Italian language experiences unexpected Renaissance at South Middle School
by Sally Ho
June 26, 2013
Spanish still may be the runaway favorite for students learning a foreign language in Illinois, but one northwest suburban teacher has nearly quadrupled enrollment for a less ubiquitous language –Italian.
Lisa Sasso, an Italian teacher at South Middle School at 400 S. Highland Ave., started the foreign language program in the 2002-03 school year with a $25,000 grant and 40 students. A decade later, Sasso has had a full course load with 120 students and a part-time teacher who takes on 30 more kids.
Sasso started in Arlington Heights School District 25 as a French teacher. She saw an advertisement for the Learning for the Future grant and took it to her school principal, who encouraged her to apply.
The grant is funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was processed through the Consulate General of Italy in Chicago and the non-profit Italidea, according to Roberto Pennazzato, the consulate's education office director.
In the metro area, 52 public and private schools offering Italian are connected to Pennazzato's office. The grants are renewable but are meant to be seed money to establish a program at the elementary or middle school level. It's an Italian government effort that dates back to the late 1990s across the globe, consulate officials said.
Read the full article at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/arlington_heights/ct-tl-arlington-heights-d25-italian-class-enrollme-20130626,0,599409.story