Urban Ed

Latin in the Community: Trinity Students Design Curriculum for HMTCA Middle Schoolers

Photo: Student instructors Kyre Williams-Smith ’21, Trea Mannello ’20, Morgan Hallow ’19,  and HMTCA community partner Carrie Keena after a Latin in the Community lesson.

During the Fall semester, Lauren Caldwell, Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Classical Studies, put together a pilot program to lay the groundwork for a Spring offering of LATN 203 “Latin in the Community,” a 0.25 credit opportunity for Trinity College students. In the course, Trinity College students are exposed to both the study of Latin and community outreach work with local schools, and for the Community Learning component of the course, they have implemented a Latin curriculum for middle-school students across the street at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA). Professor Caldwell introduced ten students — Ardyn Allessie, Morgan Hallow, Rachel Kyriakides, Trea Mannello, David Marottolo, Cassidy Schiff, Nicole Singh, Mary Tursi, Erkin Verbeek, and Kyre Williams-Smith — to the Paidea Institute’s middle-school Latin curriculum called “Aequora: Teaching Literacy with Latin.”

The Paideia Institute partners with over 45 sites at colleges, universities, schools, and community organizations in the U.S. to bring the Aequora curriculum to middle and elementary school students, and thanks to Professor Lauren Caldwell, one of those sites now includes the partnership between Trinity College students and the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) middle-school students in the Latin Club. Lauren says that she envisions this course as a start to creating a pipeline for middle school students who are interested in Latin and Classics. Because the Aequora curriculum is trilingual, all vocabulary lists are provided in English, Spanish, and Latin so it compatible with the World Languages program at HMTCA, in which all students take Spanish.

Designing the Course

In order to make this Community Learning course successful, Professor Caldwell ensured in its design that there be a place for everyone in the partnership. 

Through a unique structure that includes both student instructors and student curriculum design consultants, the instructors have been able to take feedback from HMTCA middle-school students and their teacher and consult with the curriculum design consultants and Professor Caldwell about how to best use the Aequora curriculum in a way that meets HMTCA students’ interest.

The curriculum design consultants, Ardyn Allessie ’19 and David Marottolo ’22 have been critical to the success of the program– they have researched and prepared supplemental course materials, including a Latin bingo game and an ancient Greek alphabet activity, when the middle schoolers showed enthusiasm for Latin vocabulary and expressed curiosity about the Greek language.

In Fall 2018 the student instructors were Ardyn Allessie, Rachel Kyriakides, David Marottolo, Cassidy Schiff, Mary Tursi, Erkin Verbeek. In Spring 2019 student instructors were Trea Mannello, Morgan Hallow, Nicole Singh, Kyre William-Smith and Arden Allessie and David Marottolo transitioned from instructors in Fall 2018 to curriculum design consultants in Spring 2019.

Overall, the Community Learning component of this Latin course is unique in Classics– taking the study of the ancient Mediterranean world beyond the walls of the college classroom was a new experience for most of the Trinity students, and it offered HMTCA students the opportunity to learn Latin in a way may not have otherwise had the opportunity to do. 

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Thank you to Professor Lauren Caldwell and Carrie Keena at HMTCA.

At Trinity College we define Community Learning courses as those that include perspective taking and mutually beneficial relationships with community partners. If you are interested in building a Community Learning component into your course, or you believe your course should be designated  as a Community Learning course, contact Director of Community Learning Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu