More schools should adopt Lake Placid’s World Language program

To the editor:

Thank you for the recent article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise (“Teach languages in elementary? Massena schools look at Lake Placid’s example,” Watertown Daily Times, Feb. 27) on the interest and desire for elementary school foreign/world language programs here in the North Country. The World Language program here at Lake Placid Elementary School serves all 240 of our elementary students in grades K-5. This program has been a part of our curriculum and scheduling for the past 18 years (not 10, as stated in the Watertown Daily Times article). Students learn both French and Spanish for five months each. When they transition to middle school, they choose which to continue with.

This program was the vision of our former superintendent, Ernest Stretton, in 2005, with the goal of fluency by 12th grade. Our students pass the New York state proficiency test in eighth grade instead of 10th grade.

Research shows learning another language in the primary grades is easier and improves test scores in all other subjects. Our program offers not only language instruction, but cultural awareness and enrichment of the French and Spanish speaking world. We also have a growing student population of English as a new language (ENL). This World Language program helps our students be more receptive and appreciative of linguistic and cultural differences and similarities.

We have enjoyed developing and implementing this elementary World Language program for the past 18 years and would love to see more like this one!

Thank you very much,

Caroline Hambley

Lake Placid

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