Heritage Language Programs - Ukrainian

T. Shevchenko School of Ukrainian Studies

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Address: 3425 Marion Cliffs Drive Parma, OH 44164

Telephone: (440) 886-3223

Web address: www.shevchenkoschool.org

Contact person

Name: Volodymyr H. Bodnar

Title: Director

Email: director@shevchenkoschool.org

Telephone: (330) 554-6429

Languages/dialects taught: Ukrainian

Grades taught: PreK-11

Program Description

Purposes and goals of the program: The goal of the program is to educate the young generation of Ukrainians of the Greater Cleveland area in Ukrainian traditions, language, literature, culture, geography, and history. The program seeks to maintain generational links and to pass along spiritual, cultural, and intellectual achievements of the Ukrainian people.

Type of program: Saturday school

Program origin: The school began in 1955 as a response to the high influx of Ukrainian immigrants in the Cleveland area. A detailed history of the program can be found on the program's Web site.


Parents’ expectations for the program: Parents expect their children to speak, write, and read Ukrainian and to know basic history and culture.


Instructors’ and administration’s expectations for the program: Instructors want to educate the Ukrainian youth and create strong connections within the community.


Students: 70 students

How the program identifies heritage speakers: The program allows students to self-identify as heritage speakers.

Possible reasons for student withdrawal: Students withdraw when their parents move to another location. Otherwise, the school has a 90% completion rate.

Students’ expectations of the program: Students come to the program wanting to learn Ukrainian to be able to communicate with relatives and community members.


Number of instructors in the program: 22 instructors

Languages in which instructors are proficient: Ukrainian

Proficiency level: Native or near-native speakers

Credentials: The majority of the instructors hold a degree in education.

Professional development opportunities instructors have: Instructors attend a two-week teacher seminar.


Total contact hours per week: 3.5 hours on Saturdays

Student grouping: Students are grouped by age.

Language skills

Skills developed by the program: Comprehension, speaking, reading and writing

Heritage language skills: Comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing


Aspects of culture taught: Geography, history, and culture

Kind of student identity program fosters: The program stresses a strong Ukrainian identity for the students.


Methodologies and instructional strategies used in the program: Educational strategies are interactive, and language is taught in a full-immersion style.


Other materials used for instruction: Textbooks and homework assignments

Technology used for instruction: Technology is not regularly incorporated.


Assessments used to evaluate students’ progress: Students are given intermediate tests and quizzes, and a final exam is administered at the end of the 11th grade.


How the program develops home/school connections or promotes parent involvement: Parents are encouraged to continue speaking the language at home, giving students extra practice and daily exposure.

Opportunities for using the heritage language and developing cultural knowledge outside the program: The community in Cleveland is host to many annual events and activities, such as the annual St. Nicholas program in December and the Commemorative Taras Shevchenko Concert in March.

What the program has in place

Financial support the program receives: Tuition, donations, and fundraisers

Assistance or funding the program would like to receive: The program would like to receive support from the Ukrainian government and the UCCA Educational Council in the form of textbooks and funds.

How students graduate or receive credit: Students do not receive formal language credits yet, though some students have received independent study credits.

Program research or evaluation: The program is evaluated for effectiveness of instruction.

Special challenges

Challenges the program has experienced: Our challenges include finding the time to develop more resources and having enough resources to become an independent school, separate from the St. Vladimirs Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral.

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