World Languages

1.  Why should you enroll in a world language?

  • You need 2 years (or the equivalent) to graduate from the Palo Alto Unified School District.  However, the UC system and many private universities require the equivalent of 3 years of world language study to graduate from their campuses.  Most universities look very favorably on students who have taken 3-4 years of the same world language in high school, and study of a language at the AP level is seen as evidence of high academic rigor. 
  • Learning a world language will increase your employment opportunities.  Only 1 out of 10 Americans speaks a second language.
  • Learning a world language helps to promote global understanding.
  • Learning a world language enriches your knowledge of culture, literature, history, music, art, and your enjoyment of traveling.


2.  Why are Advanced Placement courses available to juniors and seniors only?

  • Students need a certain maturity level to understand the course content.
  • 9th graders have not taken important courses in English and Social Studies that will help them succeed in language AP classes.


3.  What about summer courses?

  • Summer language courses and camps can be taken for enrichment but unless prior approval is given, these courses cannot be used to accelerate the program.


4.  What about languages not offered at Gunn?

  • American Sign Language is offered at Palo Alto High School.
  • Students may receive credit for languages not offered at Gunn provided that the school is accredited and that prior approval has been granted.