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College Board to Add Italian Language to Advanced Placement (AP) Program

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

NEWS-For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2003 - Italian is now part of the prestigious Advanced Placement (AP) Program for gifted high school students and will be offered beginning in the Fall of 2005.

The College Board unanimously approved the Italian Language Course for its Advanced Placement (AP) Program portfolio on June 20. The decision came after several years of negotiations led by the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the American Association of Teachers of Italian, the National Italian American Foundation, UNICO National and the Italian government. Prime movers were Matilda Cuomo and her daughter, Margaret Cuomo-Maier, M.D.

The AP Italian course and examination will give outstanding students the opportunity to earn college credit for Italian while still in high school. OSIA National President Robert Messa notes the news is "a tremendous step forward" for OSIA and the Italian American community in promoting the study of Italian in the United States. "It places Italian on the same level as such other commonly taught foreign languages as French, German and Spanish," says Messa.

The foreign languages currently offered by the AP program are French, German, Latin and Spanish. A 2002 report from OSIA, using data from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages revealed that Italian language enrollment in U.S. high schools rose 46 percent between 1994-2000 compared to Spanish enrollment, (26 percent rise). French and German dropped 2.75 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

After an official announcement, expected shortly from the College Board, a national task force will be formed to outline the curriculum, draft the AP Italian examination and identify the professional development needs for the successful implementation of AP Italian in schools throughout the country. The College Board anticipates that the first full year of instruction in the new AP Italian Language course will commence in the fall of 2005.

The Order Sons of Italy in America® is the largest and longest established national organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States. Founded in 1905, today it has 600,000 members and supporters and a network of more than 700 chapters coast to coast.