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North Shore Schools Drop Italian

BOE votes to implement Mandarin instead of Italian in World Language program

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.

News

History will be made on Friday as Nassau Country Club opens its grounds for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, playing host to the tournament which was last played on its greens 100 years ago. The tournament, conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA), will have 156 women from all over the world competing for the Robert Cox Trophy and the title of national champion, including twin sisters Jennifer and Kristin Coleman, whose grandfather is a member of the club. 

 

For the Coleman sisters, 21, of Rolling Hills Estates, CA, the tournament will almost be like a homecoming: they began playing golf at age 5, and have played Nassau Country Club a number of times over the years while visiting their grandfather, Daniel Coleman, who lives in Glen Cove.

A public hearing was held last week to determine the fate of hookah lounges within the city limits of Glen Cove: it was decided they shall not be allowed. The City Council and Mayor Reginald Spinello voted to ban such establishments, a move that was well received by the majority of people present; only two people expressed opposition to the measure. 

 

“These establishments are becoming rather trendy,” said Mayor Spinello.


Sports

LI-Kick, the co-ed adult kickball league based in Glen Cove, was formed a little over one year ago and is already making a name for itself on the competitive kickball circuit.  On Saturday, July 12, the league sent two teams to McCarren Park in Greenpoint to compete in a national kickball competition sponsored by Brooklyn Kickball. Teams came from as far away as Toronto, Portland and Atlanta. LI-

Kick was the only league from Long Island to participate. 

Three members of the Glen Cove Big Red Boys Lacrosse Team were honored at the Nassau County Lacrosse Coaches Association Dinner on June 11.

Pictured are Ryan Perkins, Sean Peet and  Phil Grella, who were awarded for both their play on the field and their work in the classroom. Ryan was named to the All-County Honorable Mention Team, Sean and Phil were named to the All-Conference Team. All three also received Academic All-Conference standing for their work in the classroom.



Calendar

St. Rocco's Feast - July 30

US Women's Amateur Championship - August 1

Historical  Museum Renaming - August 3


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com