Courses in Italian will be available to many more Dallas ISD students beginning this fall, says World Languages Department Director Amy Anderton, who describes the language as a logical addition to the district’s curriculum.
“Italian is a wonderful language for so many of our students who are already proficient in Spanish,” Anderton said. “Many already have a jump on the language, due to the similarities between the two romance languages.”
As of last school year, the district’s only school offering Italian was Skyline High School, where teacher Alessio Giudice instructs the only dual credit course in the North Texas area, giving students the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.
But a recent meeting between Giudice, Anderton and the representative for the Council General for Italians Living Abroad, Vincenzo Arcobelli, has sparked a partnership to support the expansion of Italian language courses at select district middle and high schools.
The expansion of Italian and other world languages is part of Dallas ISD’s “Equity Project,” which aims to increase foreign language offerings in the district’s southernmost schools. It will expand language instruction to some of the city’s most marginalized populations served by schools where currently only Spanish is offered. The project may also benefit students who continue to college since Italian studies are routinely offered in many of the area’s colleges and universities, including Dallas College, the University of Dallas, Southern Methodist University, and the University of North Texas in Denton.
The opportunity to continue the study of Italian in multiple higher education environments means Dallas ISD grads can readily attain high levels of proficiency in the language, which Arcobelli says deserves support. “My intent is to directly involve the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Embassy, and the Italian Consulate in Texas to strengthen this initiative,” he said, adding that support could take various forms, including assistance identifying qualified Italian language teachers and providing instructional materials to strengthen the district’s Italian studies program.
In the coming school year, virtual classes in Italian and German will be available at 10 campuses (Skyline, Pinkston, Molina, South Oak Cliff, Roosevelt, Carter, Adamson, Kimball, Frederick Haynes Global at Paul Quinn, and Sunset). Anderton projects 150 to nearly 400 students enrolling in Italian, with that number almost doubling in the fall of 2022. Students interested in enrolling in the new language classes should contact their campus counselors.
Welcoming the partnership, Anderton predicted strong future ties between Dallas ISD and Arcobelli to the great benefit of future Dallas ISD students. “We will have many opportunities to collaborate on multiple projects to promote the Italian language and culture in the Dallas Independent School District,” she said. “We look forward to building a wonderful working relationship with him as the representative of the Italian American community.”