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Foreign language, magnet application process now open at Glendale Unified

New glass mosaic welcomes Franklin Elementary students, guests
Parents and guardians pining for an opportunity to enroll their children into Glendale Unified’s elementary school magnets and Foreign Language Academies of Glendale now have their chance. The district is accepting electronic admission applications for the 2020-21 school year at www.gusdmagnetandflag.com/apply from now until Jan. 31. Franklin Elementary, pictured above, is the only school that hosts more than one language. It offers French, German, Italian and Spanish.
(Courtesy of Hannah Maximova)

Parents and guardians pining for an opportunity to enroll their children into Glendale Unified’s elementary school magnets and Foreign Language Academies of Glendale, known as FLAG, now have their chance.

The district is accepting electronic admission applications for the 2020-21 school year at gusdmagnetandflag.com/apply through Jan. 31.

Interested parties must create an online account with the school district, and they can select up to three elementary-school programs.

Students living within Glendale Unified’s boundaries and even those who live outside the district’s borders can apply. A lottery will be held on Feb. 12.

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“There’s no cap to the number of applications we can receive, but, in terms of spaces available for kindergarten, it’s 714 across all of our language programs,” said Nancy Hong, Glendale Unified’s FLAG coordinator.

Last year, Hong said the district received about 1,700 applications.

“We have to turn away a lot, unfortunately,” she added.

Priority will be given to students with siblings already attending a FLAG or magnet school, followed by district residents and then applicants outside the district.

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Nine of Glendale Unified’s 20 elementary schools offer dual-immersion courses in Armenian, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean or Spanish. Franklin Elementary is the only school that hosts more than one language. It offers courses in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Currently, the district has 1,017 students from kindergarten through eighth grade in Spanish programs, 803 in Armenian, 627 in Korean, 440 in Japanese, 173 in French and German and 154 in Italian. The district estimates 2,905 students, or 21% of its entire elementary population, are enrolled in a dual-language program.

Latin alphabet-based languages, such as Spanish and French, will be taught 90% in the foreign language and 10% in English until reaching a 50-50 level by fifth grade.

Non-Latin alphabet-based languages will maintain a 50-50 ratio each year.

“The reason we have [the 90-10 ratio] is because those languages share the same alphabet as English,” Hong said. “Even if a student is learning to read as a kindergartner in Spanish, those skills will transfer over to English.”

She added, “Whereas with Japanese, Korean and Armenian, they simultaneously learn to read in both languages.”

Upon completion of their elementary education, FLAG students can continue their foreign-language skills at the middle- and high-school levels.

While the FLAG lottery and application process is designated for kindergartners, Hong said parents with students who can pass language assessment tests can apply for higher grade levels, granted there are openings.

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Outside of languages, the district also offers themed-based learning through magnet schools, such as Cerritos Elementary School, which specializes in computer science, and Keppel, which focuses on visual and performing arts.

On top of the elementary school-level lottery, applications are being accepted for the district’s newest magnet — Roosevelt Middle School STEAM Academy — set to debut next year.

Students already enrolled at Roosevelt as well as those who live in the attendance area or a feeder school need not apply. However, other district or out-of-district students can fill out a seventh-grade application.

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