About Us

 

 


 

The Educational Council of UCCA is the central organ of the Saturday Schools of Ukrainian Studies. It provides direction, control, information and textbooks for the schools under its jurisdiction. At present, 1999/2000, it has 35 schools with 400 teachers and 2,600 students under its supervision. The Educational Council was organized in 1953 during a school Conference. These delegates from 22 schools decided to form a central body that would provide supervision and give directions for the maintenance of the Ukrainian private school system. The goal of the Ukrainian school became "the preservation by the American Ukrainians of the Ukrainian language and the culture of their forefathers. Thus they will become fully worthy citizens of their new country the United States". The heyday of the Ukrainian schools were the 1960’s with 76 schools; students and 400 teachers. The first chairman of the Educational Council was Prof. Edward Zharskyi, who served 1953-54. He was followed by M. Kalyna (1954-61), E. Zharskyj again (1961-1977), followed by R. Drazhniowskyj (1977-83) and E. Fedorenko from 1983 until the present. The networks of Ukrainian Saturday schools stretch from Boston, MA to Los Angeles, CA. Most of them have a program from kindergarten to the eleventh grade, while five schools have K-12 program. The subjects taught stress heavily the Ukrainian language, both spoken and written, literature, history, geography, culture. Religious instructions is provided but its optional.

 

Our Students

Children go to school from age 6 through 17. Every Saturday, during the school year, they are instructed from 9:00 AM to 1:00 or 1:30 PM in Ukrainian subjects. At the conclusion of their studies, the students pass written and oral exams (the matriculation) and are honored by the Ukrainian community at a special banquet, sort of a "prom". The curriculum gives the students a solid preparation in Ukrainian language and culture which allows them to become leaders in the various civic political organizations. Over 30,000 young Ukrainians studied these schools and over 7,000 graduated. Now many of them work in responsible positions here in the U.S. and also in Ukraine, for various government organizations or American businesses. Some states give the graduates of these schools college language credits automatically or upon passing of a qualifying exam.

 

Our Facilities

The schools of Ukrainian Studies are currently held in facilities of daily parochial or public schools, which allows for adequate classroom space, libraries and support facilities. Teachers are mostly graduates of American universities who are professional teachers or academic in everyday life. Recently, new teachers are recruited from new emigrants that came from Ukraine since 1991. Among them are many qualified teachers with Ukrainian University degrees and experience of teaching in Ukrainian schools since independence 1991. Also, at present new students of Saturday schools come from the ranks of new immigrants.

 

Curriculum

The whole program of the Ukrainian Studies is planned for twelve years. About 33 Saturdays a year, with four and four and a half hours of instruction a week, the student is exposed to 1,600 hours of instruction in Ukrainian language, literature, history and culture. Geography, religion, folklore singing and crafts are ancillary disciplines. Also, the children are encouraged to participate in school festivals twice or three times a year, where they recite poetry, sing songs, perform roles and enjoy themselves. These schools are visited twice a year by inspectors appointed by the Educational Council to supervise and control the program of institution.

 

Activities

The activities of the schools are supported by parents' groups and interested individuals in the Ukrainian community. Support for the school comes from the fund raising activities that parents' groups organize since tuition alone is inadequate to operate the schools. In return, the schools participate in the cultural activities of the community, cooperate with youth organizations and provide graduates for leading positions in the community. Despite the presence of thousands of alumni in the general public, the response of the community to the Ukrainian schools is adequate, if not exactly overwhelming.

 

Books

The preparation of textbooks and materials for the use of these schools is another important aspect of the Educational Council’s activities. In the first thirty years, over 80 textbooks were prepared and 200,000 copies printed. In the last four years alone, twenty textbooks were updated and reprinted. Also six new textbooks were published. In addition, a series of ten abridged classics of Ukrainian literature were approved and published.

 

Teacher's Seminars

Teacher training is an important task of the Educational Council. Therefore, since 1985, a Teacher Seminar is organized in the summer. It lasts for two weeks and is held at the comfortable resort of the Ukrainian National Association at Kerhonkson, N.Y. There over twenty teachers take part in lectures, seminars and talks which enhance their knowledge of Ukrainian subjects. The lectures are given by academic and invited guests from Ukraine. Several hundred teachers have already taken advantage of these seminars and many of them became principals of their schools in U.S. and Canada. Once a year Regional Teachers Conferences are held. Biannually, National Conferences for teachers of Ukrainian schools are organized.

 

The "Ridna Shkola" magazine

The Educational Council publishes a journal RIDNA SHKOLA three times a year, also a bi-monthly column in the leading newspaper SVOBODA to inform the general public of the status of Saturday schools and its own activities. Its members cooperate with the leading educators in Ukraine and have sent thousands of textbooks to help design a new Ukrainian schools system to educate democratic and free market oriented citizens. Its present chairman Prof. Eugene Fedorenko has been elected member of the Academy of Pedagogy in Ukraine as recognition for his work in the Educational Council for the Ukrainian education throughout the world in the U.S., the work of the Schools of Ukrainian Studies have been given high marks. A former superintendent of the Chicago Public School System, Mr. Hanrahan addressed a graduating class in Chicago with the following: "You perform a useful task for the U.S. by learning your native language. In the present time all Americans should learn another language for without another language you are not truly complete. So, be an example for the rest of American youth." The activities which the Educational Council continues to perform benefit the school of Ukrainian Studies with its thousand of students, they provide the Ukrainian community with intelligent graduates and the United States in general benefits from a large pool of bilingual Ukrainian-American citizens.