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Gediminas Lithuanian School 
Institution name: Lithuanian Educational Council
Address: 126 N Lake St.
Mundelein, IL 60060
Telephone: (847) 630-0098
Web address:
Name: Jurita Gonta
Title: Principal
Email: jurita@gontai.us; glm.ilinojus@gmail.com
Telephone: (847) 630-0098
Purposes and goals of the program:
Gediminas Lithuanian School (GLS) works to foster young American Lithuanians’ (immigrants or children of immigrants) love for the Lithuanian language, traditions and culture, to encourage their love for Lithuania, to develop their creativity, and to provide students with multiple ways of learning through educational and enrichment experiences and opportunities. GLS provides students with an opportunity to learn and maintain the Lithuanian language and culture through play, art, songs, grammar, celebration of traditions, friendships with local community members, travel and participation in Lithuanian festivals, sports championships, and camps. GLS provides parents with networking opportunities. GLS works to preserve Lithuanian as it is often said to be the most conservative living Indo-European language.
Program origin:
GLS was established in 2002 as a community program. It was initiated by USA LC Illinois Waukegan - Lake County Chapter members.
Program funding:

The program is sponsored by the Lithuanian Foundation of Chicago,

 IL ( http://www.lithuanianfoundation.org), 

Lithuanian - American Community Inc. 

Lithuanian Educational Council of the USA Inc.

Additional funding comes from tuition, the Kazickas Family Foundation ( www.kff.lt ), local businesses of, private donations, tuition and fundraising.

Languages/dialects taught:
  • Lithuanian
  • Program type:  School-Based
         Grades taught:
         Grades taught:
    Average enrollment: 70
    Total contact hours per week: 4
    Times per week classes meet: 1
    When meetings take place:
    Every Saturday, starting in September, ending in May
    Where meetings take place:
    Rented facility, Catholic church building
    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 Lithuania’s culture, history and geography, and to know Lithuanian songs, dances and traditions. Parents are looking for other children and families with whom they can interact in Lithuanian and relate to.
    Parents' or guardians' involvement in the program:
    Parents volunteer their time and/or resources for the annual school year opening ceremony, All Saint’s Day, Fall festival, School's Birthday, Christmas celebration, Lithuania’s Independence Day, Užgavenes, Easter, Mother’s day or Family day and End of the School year celebrations. Parents help their children with their weekly homework and reading assignments. They also serve as parent monitors, once or twice per school year, to ensure order and student safety during recess.
    Instructors' expectations of the program:
    To motivate students to love their families and Lithuanian heritage, to motivate them to make an effort to learn about it and preserve it, to learn Lithuanian. For students to complete their weekly homework assignments and be prepared to participate in class, to be proactive in the Lithuanian community on the local, national and international levels. Having in mind how fragile Lithuania's Freedom has been, to value Freedom, Democracy and Peace. To participate in raising and educating global citizens with love and respect for their own cultural identity.
    Number of instructors in the program
    Full-time instructors: 11
    Part-time instructors: 1
    Volunteer instructors: 0
    Languages in which instructors are proficient:
    Lithuanian, English, Russian, Polish
    Educational backgrounds and credentials of instructors
    (e.g., diploma, bachelor's, master's, doctorate, certificate):

    Bachelor's in unrelated fields, bachelor's in Linguistics, Education, Lithuanian Language education from Lithuania's Universities.
    Professional development opportunities instructors have:
    Lithuanian Educational Council of US (http:/www.svietimotaryba.org) organizes teacher continuous education seminars.
    Professional development opportunities instructors need:
    Curriculum, lesson planning and course development
    Students' expectations of the program:
    For Lithuanians as members of a small nation, learning languages has been a pure necessity for survival. Students from the American Lithuanian Community are proud to learn Lithuanian as their second, third or even fourth language. As a result students are able to communicate with their relatives in Lithuania, to understand history and culture, to participate in summer camps and festivals, form friendships with people they can relate to. These programs give opportunities to become informal ambassadors of Lithuania.
    Student background
    First-generation immigrants:
    Second-generation immigrants:
    Third-generation immigrants:
    Children of interethnic marriages:
    Children of interethnic adoption:
    Indigenous students:
    Students' countries of origin:
    US, Lithuania
    How the program identifies heritage language speakers:
    Teachers determine student's written and oral skills of the Heritage language.
    Average enrollment: 70
    Approximate percentage of students who complete the program:
    Approximate percentage of students who continue to study the heritage language after completing the program:
    Possible reasons that students continue to study the heritage language after completing the program:
    So far no GLS graduates have been studying the Lithuanian language in a college or a University. Although, those who become active members of the American Lithuanian community continue using and improving their Lithuanian language.
    Total contact hours per week: 4
    Times per week: 1
    Student grouping (e.g., proficiency level, grade, age):
    by language aptitude and age
    Language skills taught in the program (e.g., reading, writing, speaking, and listening):
    reading, writing, speaking, and listening
    Aspects of culture included in the program (e.g., history, literature, traditions):
    History, Geography, Lithuanian traditional dance, singing, literature, ethnoculture
    Other content taught in the program:
    Instructional methodologies used in the program:
    Refer to the webpage of the Lithuanian Educational Council (http://www.svietimotaryba.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):
    Manuals and workbooks:
    Self-designed materials:
    Films, videos, and DVDs:
    Standardized tests used:
    Other assessments used:


    Connections with local schools or other organizations:
    GLS students participate in Dainava Lithuanian Heritage summer camp, Lithuanian song and dance festivals, Neighborhoods Around the World Evert at Navy Pier. Students take part in essay contests organized by the Lithuanian Educational Council of the US.
    Credit received from formal education system:
    Types of support received (e.g., financial, time from parents or volunteers):
    Parents' primary expectation is for their children to be able to understand, speak, read, and write Lithuanian, be familiar with Lithuania’s culture, history and geography, and to know Lithuanian songs, dances and traditions. Parents are looking for other children and families with whom they can interact in Lithuanian and relate to. Local businesses and private individuals give charitable donations. Kazickas Family Foundation and Lithuanian Foundation through the Lithuanian Educational Council also give annual grants for the program. Ministry of Education and Science and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania through the Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in IL occasionally provide with teaching material.
    Additional support desired:
    Any expertise that would help to develop a well rounded Heritage Language Community program covering all six categories: curriculum, instructional practice, assessment, district support, professional practice and parent/community involvement.
    Challenges faced by the program:
    1. It has been difficult to integrate non-fluent students of all ages into classes for fluent students. It is difficult to meet every student's needs with only 3-4 class levels and a limited number of teachers and staff. 2. It is hard to gain recognition by all public school districts. These type of programs in general are not viewed with enough respect and attention to them. 3. It would be helpful to have a resource center/website that would cover all necessary areas/criteria of the program and would provide tools for easier administration of the program.
    Updated by Carmen Winkler on 10/20/2017 per request.