API Welcomes Historic Decision by Illinois District 219 Board of Education


Members of the Assyrian Club at Niles West High School offer public comment in support of the proposed Assyrian language course.

The Assyrian Policy Institute welcomes the historic decision made by Niles Township High Schools District 219 Board of Education on November 1, 2022 to add Assyrian as an accredited World Language course offering at their schools. Students at District 219 high schools will now have the opportunity to study Assyrian in order to fulfill World Language requirements for graduation. District 219 is the first public high school district in the United States to offer Assyrian as an accredited World Language, beginning in the 2023-24 academic school year.


The decision comes months after the Illinois State Board of Education approved the addition of 13 Assyrian language courses to the Illinois State Course Catalog. A statement released by District 219 following the unanimous vote stated: "Ensuring that students have access to Assyrian language instruction in our schools lays a foundation for cross-cultural education for all students and advances racial equity. Increasing the diversity of what is taught at District 219 high schools is critical to providing students with a better understanding of who we are as a society."


The course passed due in large part to the strong advocacy of Assyrian students, their families, and dedicated District 219 staff members.


The Assyrian Policy Institute strongly advocated for the addition of Assyrian language courses to the Illinois State Course Catalog and mobilized community members to help advance this initiative. In December 2021, API representatives joined Representative Gong-Gershowitz and District 219 administrators and staff in a meeting with the Illinois State Board of Education to advocate for accredited Assyrian language instruction in public high schools.