  • Character: The student of good character can be said to be one who upholds principles of morality and ethics; is cooperative and responsible; demonstrates high standards of honesty and reliability; shows courtesy, concern and respect for others; and is a good citizen.

Pinewood Book Week February 22-26

During the week of February 22nd, we celebrate literature, reading and all things books! With the generous time and organization of the EYP teachers, Elementary teachers, English Department and Library support, we will have several very special events for our students, all of which share the goal of instilling the joy of reading into the hearts of our students. More information will follow from your child’s classroom teachers or English teachers.

German School Sports Tournament February 24-26

Pinewood will participate in the German School sports tournament this year with Girls’ Volleyball and Boys’ Soccer. Look for the schedule of matches, which will be sent out promptly, for dates and times. I encourage you to come out to support our Pinewood athletics! After our 1st place in Boys’ Volleyball in the Aegean Sports Tournament earlier this year, our student-athletes are looking to take another win!

Administrative Activity

With the redesign of the offices and the redesign of the personnel responsibilities in the offices, our work seems to have become more plentiful yet more productive at the same time.

Some of the work that administration is working on with our Admissions, Marketing & Communications Officer [AMCO] – Ms. Alkioni Kloussiadis, includes (1) the redesign of the Next Week at Pinewood News to all parents, faculty and staff each week, (2) an easy-to-complete electronic Intent to Re-enroll Form for current families, (3) a beautifully designed Pinewood marketing e-newsletter to be sent monthly to the community and prospective families, (4) building of the Pinewood alumni database, (5) organization of a fundraiser and (6) standardized procedures for the Admissions Office.

Some of the work that administration is working on with our Administration and Finance Officer[AFO] – Ms. Petroula Rosiou, includes (1) detailed data collection and analysis of financial information over the last 10 years, (2) the creation of a Dis-enrollment Form and procedures, (3) updating of Ministry of Education procedures, (4) reorganization of all student records from 1950 to the present and (5) grant opportunities for the school.

In addition, we have received a draft Final Report from Middle States Association for our school’s re-accreditation until 2023. Thus, we are working on putting together our Strategic Plan for the 12 areas of school operations: Mission, Governance & Leadership, School Improvement Planning, Finances, Facilities, School Organization & Staff, Health & Safety, Educational Programs, Assessment & Evidence of Student Learning, Student Services, Student Life & Student Activities and Information Resources. In parallel, our work on the 4 Action Plans for English Language Literacy, World Languages and Cultures, Student Services and Information & Communications Technology continues.