The Annual Institute of the American Classical League took place from June 29-July 1, at the beautiful campus of Washington University in St. Louis, MO. The weekend, while very hot and oppressive, was nevertheless impressive in terms of content and rich pedagogical discussions born out of each of the sessions. Many of the sessions were recorded and made available to remote participants concurrent with the Institute and through the month of August.
At the State of ACL meeting, President Jennie Luongo began by reading the ACL mission statement and acknowledging the lands of native peoples around St. Louis.
Jennie Luongo then introduced the opening speaker and the second-ever Latin ACTFL Teacher of the Year, William Lee. Will opened by taking the time to thank the members for everything they do each day and for making Latin and Greek accessible to students. He then spent time passionately advocating for making the teaching of world languages, especially Latin, not just a priority in education, but one that starts earlier in the educational timeline than it currently does, as is the case across many other countries.
He concluded his opening remarks with the reminder to “Share your passion for world languages and love every student for who they are.”
Jennie then spent time acknowledging the various scholarships, both student and educator, given out by the various ACL funds. It is always impressive to see the long list of awards and grants that are available to ACL members and their students.
Jennie then recognized CANE member Maureen Lamb for having received the 2022 SCS Excellence in Teaching Award at the K-12 Level as well as the 2022 ACTFL/IALLT Award for Excellence in World Language Instruction Using Technology.
The two other major awards announced were Monica Frederick as the winner of the 2023 Keely Lake Advocacy Award and Nathalie Roy as the winner of the 2023 Charles Humphreys Award for Innovative Pedagogy.
The American Classical League has grown its membership to near pre-Pandemic levels, sitting at 1747 at the time of the Institute.
ACL is adopting a new strategic plan focus which will include new PLC monthly zoom meetings, outreach to exam givers (who aren’t members), and outreach to invited leaders in classics community to share insights, perspectives, and other thoughts both on the organization and the state of the teaching of Classics in the country.
ACL is also examining dues structure to be more accessible to members at various stages of their careers and the Board of Governors have engaged a professional company to make virtual offerings more vibrant and extensive for members.
During this past year, the BoG took the time to both overhaul current documents and created new operating manuals for the BoG and various committees.
The Visibility and Advocacy Task Force has created a plan to engage colleagues and peers at non-Classics conferences as well as other government functions, similar to the work that ACTFL does for world language teaching as a whole.
As a result, a financial sustainability task force produced 6 recommendations which included reducing travel expenses related to NJCL meetings, phasing in increased dues over a 10 year period, conducting a long range financial plan with the finance committee, and conducting a profitability review for the annual institute.
In terms of financial statistics, at the time of the meeting, the investment funds totaled $1,210,956.03. However, the organization as a whole is operating at a substantial loss each year.
Lastly, ACL is creating a task force to look at ways to overhaul the website and make the content more intuitively accessible to members.
Finally, at the closing banquet on Saturday night, longtime CANE Executive Committee member Mark Pearsall was recognized as a recipient of the ACL Merens Award for his decades of tireless dedication to the American Classical League and to Classics teaching across the country. CANE recognized Mark for similar efforts by awarding him the Barlow-Beach Distinguished Service Award in 2021.
Next year’s Annual Institute will be held at the University of Arizona in Tucson, June 26th – 29th. As always, I encourage CANE members to consider attending the American Classical League’s Institute for professional (and personal) growth.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Ballestrini, Executive Secretary for CANE and Delegate to the American Classical League.