Persia Summer Institute:
From Ancient Persia to Contemporary Iran
  July 15-17th, 2008
Alderwood Conference Center
Irvine, California

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Share your Persian Culture at School

Recently I attended the Persian Summer Institute for Irvine Unified School District teachers. As an educator and counselor in an Irvine High School District, I knew this would be very informative and helpful for me to relate better to my Persian students and their parents. What I did not expect was to be thoroughly moved by the history of the Persian Culture and completely welcomed as if I were a family member. The program included an overview of Persian Culture, History, Language, Poetry, Islam, Iranian Geography, Art, Dance, Music, and of course, food. I completely enjoyed each component and felt like we could have spent many more days learning more, but as our time was limited to three afternoons, the program covered the essentials. I came away from the experience enriched, invigorated, armed with several books, posters and teaching strategies, and ready to share some ideas with students and parents.

Persian people value education. That being said, I find it very valuable information as a high school teacher and I will do all that I can to pass that message along to the staff and teachers at our school. As parents, I suggest that you pass that message along to the teachers of your children as soon as you can when the new school year starts in September. Teachers need to know that you are encouraging the students at home and are willing to contact the teacher if you foresee a challenge in school and they need to feel like they can contact you if they need to as well. Just send an e-mail and let the teacher know you will be paying attention to your students' progress.

Persian people value education. That being said, I find it very valuable information as a high school teacher and I will do all that I can to pass that message along to the staff and teachers at our school. As parents, I suggest that you pass that message along to the teachers of your children as soon as you can when the new school year starts in September. Teachers need to know that you are encouraging the students at home and are willing to contact the teacher if you foresee a challenge in school and they need to feel like they can contact you if they need to as well. Just send an e-mail and let the teacher know you will be paying attention to your students' progress.

Persian students and parents need to get involved. Your student might be good at playing an instrument, math, science, sports, or leadership. Encourage them to get involved in school activities as soon as school starts and when they do, go to the events if you can. Everyone benefits when parents get involved, the parents, students, teachers and staff and the overall culture of the school changes and grows to be more multicultural.

I have learned that the Persian community has so much to offer our school communities with the deep roots in poetry, historical pride, the sense of educational importance and family values. So, get involved with your child's school and with the community in general and share your rich and wonderful culture.

Lisa Miller
School Counselor & Educator
Irvine Unified School District





From Ancient Persia to Contemporary Iran

Learning about the diveerse culture and history of Iran, in order to better understand our Persian students, was the goal of the PACE (Program to Advance Cultural Education) Summer Institute, held July 15, 16, and 17 at Yale Loop Conference Center in Irvine. The program hosted a group of Irvine teachers, elementary through high school, thanks to the efforts of Khayam Persian School Foundation, Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF), and Fullerton International Resources for Schools and Teachers (FIRST).

A wide host of Persian scholars, teachers, and artists enlightened and entertained us with demonstrations, stories and performances that told of Iran's opulent and varied history: governmental, religious, linguistic, poetic, and artistic. All of the presenters offered informative and interesting discussions, and were open to dialogue with their audience. The fine dancing and music, though created by contemporary artists, were rooted in Persian artistic traditions. A group of elementary school girls from Khayam Persian School performed traditional dances. We were also treated to a delicious array of Persian cuisine, courtesy of Caspian Restaurant.

I think the most touching part of the program was the "Coming to America Oral Histories". A group of our hosts spoke of their personal and quite adventurous journeys to becoming Americans. It brought to light something we sometimes forget: that America is a country of immigrants, and Persians are adding a rich and intricate dimension to the texture of American culture. I hope the program will continue in years to come.

Martha Faghani
Elementary Art Specialist
Irvine Unified School District


More comments:

"My knowledge of Persian culture, Iran, and the people is greatly enhanced."

"The BEST part was when the presenters gave their personal stories; I loved how so many were based in love, desire, and passion for a new life, being so goal driven."

"The music and dance in this seminar was unforgettable!"

"I really enjoyed when we were able to discuss with parents their role in the school. I gained a better understanding of both students and parents... It was a wonderful experience!"

"I bragged about this class to other teachers and each time noted that although I was paid to attend, it was done in such a way that I felt I should pay. It was the highlight of my summer break!"

"I've learned so much about Persian culture. Thanks to all the presenters and the people who helped organize this event."

"I'm so glad I took this workshop. My father was Persian and it was so helpful to learn more about his culture. The speakers were very engaging and informative. It was a great experience and I will definitely try to go to the next workshop."

"The Persian dinner was excellent... what a special treat!"