A letter From H.E. Ambassador Bisogniero

(Oct 29, 2013)

A letter from H.E. Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero presenting the AP Italian Language and Culture Strategic Plan for 2013-2014

 

The Ambassador

Embassy of Italy 

  Washington

 

The reinstatement of Italian in the AP Program, which started with the 2011-12 school year, was an essential step for the propagation of the Italian language in the United States and, consequently, also for the enhancement of the linguistic and cultural heritage of which Americans of Italian origin are so rightly proud.

As we all know, the restoration of the AP Italian exam required the collaboration of multiple parties in order to obtain the necessary resources. The AP, thus, proved an essential factor in the collaborative relationship between Italian-American organizations and associations, and Italian institutions and companies, united as never before in order to attain a common goal.

The restoration of the program, however, is not the destination but rather the foundation of an important effort aimed at promoting the diffusion of Italian in schools, as well as the formation of teachers and instructors.

In these two years since the reinstatement of Italian in the AP Program, the Observatory of the Italian Language – consisting of representatives of the Embassy and of the organizations that most contributed to the reintegration of our language in the AP Program - has undertaken various activities in support of the program.  Among these:

incentives to 103 teachers for their participation in AP Italian training initiatives, in cooperation with prestigious Universities;
creation of a dedicated website : www.usspeaksitalian.org;
publication and distribution of over 50,000 promotional brochures;
agreement with Alitalia for discounted fares to Italy for AP Italian students;
63 scholarships to students for Italian courses in Italy, offered by Eduitalia and the University for Foreigners of Perugia;
15 grants to teachers for courses of Italian, and teaching of Italian, in Italy offered by the University for Foreigners of Perugia;
initiatives and events in the Embassy and Consulates to re-launch the AP Italian program;
contests;
training initiatives with the ACTFL,  sponsored by the Italian Language Foundation (ILF);
constant data monitoring for the compilation of a comprehensive database of students studying, teachers teaching, and schools and universities offering, Italian.


These efforts have been remarkably successful and the increased participation in the AP Italian exam, as reflected in the 2013 data, has been comforting. In May 2012, 1806 students had taken the exam; in May 2013, the number of students rose to 1,980, an increase of 8.8%.

However, as you know, the agreement with the College Board has us committed to having 2,500 students, yearly, taking the AP exam by the 2015-16 school year, or risk jeopardizing the entire program.  Hence, “Quota 2500” is still far away.

Therefore, we cannot sit idly by: a step away from victory, we cannot and indeed must not fail to, once again, offer all our support in order to achieve our goal in a secure, concrete and definitive manner. It is for this very reason that the Observatory has approved a new strategic plan (attached) that outlines measures that we must all undertake, together, in order to ensure the ultimate success of our efforts.

 

These measures can be summarized as follows:

greater mobilization at the local level via the creation of local branches of the Observatory;
outreach to those schools that don’t yet have Italian programs, and support to the existing Italian programs (meetings with the local school authorities; supply of materials and subsidies; sponsorship of grants/scholarships; etc.);
“adopt a school, a class, a teacher” initiatives: if every organization would sponsor, as of now, the opening of 2-3 new classes of Italian, we would see a marked increase in the number of students taking the AP Italian exam in the coming years;
sponsorship of AP level Italian courses: this would allow for a plethora of course and exam offerings in many high schools where AP Italian is not offered, thereby making the goal of 2,500 students taking the exam in 2015-2016 feasible;
monetary incentives to students: so that they take the AP Italian exam.

       The Consular Offices and our Cultural Institutes are ready and available to answer your questions, provide advice and coordinate the various activities.

Our goal this time is that much closer and accessible: let us join our forces, and victory shall be ours. We count on your generous help and support.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Claudio Bisogniero


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