The Tidewater Region continues to boast strong interest in the Classics, both at the secondary and university levels. Following the predictable rise in membership last year when CAMWS met in Virginia, we anticipate a drop in the regions membership this year. But the state vice presidents are hard at work to recruit more members from the ranks of secondary school teachers especially, and we challenge our university colleagues to match these efforts! While CPL requests from this region dwindled this year, we pledge to do better in 2000!
Our annual note of caution this year relates to reporting procedures for state-run/supported colleges and universities. As state legislatures and governing bodies focus on low-enrolled post-secondary programs in both states (often viewing Classics, Latin, and Greek as separate entities), Classics programs are continually in jeopardy. This pattern is a national one, we suspect, and we wonder if CAMWS can offer any help?
The North Carolina Classical Association (NCCA) held its Fall meeting in November in High Point, together with the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina. NCCA sponsor sessions included presentations on oral Latin, changes to the AP curriculum, uses of technology, and grant writing for foreign language teachers. The Spring meeting of NCCA in Asheville is scheduled for April 17, and we hope that loud protests from NC CAMWS members will prevent future conflicts with the annual CAMWS meeting! JCL continues to thrive in North Carolina. As in past years, JCL met at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for its Fall Forum, attracting over 500 students, and will convene at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill later in the spring for its state convention, anticipating participation from over 1300 students statewide. Robin Farber, the state co-chair who teaches at Eastern Guilford High School, deserves special recognition for completing a truly Herculean task this fall. She called every school district in the state in order to compile a list of all schools offering Latin and the current Latin teachers. Richard Cartwright is currently at work on an e-mail database to facilitate future contact with state teachers.
Latin continues to thrive in North Carolina schools where, however, the biggest difficulty is finding teachers for the available positions. In Fayetteville (in the eastern part of the state), two high schools in the past four years have dropped their Latin programs for lack of a teacher. A new "Classical" High School (including a dress code, strict discipline and a highly structured curriculum) opened in Fayetteville last year, which now shares a Latin teacher with a feeder "Classical" Middle School, but that will change as the High School grows to full capacity (only 500 students!). Next year a year-round "Classical" School (grades 7-12) will open and they are advertising that they will offer Latin, but they do not yet have a teacher. In Guilford County (including Greensboro and High Point), a push to include Latin in all middle schools faltered because there werent enough teachers to make this possible. The lesson here, as elsewhere is that promoting Latin must go hand in hand with promoting Latin teaching. The NCCA web page now has a link to its list of jobs <http://www.uncg.edu/cla/ncca/PLACEMEN.HTM>.
Responding to a change in state licensure requirements, the M.Ed. in Latin program offered by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro was revised this year to include more emphasis on performance-based assessment and portfolio work. Area Latin teachers offered advice throughout this process via e-mail and in a meeting in March to review the revised proposal. One outcome of the process is that experienced and new teachers will now be able to do more work together and to form a stronger community of Latin teachers in the state.
The Classical Association of Virginia (CAV) membership has held strong at about 280 for the last two years, and participation in the semi-annual meetings continue to attract healthy numbers of both secondary teachers and university professor. This years spring meeting will be held, for the first time ever, on the campus of the Virginia Military Institute. The state chapter of the JCL reports another increase in membership to approximately 7,060 students for 1998-1999, from 112 chapters (24 at the middle school level), with 14 chapters boasting more than 100 members each. At the annual VJCL conference last November, approximately 1800 students and 200 sponsors and chaperones participated. Secondary school students in Virginia continue to participate actively in other CAMWS and CAV sponsored events as well. 50 students, from 12 different schools (up from 9 last year), entered the CAMWS College Awards translation contest, and 704 students (down from close to 800 last year) from 38 schools have registered for the CAV Latin Tournament translation test in March.
A continuing area of strength in Virginia is the regional collaboratives that offer middle and high school teachers opportunities to share ideas and materials and to develop regional events for their students. Areas deserving of recognition for these efforts are: Tidewater, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Northern Virginia and the central Shenandoah Valley. These collaborative provide a model for what regions in other states might be able to do.
Virginia colleges and universities have also continued their strong efforts to promote Classics this year. Both the semi-annual Saturday Seminars at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland and Hollins Colleges semi-annual Classics Symposium report abundant attendance for their activities. Hampden-Sydney College, Randolph-Macon College, and the University of Richmond hosted Professor Alexander McKay on a lecture tour across the state in February. Hollins College gave three evening performances of Plautus Menaechmi in the fall drew more than 1,000 ancient-theater-goers! Hollins College is also looking forward to its twelfth year of hosting the state-sponsored Governors Latin Academy this summer.
Across the state, Virginia teachers and professors offer assistance to third graders who have a new Greek and Roman World component in their Virginia Standards of Learning. Assistance has been provided by Professors Judith Evans Grubbs at Sweet Briar (who received CPL funds last year to develop materials) and Terry Papillon at Virginia Tech, and CAMWS state vice president Carter Drake at Rockbridge County High School.