Coccia-Inserra Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Teaching of Italian (K-12)

Application for the Year 2015

The Coccia-Inserra Award honors a teacher of Italian at the K-12 level, and is generously donated by Coccia Foundation in the name and memory of its founder, Cav. Joseph Coccia, Jr., and by Mr. Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr.   Founded in 1994 by Joseph and Elda Coccia, and now under the leadership of President Elisa Coccia, Coccia Foundation aggressively pursues the preservation and promotion of Italian culture, in conjunction with its ‘academic arm,’ the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America at Montclair State University.  Mr. Inserra also contributes significantly to the rich field of Italian American Studies, having instituted in 2011 the Theresa and Lawrence R. Inserra Endowed Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, also housed at Montclair State University.


We are pleased to announce that our very generous donors have increased substantially the monetary component of the Coccia-Inserra Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Teaching of Italian (K-12) for academic year 2015 to $5000 This generous prize is to be allocated as follows:

a)   $2500 is to be used exclusively to advance the Italian language and culture curriculum and programming within the recipient’s classroom;

b)       $2500 is to be dedicated to the professional development of the winning teacher (for direct payment of academic fees to an institution of professional development in Italian language and culture at home or abroad).


The award is open to teachers who currently are:

a.      Members in good standing of one of the following:

                                                              i.      AATI (American Association of Teachers of Italian)

                                                            ii.      AAIS (American Association of Italian Studies)

                                                          iii.      ITANJ (Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey)

b.      The applicant must be a full-time language teacher who is certified as a teacher of Italian and who must be teaching a minimum of two classes of Italian at the K-12 level.  

 Selection Process

A Blue Ribbon Panel of experts has been established to oversee the process and select the award recipient.

·         Dr. Anthony Julian Tamburri, Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures and Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College (New York, New York) [Panel Chair]

·         Dr. Andrea Baldi, Professor of Italian; Undergraduate Director of the Department of Italian

      at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey)

·         Dott. Carlo Davoli, Dirigente Scolastico, Consulate General of Italy in New York

      (New York, New York)

·         Dr. Roberto Dolci, Associate Professor of Linguistics, Università per Stranieri di Perugia  (Perugia, Italy)

·         Dr. Clorinda Donato, George Graziadio Chair in Italian Studies, California State University

at Long Beach (Long Beach, California)


The Blue Ribbon Panel will evaluate participants on the following criteria:

a.      Planning and Preparation

                                   i.         The teacher’s effectiveness as demonstrated in sample lesson plans that conform to the standards of the Department of Education or other such entity in the state in which the applicant teachers and address the three modes of communication.  These plans should evidence:

1.      goals and activities that inspire and engage students in their own learning;

2.      use of technology and 21st-century skills to enhance the students’ learning experience;

3.      assessment that reflects current practice.

b.      Involvement Outside the School

i.        The teacher’s leadership as demonstrated in ACTIVE involvement with professional organizations and the promotion of the Italian language and culture (e.g., presentations, workshops, administrative duties, public relations work) that have benefited the Italian program and its students;

ii.      Creating opportunities for community and/or parent participation in the Italian program (e.g., film night, festival), where parents and other community members are invited.

c.       Instructional Innovations

i.   Evidence of effective instruction practice via supervisor and/or principal’s classroom

      observation report;

ii.   Student comments/letters/etc.;

iii.    Teacher’s self-evaluation and reflections;

iv.    Active participation in Professional Development events, in the capacity of either attendee or presenter, facilitator, workshop leader, etc.;

v.      Teachers must submit a video-recorded lesson or part thereof that is between 15 and 20 minutes in length.  Videos must be uploaded to YouTube and privacy setting must be set to Private. The link will be sent to one (1) email address to be viewed by the panelists only

[].  The panel of judges will affirm, in writing, that the video will not be shared with or distributed to anyone beyond the panel for the award.  Permission forms must be sent home, if the School or the Board does not already have in place a policy about students appearing in promotional materials 



Application Deadline:   Friday, July 24, 2015

                                       Note: It is preferred that applications be submitted electronically, but hard copy

                                        applications also will be accepted.


Award Presentation:      Friday, October 23, 2015 at the professional development symposium:

                                          Teaching Italian:  A Symposium / Workshop for Instructional Materials.

                                          Meeting VIII  (Montclair State University).
                                        Please note:  The recipient’s travel and lodging expenses will be assumed by
                                                               the Coccia-Inserra Award committee.



Name _____________________________________________________________________________________

Email _____________________________________________________________________________________

Home Address _____________________________________________________________________________


Home Telephone ____________________________________________________

School(s) Name ____________________________________________________________________________

School Address ____________________________________________________________________________


School Telephone _________________________________________________

District Name _____________________________________________________________________________

Number of Students of Italian ____________________

Total Years of Teaching Experience ____________________

Years in Present Position ____________________


Signature _________________________________________________________________________________

Date _____________________________________


Application and Supporting Material should be sent to:

Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America

Montclair State University

One Normal Avenue

Dickson Hall, Suite 171

Montclair, New Jersey 07043



Supporting Material

It is the responsibility of the applicant to assemble the following supporting material in the order listed:

SECTION A: Nominee Application Form

SECTION B:  Letters of Support – Attach a total of four (4) letters from the following individuals:

·         one (1) letter from an administrator (preferably a supervisor of foreign languages);

·         one (1) letter from a colleague (who can support in detail the nominee’s exceptional qualities); and

·         two (2) separate letters from two students whom the nominee has taught (or is currently teaching).

                        These letters are most helpful if they contain specific examples of the impact that the teacher’s work had on them and on their classmates in learning Italian and/or appreciating the Italian language and culture.

SECTION C:  Nominee’s Resume of no more than two (2) pages.

SECTION D: Personal Statement – A one-page summary of candidate’s teaching philosophy, including learning outcomes. Specific examples would be most helpful.

SECTION E: Any documentation (certificates, proof of participation) from Professional Development events, either as an attendee, and/or as a presenter, facilitator, workshop leader, etc.

SECTION F: Other documentation, e.g., copies of newspaper articles or other materials (including web sites links), highlighting accomplishments of candidate, if available.


Please note: ONLY the above stated documents will be accepted in a completed nomination packet.

                    No additional documents will be accepted.