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ESL in Glendale schools is the norm, numbers show

New data shows that a majority of students in Glendale Unified — 66% — speak a primary language other than English.

The district has 6,381 English learners, 460 more students compared to the year before, according to data collected in October 2013. Also, 33% of Glendale Unified's 26,187 students primarily speak English.

"We have a very diverse population in Glendale that we celebrate regularly," said Kelly King, assistant superintendent of Glendale Unified.

State and local educators keep a close watch on districts' language and ethnic census reports in order to shape education policy and programs that target the academic needs of students.

In Glendale, there were 1,493 students who were "reclassified" last year from being English-language learners to successfully becoming "fluent English proficient" in reading, writing, speaking and listening. That figure signifies an increase of 69 students compared to the year prior.

In regards to ethnicity, the new data shows 54% of the district's students are white, including those with Armenian and other Middle Eastern backgrounds.

The ethnic categories are defined by the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System, which does not define Middle Eastern or Armenian as a racial/ethnic category, according to a district report.

Hispanic students make up 23% of Glendale Unified's population and Asian and Pacific Islander students, including those from the Philippines, make up about 18% of the district.

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