Picture of dignitaries at the Italian MOU Reception

Italian Cooperative Program Agreement Approved by OCSD School Board

The Office for the Development of the Italian Language (ODLI) and the Okaloosa County School District (OCSD) are pleased to jointly announce the launch of the “Italian Cooperative Program” (ICP), beginning at Niceville High School and Ruckel Middle School in the 2017/18 school year.

This program will provide native Italian language instruction to the dependents of active duty Italian Air Force members who will be stationed at Eglin AFB, FL, as part of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.  Additionally, the ICP will provide American students the opportunity to learn the Italian language and culture.

This program is funded by the ODLI, with generous support from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MB AMERICA, Inc. and the Filippo Marazzi Foundation.  The ODLI supports the program by paying for the teacher’s salaries and by providing textbooks and teaching materials.  The OCSD will provide the facility space and educational support required to make this program a success for all students involved.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the ODLI and the OCSD,  with the endorsement of the Consulate General of Italy in Miami, was signed during the April 10th Okaloosa County School Board meeting.

According to Consul General Bellelli, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation promotes the Italian Language and Culture through Italian teaching positions and professorships abroad.  This is a way to strengthen the connection with the hosting Country and to develop further collaborations, in addition to fostering employment with Italian companies operating in the United States.” 

OCSD Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson stated, “We are so excited to begin the Italian Cooperative Program in Okaloosa’s Schools. It will benefit our students because the importance of cultural experiences is vital to living in a global society.” 

"We are honored to collaborate with the Okaloosa County School District, the Ente Gestore ODLI Inc - a branch of the Italian Ministry for the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the General Consulate of Italy in Miami and Mayac Inc. for the development of the Italian language and culture in the US,” said Marco Bruzzi, MB America CEO and Filippo Marazzi Foundation Vice-President. “We are thrilled about the enthusiasm and energy that students have for learning a new language. The fact that this new language is Italian and that they can learn it thanks to our support, makes all this even more exciting for us.”

“We worked for more than one year with the School district and the office of the Superintendent to establish this program. We are very excited to give the opportunity to our kids to learn the Italian language and culture,” said Luigi Cava, President of the Office of Development of the Italian Language.

Per Col. Igor Bruni, the Italian Training Supervisor for the F-35 JSF program, “I can think of no better time to sign this MOU than April, which is the American ‘Month of the Military Child.’ This program reflects a continuing growth is the long friendship and alliance between the Italian and American people, and I thank the OCSD for their commitment to the education of all students.”

A reception was held at Niceville High School on Monday afternoon.  The food was prepared by the Niceville HS culinary program, with generous donations from Dewey Destin’s Seafood restaurant, GS Gelato of Fort Walton Beach, the Sweet Choice Bakery, and Ruckel Middle School.

Visit the OCSD Facebook page to see a photo gallery of this event.

About the Office for the Development of the Italian Language (ODLI)

The Office for the Development of the Italian Language (ODLI) is a State of Florida non-profit organization 501(c)(3), which operates under the official auspices of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ODLI’s mission is to promote Italy’s language and culture for Florida’s students grade K-12 and adults.