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Detroit Ziburio Lithuanian School 
Institution name: Divine Providence Lithuanian Catholic Church
Address: 25335 West Nine Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48033
Telephone: (000) 000-0000
Web address:
Name: Vida Pekorius
Title: Principal
Address: 30217 Acacia Avenue
LivoniaMI  48154
Email: vpeck3@yahoo.com
Telephone: (734) 367-9979
Purposes and goals of the program:
The goals of the "Ziburio" Lithuanian School are to teach children of Lithuanian descent to read and write the Lithuanian language, as best they can, and to help them become more familiar with their Lithuanian heritage through lessons in literature, history, geography, customs and traditions, folk dance and song.
Program origin:
The first Lithuanian Saturday school in the Detroit metropolitan area was started in 1949 by recent immigrants from Lithuania.  (This  year we celebrate our 65th anniversary!)  These immigrants realized the importance of imparting their language and culture to their children.  The idea for the school was born during a meeting of the Lithuanian American Roman Catholic Federtion "Ateitis" (the "Ateitininkai").  The first principal was Elena Arbaciauskas.
Over the years the location and name of the school has changed. The current "Ziburio" School in Southfield, MI has existed since the construction of the new Divine Providence Church and cultural center in 1973.  Enrollment has fluctuated over the years, but we have been strengthened by the recent wave of immigrants from Lithuania and continue to look forward to the future. 
Program funding:
The "Ziburio" Lithuanian School is able to cover all basic operational expenses through tuition payments, school fundraisers and occasional donations.  Funding for "discretionary" projects and programs has come from the Lithuanian Foundation, the Lithuanian Educational Council of the USA, the Detroit chapter of the Lithuanian American Community and the Kazickas Family Foundation.
Languages/dialects taught:
  • Lithuanian
  • Program type:  Community-Based
    Average enrollment: 72
    Total contact hours per week: 4
    Times per week classes meet: 1
    When meetings take place:
    Saturdays, from 9 am until 1 pm
    Where meetings take place:
    At Divine Providence Lithuanian Catholic Church in Southfield, MI
    Parents' or guardians' expectations of the program:
    Parents' primary expectation is for their children to be able to understand, speak, read and write Lithuanian, be familiar with the culture, history, geography, to know some Lithuanian songs, folk dances and traditions. Parents are also looking for other Lithuanian families with whom they and their children can socialize and interact.
    Parents' or guardians' involvement in the program:
    Parents are expected to present aspects of their Lithuanan heritage at home too. They assist their children in completing weekly homework and other assignments. They volunteer their time and resources in events and fundraisers during the school year. Some belong to the parent association, which organizes the Halloween party, Christmas pageant, end of year celebration and other school events.
    Instructors' expectations of the program:
    Instructors hope to motivate their students to become more interested in their Lithuanian heritage. As they get older, the hope is that they will become more involved in the Lithuanian community on a local, national and international level, perhaps even visiting Lithuania. We are trying to raise and educate global citizens with love and respect for their own cultural identity.
    Number of instructors in the program
    Full-time instructors: 14
    Part-time instructors:
    Volunteer instructors: 1
    Languages in which instructors are proficient:
    English, Lithuanian, Russian, Polish
    Educational backgrounds and credentials of instructors
    (e.g., diploma, bachelor's, master's, doctorate, certificate):

    All but one have at least a bachelor's degree. Many have master's degrees in education or related fields, as well as previous related work experience.
    Professional development opportunities instructors have:
    The Lithuanian Educational Council of the US organizes teacher continuous education seminars. It also manages a website with resources for lesson planning.
    Professional development opportunities instructors need:
    Additional curriculum, lesson planning and course development is always useful.
    Students' expectations of the program:
    Students hope to improve their Lithuanian language skills.  They are then able to better communicate with their relatives in Lithuania, to understand Lithuania's history and politics, to participate in Lithuanian festivals, to form friendships with other Lithuanians, to travel to Lithuania, and to participate in internship programs in Lithuania.
    Student background
    First-generation immigrants: 39%
    Second-generation immigrants: 15%
    Third-generation immigrants:
    Children of interethnic marriages: 44%
    Children of interethnic adoption:
    Indigenous students:
    Others: 2%
    Students' countries of origin:
    United States, Lithuania

    How the program identifies heritage language speakers:
    Teachers determine the students' written and oral language skills
    Average enrollment: 72
    Approximate percentage of students who complete the program: 98%
    Approximate percentage of students who continue to study the heritage language after completing the program: 0%
    Possible reasons that students continue to study the heritage language after completing the program:
    So far none of our graduates has continued studying Lithuanian in a college or university.  However, many become active members and even leaders in the Lithuanian Community, where they continue to use and improve their Lithuanian language skills.  And many travel to Lithuanian, as well as participate in the Lithuanian Internship program (LISS).
    Total contact hours per week: 4
    Times per week: 1
    Student grouping (e.g., proficiency level, grade, age):
    Students are grouped by grade.
    Language skills taught in the program (e.g., reading, writing, speaking, and listening):
    reading, writing, speaking, listening
    Aspects of culture included in the program (e.g., history, literature, traditions):
    history, geography, literature, traditions and customs, folktales, arts and crafts, folk dance, songs, festivals, social and cultural norms
    Other content taught in the program:
    Lithuanian organizations active in the USA Current events/politics in Lithuania
    Instructional methodologies used in the program:
    refer to the webpage of the Lithuanian Educational Council (http://www.svietimetaryba.org/newsite/gaires.htm)
    Levels of language proficiency reached by the end of the program (e.g., ACTFL proficiency levels, language tasks able to perform):
    ACTFL (advanced low and mid), CERF B1 and B2
    See website for the Lithuanian Educational Council of the USA
    Manuals and workbooks:
    See website for the Lithuanian Educational Council of the USA
    Self-designed materials:
    Each teacher uses some of her/his own designed materials as lessons warrant.
    Films, videos, and DVDs:
    As available
    Under the discretion of our music and folk dance teachers.  Students are usually preparing for an upcoming event of program - Christmas, Lithuanian Independence day, Spring/Easter, Mother's day.  They also learn songs and dances for upcoming Lithuanian song and dance festivals.
    Teachers use a laptop, power point, internet, etc. as lessons warrant.
    Standardized tests used:
    Other assessments used:
    Teachers develop their own assessment tools based on what has been covered in their class and the capabilities of their students (which may vary year to year).
    Connections with local schools or other organizations:
    Our students participate in various Lithuanian summer camps in the USA and Canada (Dainava, Neringa, Kretinga). Many belong to the "Ateitininkai" or Lithuanian Scouts Association. They participate in Lithuanian song and dance festivals. They and their families attend events sponsored by the Detroit chapter of the Lithuanian American Community, as well as fundraisers at our church. They participate in art and writing contests sponsored by the Lithuanian Educational Council of the USA
    Credit received from formal education system:
    Types of support received (e.g., financial, time from parents or volunteers):
    Parents volunteer their time and/or resources for many of our school events and fundraisers. They assist with weekly homework and other assignments. Financial support has been received in the past from the Lithuanian Foundation, Kazickas Family Foundation, Lithuanian Educational Council of the USA, Detroit chapter of the Lithuanian American Community.
    Additional support desired:
    Any expertise that would help develop a well rounded Heritage Language Community program covering curriculum, instructional practice, assessment, district support, professional practice and parent/community involvement would be helpful.
    Challenges faced by the program:
    It is difficult to integrate non-fluent students in with fluent students, or with those at levels in between. Along the same lines, it is difficult to find teaching manuals and materials that are appropriate for all levels. It is hard to gain recognition for our language skills in the local public school system.