AD 2002 was a good year for the ancient world in the Gulf region. Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas all report new activities and greater attendance at meetings. As evidence of this, there has been an increase in requests for CPL funds from our region this year. There is a general sense of optimism, thought he concern about lack of Latin teacher continues to bother everyone. Training Latin teachers should be one of our highest national priorities. Fortunately for the Gulf region, all the states show a very healthy relationship between the college/universities and high schools, including innovative teacher training/certification programs at the University of Southern Mississippi, University of Texas at Austin, and Austin College. These programs are helping teachers and future teachers prepare for the classroom and certification, and we would like to see more of them spring up in the future. Perhaps CAMWS could sponsor a session with department chairs from college and university Classics departments about opportunities for instituting programs to help teachers in their state.
2002-2003 has been an active year for Classics in Louisiana. In the Spring of 2002, the LCA had a successful and well attended meeting in Baton Rouge. In the Fall, the Louisiana classical Association had one of its largest gatherings ever. The meeting was graciously hosted by LSU and featured Professor Sandy McKay as a special guest speaker. In January 2003 the APA and AIA also met in New Orleans, where the meeting was well organized and well attended.
Teachers continue to work hard to promote their programs on both the college and secondary levels. There still remains the problem of having too small a pool of new teachers on the secondary level. It would also be good to see Latin grow more in some areas of the state where it is weak or totally absent from the curriculum.
There has been a marked increase in classical activities this year in Mississippi. We have seen a expansion of classics programs at the high school level, although there is still a need for Latin teachers in the state. A group of dedicated Latin teachers in the Jackson area worked hard this year to revive an interest in JCL, and in February a statewide convention was held at Madison-Ridgeland Academy. In November several high school and university faculty members presented a program on Roman Spain at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Foreign Language Association.
All reports indicate that university and college programs in the state likewise continue to grow. At the University of Southern Mississippi a new program in intensified Latin has begun which is designed specifically for graduate and advance undergraduate French students. One of the aims of the program is to enable prospective French teachers to be certified in Latin as a minor field and thus to meet the demands for new classics programs in the area.
The only application for funds this year was for a certamen machine to restart a JCL program at a school north of Austin.
Advertisements for CAMWS, reasons to join, promotional funds available, scholarships, etc, were advertised in the last issue I edited of Texas Classics in Action. “A Word from your CAMWS State VP,” which I wrote for the new editor, has yet to appear in print.
The State VP continues to maintain the website for the Texas Classical Association and keep a page devoted to CAMWS on it.
Latin Teacher Placement; State of Latin
Unfortunately, it has proven difficult in 2002 to obtain from the Texas Education Agency the sort of date provided in the past. But the state of Latin in Texas is generally the same: more of demand than teachers. If a program closes, it is probably not from funding cuts but from the simple, sad fact that a qualified replacement could not be found. Even as early as last spring, as principals began to email the State VP for information regarding potential teachers. It was clear that the problem was not going to get any better unless we actively did something significant.
It was from this realization that the idea for National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week came about. As the parent of this brainchild, the Texas VP naturally felt obligated to nurture and raise it, developing the NLTRW website and creating downloadable materials (brochures, flyers, bookmarkers, etc) for anyone to be able to use. With luck, Texas and many other states will be able to benefit from these efforts in years to come. Lindzey finished two brochures with a list of regional universities with teacher training; more will be completed by next year. The two that she did finish covered the states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia on one and Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas on the other. The website and materials can be found at www.promotelatin.org/nltrw.htm.
Word of CAMWS is out there and has been for since the beginning of Lindzey’s term as VP. There will always be difficulties in attracting secondary teachers in Texas as long as CAMWS and the Texas State Junior Classical League Convention are scheduled on the same weekend. CAMWS members will continue lobbying for different dates, but unfortunately the spring calendar is full of UIL band festivals, competitions and more, thus it becomes difficult to find a free weekend for JCL. As long as Texas secondary teachers do not comprehend the value of CAMWS the situation will remain the same. Lindzey recommends wholeheartedly to future Texas State VPs that this be a focal point with regard to recruitment of new members.
Scholarships & Awards
Lindzey has always printed information about and encouraged people to apply for scholarships.
Unfortunately, not enough people apply even still.
She has decided to suggest, based on decisions made at the recent GCA meeting, that TCA needs to a) initiate its own teaching award for Latin/Greek teachers (instead of relying on TFLA) and b) the recipient(s) should be automatically nominated by the awards committee for the CAMWS teaching award as well as TFLA (if they are members) and even SWCOLT and ACTFL. This year, the second year in a row, Latin will go without a Teacher of the Year from TFLA for lack of nominations. Latin goes unnoticed because TCA does not brag about its own good folks enough. Latin teachers in Texas are modest about their tremendous accomplishments at a time when they need to let the world know just how incredible these Latin teachers are.
General State of Latin in Texas
Texas is divided into six areas because our state is so vast. (Even still, El Paso finds it more convenient to compete in New Mexico’s JCL than to travel across west Texas to join the rest of us!) Most areas hold their JCL convention in mid to late February or early March. The Texas State Junior Classical League convention is usually held the first week in April. Last year Texas boasted the largest ever state JCL convention with over 2000 students participating. That is larger than the number of students allowed to attend this summer’s National Junior Classical League convention at Trinity University in San Antonio. (The ACL Institute was held at Trinity two summers back.)
JCL is always worth mentioning in Texas because it is the driving force for many programs that keep numbers high and the demand for teachers strong. Texas regularly sends highly talented and competitive certamen teams to nationals. Certamen is almost as serious a sport here as football and definitely worth watching.
Texas universities are active too. UT Arlington regularly holds a Homerathon in the spring. Baylor University in Waco has started up a new departmental newsletter that is also of interest to teachers called Diurna Ursorum. Trinity University in San Antonio is doing its part this summer in the role of host for the National Junior Classical League convention. UT Austin will be hosting its annual ExCET Prep Review workshop this spring—which is of great value to those who are seeking certification in our state. AP workshops are regularly hosted in the summer by the University of Dallas (sometimes on their campus in Rome). Other College Board sponsored AP workshops are offered in Austin as well. Austin College in Sherman hosts a major foreign language immersion workshop in the summer that includes Latin. Several universities offer courses in the summer designed for teachers (UT Austin and Baylor come to mind), and in fact, Baylor offers a terrific “Baylor in Italy” summer program that is very popular. In other words, classics has lots of vitality in Texas.
The adoption of LOTE materials by the State Board of Education will occur in November 2004, and in early 2005 school districts will choose for themselves the instructional materials they will use beginning in August 2005. In the last time textbook adoptions process only two series were submitted: Latin for Americans and the Cambridge Latin Course. Texans are hoping for more choices next time.