Absence of Heritage Studies in U.S. Lesson Plans Prompts Education Officials to Introduce K-12 Curriculum Infusion Model


This inclusive Italian Heritage Curriculum is a model for teaching the heritage of all students, and it meets all NJ DOE Core Curriculum Content Standards.

TRENTON, N.J., July 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — 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.


“This curriculum model will open the minds and perspectives of teachers and students who wish to elevate their classroom learning experiences,” said Judge Basil M. Russo, who leads The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO). “This program will affect positive change, and right now, we need that more than ever.” (Photo credit: Paola Giannoni)

State education commissioners, dozens of dioceses, and Vatican officials are being tapped to fuel the national rollout. 

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.

Learn more at: njitalianheritage.org

ABOUT COPOMIAO

Formed in 1975 and based in NYC, The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO) is comprised of 54 of the most influential cultural, educational, fraternal and anti-defamation groups in the nation.

ABOUT NJIHC

Chaired by Robert DiBiase and housed in the New Jersey Department of Education since 2002, the New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission (NJIHC) was formed to strengthen the cultural identity of Italians and Italian Americans. “We accomplish this through public educational programs that preserve and promote an accurate, bias-free, and non-stereotyped understanding and awareness of historical and current contributions and accomplishments of the Italian heritage,” according to DiBiase.

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SOURCE The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations

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