The Villadom Times – October 20, 2004
by Jennifer Grusco
The Ho-Ho-Kus Public School and Northern Highlands High School recently hosted Maria Grazia Fumagalli, an eight grade teacher and textbook author from Milan, Italy. Fumagalli coauthored the Ci@oit textbook series for elementary and middle school students, and is currently writing a textbook series for high school students.
Fumagalli teaches social studies, geography, italian, and science to eight graders in Monza. During her 10-day tour of the northeastern United States, she also visited Montclair State University, Rutgers University, Vernon School, PS 122 in Queens, NY, and schools in Harford and New Haven, Connecticut.
“This was a very important trip for me, to see how our materials are being used in American classrooms, as well as to provide insights to educators on what we are trying to accomplish with our series of learning materials”, Fumagalli said. “There is a high level of innovation and student response in the Ho-Ho-Kus and Northern Highlands classrooms. It’s a very impressive program.”
According to Rina Miraglia, who teaches Italian and Spanish in Ho-Ho-Kus, the textbook series in the first of its kind, having been written by italians for American teachers.
“The teaching materials are communicative based and follow the guidelines set by the US National Standards of World Languages Acquisition”, Miraglia said.
Miraglia spearheaded the effort, to introduce Italian into the Ho-Ho-Kus world language curriculum. She developed the curriculum for the successful program, which is now in its third year. As part of her efforts, the educator applied for and has received $33,00 in grants from the Italian American Committee on Education.
Through her association with the IACE, she learned of a scholarship program for a 10-day educational tour of northern Italy, during which she met Fumagalli. As paret of the scholarship, Ho-Ho-Kus received a set of 62 textbooks, CD-ROMs, and teachers guides.
“It was invaluable to have Maria Grazia visit our school and observe our program”, said Ho-Ho-Kus Public School Principal Alexis Eckert”. We are extremely pleased with the growth of our Italian program in just a few years. It’s a credit to RinÀs hard work and dedication that wÈve come so far, so fast, and at a tremendous cost savings for the district.”