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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

The Brady Brothers may only be 15, but they are already making a name for themselves. Sea Cliff twins Dylan and Cody Brady are determined to make their mark on the music industry and follow through with their number one passion. The North Shore High School juniors spent their entire summer working on their EP, You + Me, which was released last month on iTunes, and Dylan has also been pegged for a “Make Your Mark” segment currently airing on the Disney Channel.

The Brady Brothers have music in their blood, and being twins, also feel that collaboration they have as a duo works better than any other band combination they’ve experienced thus far in their careers.

 

Dylan, who says he has been singing since the day he was born and took up the drums at age 6, notes, “We know each other so well; when we’re on stage, if I want to do something different, I can look at him a certain way and he’ll know what I’m saying.”

In an unusual change of venue, the Glen Cove City Council held its Sept. 23 meeting at the Webb Institute instead of City Hall. Before the meeting, more than 100 residents and the council members were given a tour of the college. 

 

Mayor Reginald Spinello said,  “Keith Michel [Webb President] suggested we could use the venue for the city and I thought having a city council meeting there would be an ideal way to show off the city’s precious history. I am hoping that the Holocaust Center will also allow us the opportunity next year.” He added, “There are a few other notable places in Glen Cove to have meetings like this to showcase the city.”


Sports

The North Shore Schools Women’s Cross-Country team traveled to Canton, New York (a few miles away from Canada) to compete in the SUNY Canton Pre-State Invitational. This will be the location for the upcoming New York State Cross-Country Championship in November. Starting where they left off last season, the Vikings placed first by more than 40 points. 

Entering the season, the team had a winning streak of 76-0 in league competition and won six consecutive county championships. 

The Falcon Pride Athletic Booster Club and a generous group of alumni have hit one out of the park with their assistance in upgrading the high school softball field. 

 

Throughout the process, former and current Falcon softball players worked together for a good cause.


Calendar

Cocktail Party Benefit - October 4

Sea Cliff Mini Mart - October 5

Public Hearing - October 7


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