Manhattan’s First Italian Dual Language Program

In this episode of CUNY TV’s “Italics,” host Anthony Julian Tamburri, dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, speaks to the two “tiger moms of Italian bilingualism,” Benedetta Scardovi and Stefania Puxeddu, about a four-year effort to implement the first Italian dual language program in Manhattan. The program will be at P.S. 242 Young Diplomats Magnet Academy in Harlem, a neighborhood that was once home to a vibrant Italian community.

According to a parent coordinator at the school, organizers are awaiting confirmation from the Department of Education on whether the program will include a pre-K component. The program will currently start at the kindergarten level in September.


  1. Ms. k. e. gibson says:

    This is and will not be the first Italian language class in Manhattan public schools. My class was assigned the study of Italian over 50 years ago at
    J H S 159 in East Harlem on East 119th St. There were only 2 languages taught there Spanish/Italian in the 7th grade. The 2 highest 7th grade classes were selected to study a language. My teacher was a classic old world woman who wore her hair in a long braid which she wrapped around her head formed a “crown like” image. She was short, a bit stocky and walked with a slight limp. She was very stern. She wore black dresses with a white lace
    collars. I think her name was Miss Principe. I still remember some phrases.

  2. This is not a regular foreign language class where the teacher teach you the alphabet, numbers, verbs and so on. I believe it will be different by the way is structure. The classes are going to have half italian kids and half american so they can interact with each other at all time. Also they will have 2 teachers in the class, italian and english and they will teach one day entirely in italian and the other entirely in english.

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