Superintendent Dr. Ed Melnick’s recommendation to drop Italian as a second language was passed at the North Shore Board of Education meeting, held at the North Shore Middle School on Thursday, Dec. 13.
The decision was made after long discussion and yearlong research on implementing Mandarin as a second language. Mandarin was found to the most spoken language in the world, according to the research, while Italian did not make any list.
Research included conversations with Dr. Marc Ferris, the North Shore Middle School principal; Albert Cousins, the North Shore High School principal; and lead World Language teachers, as well as the Tri-State Report, U.S. Department of Justice, Weber Reports and results produced by college admissions offices; a survey of neighboring schools and private schools. However, residents, parents and teachers of the district felt that this research was only statistically based, and did not encompass the true quality and benefit the Italian language provides for children that cannot be gauged by numbers.
Before the action was approved, the public held the floor for approximately two hours. Dozens of parents, teachers, and students explained their passionate reasons for wanting to keep Italian in the World Language program, and to pick a less popular language to phase out.
John Laruccia, a member of the Sons of Italy and a North Shore resident, shared statistics of his own, claiming that the Latin enrollment was less than one-third of the Italian enrollment this year. He also cited the U.S. Consensus when he told the board that 35 percent of North Shore residents are Italian-Americans: the largest ethnicity group in North Shore. Laruccia also noted that Great Neck offered Hebrew because of their large Jewish population, and North Shore should adopt that mentality.
Chairman Enrio Annichiarico, of the New York State Commission of Social Justice Order Sons of Italy in America, followed Laruccia. Annichiarico went as far to say that this elimination of the language when there is such a high demand could be considered an act of discrimination against Italian-Americans’ civil rights.
Students made up an unusually high percentage of the meeting to remind the board who would be directly affected by this decision. Vaughn Ester, senior of the North Shore High School, eloquently expressed his thoughts and even brought up valid points that were original to other public comments.
Ester stated, “We don’t just speak the language, we express ourselves through Italian… The most important part of the [Italian exchange program] trip was able to communicate with my host family.”
This sparked questions on how the board intended to keep the exchange program and send students to Italy without a proficiency in the language.
After the item was approved, the crowd became outraged with how quickly the decision was made. The audience members believed their voices were unheard, and some parents threatened to vote against the upcoming budget.
Board President Carolyn Genovesi was quick to explain that this decision was not taken lightly, and they have received numerous emails, letters and phone calls about the program. She explained how the board spent countless hours weighing out the options, and felt it would be best to support the superintendent’s recommendation.
The board members said they will work to find room in the budget to allow Italian to still be offered in the high school as a graduation requirement. The Italian language will not be completely phased out—there will be an Italian Culture Elective offered in the eighth grade and two electives offered at the high school level.
Parents still felt this minimal education of Italian was not sufficient, and left the meeting dissatisfied. More details on the new phase-in process are on the district’s website: www.northshore.k12.ny.us.
Saturday, 22 November 2014 00:00
Sea Cliff author Margaret Gay Malone is one of 11 authors whose short stories have been selected for publication in the Tuscany Press Anthology in 2015.
The story, Jimmy’s Gift, centers around a boy whose generosity and selflessness put him in danger on a brutally cold and snowy day. Malone says it is based on a true story after reading a blurb in Reader’s Digest a few years ago about a 12-year-old boy who walked through the snow to help deliver food baskets to those in need; and it turned out that his family’s name was also on the list of those in need of help in the community.
Friday, 21 November 2014 00:00
Members of the Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club and their families will be treated to a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday, Nov. 25, an event that has become an annual tradition for local families.
This will be the 14th year that Andrea Correale, the president of Elegant Affairs Caterers, has donated this festive dinner, which in the past has served more 250 adults and children with a full turkey with all the trimmings followed by the always-fun ice cream bar.
I can’t even believe it’s been 14 years,” says Correale. “And so many of the same people come back year after year.”
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
The Glen Cove High School girls basketball team was invited to participate in the prestigious KSA Holiday Basketball Tournament that will be held in Orlando, FL, this December. The tournament brings to the court teams from all over the United States that would otherwise not be competing. It is held in the finest professional and amateur athletic venues around the nation with teams seeded into brackets that will provide an appropriate level of competition.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
The North Shore Women’s Cross Country Team won the Nassau County Class I Championship for the eighth consecutive year. They will be competing in the State Qualifier Competition at Bethpage State Park this month.