University of Delaware Partners with ACS Athens
On Sept. 27, 2016, UD’s President Assanis and Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, president of the ACS Athens (American Community Schools), signed an agreement between CEHD and ACS. As a result of this new partnership, CEHD will offer opportunities to our graduate and undergraduate students to travel to Greece to student teach, serve internships and conduct research, and visiting scholars from both countries will collaborate on the development of education curriculum, instruction and research. Read more about our students teaching/learning abroad through this international partnership.
Fiona and Lauren
During their 2017 Spring Semester, senior ECE majors Fiona Tumulty and Lauren Montagna conducted their student teaching placement in ACS Athens for twelve weeks!
Fiona taught in a junior kindergarten class, similar to Pre-K in the states, in the mornings and in the afternoons is worked with a special education teacher with a range of elementary-aged students with various special needs.
Upon first hearing about the opportunity to work with ACS in Athens, Fiona knew she wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. “Immediately I was like yes- sign me up!”
Lauren worked with a first grade classroom and a science laboratory. “The school was such a lovely welcoming place to go to. You really change as a teacher, as a person,” Lauren said. “You start to recognize how education is so impactful across cultures and how it can bring us all together.”
ECE students interested in student teaching abroad should contact the HDFS Advisement Center.
How the partnership began
A team of Human Development and Family Studies professors and graduate students traveled to Greece in May 2016 where they visited local schools and universities. Research on early childhood education is highly respected in this country and our faculty felt students and faculty from both locations would benefit from a partnership.
During their trip, they visited with ACS and solidified a collaborative relationship. ACS partners with several U.S. universities, providing a unique student teaching experience for college students in a number of disciplines.
In October 2016, the CEHD team revisited academic sites with an eye to forming closer research partnerships at the University of Patras and University of Athens. They then attended and presented at the 2nd Annual Intercultural Forum hosted by the University of Patras.
The ACS Athens campus is situated on 50,000 square meters of land and offers farm-to-table dining options for its student body. Innovative in many ways, the school pursues a constructivist approach to education, using “an American curriculum with the spin of freedom,” noted Gialamas during his visit with current UD students.
First graders spend time in the chemistry lab, fifth graders explore geometry through M.C. Escher paintings and ancient sites, and eighth graders volunteer each month at local refugee camps. “Any idea you have, you can do it here,” he added.
According to Gialamas, the school also serves a diverse student population of more than 56 nationalities, giving UD’s CEHD students the opportunity to gain a truly global perspective on education. “All of your static impressions of labeling will go away here,” he continued.
Bahira Trask, Chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, said the opportunity to intern and teach abroad will be invaluable to future educators and counselors as they move forward in their careers. “It changes you fundamentally,” she remarked. “You will never be the same.”
ACS Athens has been recognized by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools as one of their highest performing schools, and the first international school to achieving their highest level of protocol called “Sustaining Excellence.”