The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO) is working closely with the New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission (NJIHC) on the national rollout of an equitable, diverse and inclusive curriculum model that uses heritage as a guide to better educate U.S. students in both public and private schools. It is titled: The Universality of Italian Heritage.
Through this K-12 infusion model, Italian cultural content in all subjects in grades K-12 can be integrated into a school district’s existing, approved curriculum. Every lesson begins with an Italian theme then expands to incorporate the heritage of all students.
COPOMIAO is inviting state commissioners/superintendents, dozens of dioceses, and Vatican officials to introduce this model to as many U.S. schools as possible. The lesson plans have been carefully designed and thoroughly tested, and they’re available online at no cost.
“We are confident that The Universality of Italian Heritage will open the door to an educationally stimulating and rewarding experience for teachers and students throughout the country,” said Cav. Gilda Rorro Baldassari, Ed.D., who chairs the NJIHC Curriculum Development Committee. “Italy, through its art, philosophy, innovation and culture, heavily influenced and accelerated the development of the modern world, so it seems fitting that we use Italian heritage as a catalyst to create more enriching curricula for every student.”
In addition to its lessons, the curriculum has implemented its AMICIZIA (Friendship) program. This “Gemellaggio” (twining) program takes students on a journey seldom traveled in education. It provides personal contact experiences, an international bilingual experience, and a vehicle for “piloting” new lessons through zoom.