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March 14, 2014

Spanish coming to Timberlane elementary schools

Elementary schools will add Spanish next fall

PLAISTOW — Timberlane elementary school students are going to have a little more added to their plate next year.

The four elementary schools will offer a foreign language program, starting in the fall, Superintendent Earl Metzler said. He said the cost of the program will not exceed $50,000.

“In some point in the future, I want our students to have gone through our K through 12 program and basically be bilingual,” he said.

Metzler said elementary school students will have Spanish language lessons for 30 minutes each day.

“I took some time to think about whether we would offer Spanish or French,” he said. “I came to the conclusion that Spanish would be a more useful language that they would particularly benefit from, from a cultural point of view.”

Metzler’s wife, Elizabeth, will write the curriculum. The Timberlane Regional School Board approved hiring her as a consultant, after receiving a recommendation from the Southeastern Regional Education Service Center. SERESC offers professional development and consulting services to school districts, including Timberlane. The organization is run by former Timberlane superintendent Richard La Salle.

“(Elizabeth) writes foreign language curriculum for elementary schools, which is unique,” Metzler said. “This is a fully integrated curriculum, which is different than other places. She’s done a great work. When SERESC saw that was what we needed, they provided her to become our consultant.”

School Board Chairman Rob Collins had no problems with Metzler’s wife serving as a consultant

“We asked for a proposal for a consultant from SERESC,” he said. “They put forward to us the person who is most appropriate and the only person that they have who could perform this duty in that organization.”

Kenneth Relihan, a world language consultant for the state Department of Education, said only about 10 percent of the state’s elementary schools offer foreign language.

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