A New Latin Program: A Success Story!

We’re all used to hearing bad news: “Latin program being eliminated!”or….“I’m being reduced to half-time!”
In the current climate it’s important to hear some good news. I have some to share, and I encourage all of you to send me other positive stories to me so that I can share them to the rest of our CANE readers.
Plaistow, NH, located in southeastern New Hampshire (pop. 7600), is home to Timberlane Regional High School. About 1400 students attend Timberlane, but until this current year none of them could take Latin. That has changed. This year, six students are taking Latin in a pilot program under the guidance of new teacher and program builder, Michael (Mike) D’Angelo (University of New Hampshire, 2013). But it gets better; 25 students have so far signed up to take first-year Latin next year (and eight others will be taking “The Classical World”), and the school has made a commitment to support the program at least into the second year, and perhaps into the third. Right now, Mike is working with the administration to come up with the required standards for the Latin program, which bodes well for the future of Latin in Plaistow.
I had the pleasure of meeting the Principal, Don Woodworth, and Vice-Principal, Sandra Allaire, last December (2015). They graciously talked with me for over an hour and expressed excitement about adding Latin to their curriculum.  One of their motivations, naturally, was that Latin would add prestige to the school, but Don and Sandy also felt strongly that Latin had great potential to transform students’ academic lives.  When I had the honor of meeting the current students I learned that all of them were pleased that they had the chance to take this ancient language.  They told me that the highlight of their year came when the students summoned the courage (oh, to be young!) to contact Mary Beard and ended up having a 30-minute Skype session with the famous classicist!
Please send me any success stories that you know of, but also remember that my role is to help save programs in trouble—but we need to know as soon as possible to mobilize a response.

You may reach R. Scott Smith at the University of New Hampshire, Department of Classics, Humanities and Italian Studies
301 Murkland Hall, Durham, NH 03824 ; by telephone at 603.862.2388 (voice mail) and email,


Announcements for 27 April


  • The theme for the 2014 CANE Summer Institute is “On the Shoulders of Giants”: Greco-Roman Giants and their Modern Emulators.”  Register now!
  • May 1st is the deadline to apply for the next installment of CANE Discretionary Funds. Use it for classroom materials, a certamen machine, anything you can get long-term use from! Apply to the Immediate Past President.
  • It isn’t too early to pay membership dues for the 2014-2015 school year.



  • ”The spring meeting of CAM is Saturday, May 3, 2014 and will be held at Westwood High School (200 Nahatan St, Westwood, MA). The theme of the meeting will be “All Things Augustus” — appropriate for the year in which we celebrate (sive commemorate) the 2000th anniversary of his death. CLIPEUS also plans to hold a Prandium Latinum there!
  • The 15th Wyoming Summer Classics Institute, held in Laramie, Wyoming from June 15-20, is called “The Emperor and the Philosopher: Nero, Seneca, and Their World.” Download their flyer for more information!

Meetups and Certamina

  • CLIPEUS is running several Latin speaking meetups in Boston. Check the link for more information.
    (formerly The 2766 Certamen)
    This Certamen, held May 31st at Brookline High School, is open to any student who has not placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a Certamen in Massachusetts by April 1 of the 2013-2014 school year. All questions will be based on the National Latin Exam syllabus. There will be no final rounds: everybody will play all four rounds, with total points determining the winners. Rank pitting after the first round means that teams of similar abilities will play against each other. Register at the above link by May 12th, please!

Summer Opportunities

  • Registration for this summer’s American Classical League Summer Institute in Williamsburg, VA is now open.
  • SALVI’s Rusticatio Latin July 2014 immersion weeks and pedagogy seminars are filling up fast. Act now if you’re interested in attending!
  • McGill is offering a summer course in Classical Studies in June and July. Check out their flyer.
  • The American Institute for Roman Culture (AIRC) has a 2014 schedule for its Summer and Fall study abroad programs, and include Media Studies, Art History, and Field School Excavations.
  • Do your students ask you how they can improve their Latin? Do they ask you about summer opportunities in Latin or ancient history? Calder Classics invites students entering grades 9 through 12 to join us in Rome in July 20 – August 3, 2014. Over the course of a 2-week program, the Classics will come alive through the study of Latin, exploration of ancient and modern sites and immersion in daily Italian life. Calder’s small, personalized programs of 6-8 students allow us to provide individual instruction to each student in both Latin and ancient history.
  • Do you have a passion for Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Latin? Would you like to improve the speed and fluency with which you read Latin? Then join the immersion program at the Conventiculum Bostoniense, taught by experts in Classical and Neo-Latin from both Europe and the United States. You can also earn graduate credit, by taking one of our two week-length courses. Find more information and application materials here:


  • Latin Instructor: Hopkins School, an independent, college-preparatory day school in New Haven, is seeking a part-time Latin instructor for the grade 7 introductory course. Instructor would work in close collaboration with other teachers of the same course, using Ecce Romani, 4th edition. Qualifications: A BA, grades 7-12 teaching experience and excellent Latin language skills are strongly preferred. Post-secondary teaching experience will be considered. Master’s For more information about Hopkins School, please visit our website If you would like to apply for this position, please contact: 203.397.1001 x118 or

Conferences: Why We Need to Care 5

Last weekend, I attended SALVI’s Biduum Virginianum.  As we sat around dinner talking on Friday night, one of the participants mentioned that he was going to NECTFL in March.  Another participant looked at him incredulously.  “Do you teach another language too?” he asked.  The NECTFL-goer shook his head no.  “Then why,” asked the other participant, “would you go to a modern language conference?”
The truth is that Latin is not always accepted or even noticed by other foreign language teachers.  Yes, it is starting to get better, and already has at some schools, but we are still, mostly, in our own game.  Yes, it is important to go to the Classical conferences, such as CANE, but more Latin teachers need to start going to the Regional conferences, like NECTFL.  But why?  Why should we take time to go to a conference that doesn’t pertain directly to us, people ask.  Here is my response to that:
Last year, I attended ACTFL in Orlando, Florida.  Encouraged by the fact that Bob Patrick was the first ever Latin Teacher nominee for Language Teacher of the Year, Latin teachers turned out in force.  As a result, there were more sessions that pertained directly to Latin.  Teachers of other languages remarked over and over again, to each other, on Twitter, and to me directly, “Wow, there are a LOT of Latin teachers here.”  We were noticed.
There are techniques we can learn from the Modern languages and there are techniques they can learn from us.  TPRS, Whole Brain Teaching, Reading strategies, connecting across the languages, cool summer programs…the list goes on and on.
There are vendors who do not necessarily have products for Latin…yet.  If we want cool products for Latin, too, we must visit the vendor tables and talk to the vendors, and show them that there is a need and a market for these products and how their products could be adapted for Latin.
Latin may be a bit strange to other teachers, who believe it to be “dead.”  We need to make it come alive.  We can do this by speaking it, and learning the “Modern Language Strategies”  to demonstrate this to the Modern Language Teachers and our Administrations.  (HINT: Many administrations get very excited when a Latin teacher asks to go to a Foreign Language conference and makes the argument that they want to learn more about language teaching!  Often, you can score some money!)
Let me put this challenge to you:  Go to a Foreign Language Conference. (NECTFL is in BOSTON this year–March 27-30!!)  Take a serious look at the program and try, with an open mind, to attend one session about a teaching technique that is not specifically for Latin.  If you do not come away with something useful, try another one.  I can make this promise to you:  You will go home with something interesting–whether you needed a reminder or it is totally new to you.
We Latin and Classics teachers may be the “odd” bunch, but we are by no means the ugly stepchildren.  Getting everyone else to see that as well requires taking an interest in ALL language pedagogy and working with the other languages.  We can just keep talking about how no one notices Latin and that we don’t have interesting products for Latin, or we can do something about it.  It’s time to start changing everyone’s thoughts about Latin.  So, Sodales, take up the challenge!