Academic & Cultural Events

World Languages

Second semester is an exciting time for Gunn World Language students. Our department organizes academic and cultural events that enrich their language studies. We also encourage all students to take as many years of language as possible to prepare for the demands of a global society.

Academic opportunities Students in French, German, and Spanish have the opportunity to participate in national exams to determine how they rank compared to other students throughout the nation. These exams are taken during class time and are optional. Sign ups for the exams are done in the language classes.

Dates for the exams are: German: January 28-29; French: March 12-14; Spanish: March 24-28. Level 2, 3 and advanced French, German and Spanish students also have the opportunity to join the National French, German, and Spanish Honor Societies provided they meet the criteria set by the national organizations. Academic and service requirements vary for each language and students are usually inducted into these honor societies in the spring. Applications are available from the French, German and Spanish teachers.

Club activities In addition to the many academic opportunities available in the World Language Department, the world language clubs provide ways for students to participate in cultural events that are an extension of the classroom. Language clubs organize dinners, field trips, museum visits, guest speakers, holiday parties and other events in which students can immerse themselves in the target language and culture. During the month of March the language clubs work together with the PTSA to organize the very popular International Week at Gunn. Highlights of this week include an international trivia competition, flag procession, food booths, music, and a variety of musical performances. Graduation requirements and language placement exams Students are required to have 2 years of a world language to graduate from the Palo Alto Unified School District. Most students who plan on attending a UC or private university take at least 3 years of world language at Gunn to satisfy entrance requirements.

New students to Gunn who have learned language at home, through immersion or specialized schools are required to take a placement exam to insure proper placement in the sequence of courses. Placement exams this year will be given on February 18 and 25. Please visit the Gunn World Language website for more precise and detailed information about the placement process.

Seal of Biliteracy The State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB) is a program that recognizes high school graduates’ biliterate skills. The SSB is awarded to seniors through criteria set by the State of California. Applications are available from counselors and world language teachers. This is the first year the Seal is available to graduating seniors. Please visit the Gunn World Language website for more detailed information and download the application.

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