Languages Other Than English in the SFUSD: Middle School and High School

In the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) there are many opportunities for students to learn languages other than English. In middle school and high school, some programs are designed to continue language studies started in elementary school. Others encourage students to start learning a new language.

The high school language pathways offer courses students may take to fulfill the high school graduation requirement of 2 years, or 20 credits, of a World Language. Those who study French, Japanese, Mandarin, or Spanish may take College Board approved Advanced Placement courses for their languages.

Secondary Dual Language Pathway

  • Middle school: Cantonese/Mandarin, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish

  • High school: Cantonese/Mandarin, Mandarin, Spanish

Starting in the 6th grade, the elementary school Dual Language Immersion and Dual Language Biliteracy Pathways merge into the Secondary Dual Language Pathway for each language. Students are strongly encouraged to remain in the Secondary Dual Language Pathway through 12th grade in order to become bilingual and biliterate at a high level and to attain native-like proficiency in both languages.

The Secondary Dual Language Pathway is for students who are proficient in the pathway language, whether they are native speakers, native English speakers, or bilingual students. Students who were enrolled in a Dual Language Immersion or Biliteracy Pathway or in the Newcomer Pathway in elementary school are eligible for this program in the same pathway language. Students who would like to enter the Secondary Dual Language Pathway without transitioning from one of the feeder pathways have their language proficiency assessed by the Educational Placement Center (EPC).

In the Secondary Dual Language Pathway, students take two academic courses in the pathway language. For example:

Instruction for all other courses in is English.

For the Cantonese Secondary Dual Language Pathway, students study both Cantonese and Mandarin beginning in 6th grade.

Secondary World Language Pathway

  • Middle school: Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish

  • High school: Filipino, French, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Mandarin, Spanish

Students from the Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) program can pursue further language studies in the Secondary World Language Pathway in select middle schools. This pathway also continues throughout high school, where every SFUSD high school provides language courses that are open to all students.

The Secondary World Language Pathway is for all students, whether they are English learners or native English speakers, and whether or not they were enrolled in the FLES program or in any language pathway in elementary school.

Instruction in the elective language class is mainly in the target language. The curriculum includes lessons on culture and reinforces concepts students learn in math, science, and social studies, so that students develop academic, literacy, and social skills in the second language.

More Information

To learn more about these language programs and language assessments, to see which SFUSD schools offer these programs, and to read about other programs that support English learners, we highly recommend the English Learner Program Guide, which is available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. The guide is published by the Multilingual Pathways Department of the SFUSD, and also provides information for high school students about language requirements for graduation and UC admissions, and about earning the Seal of Biliteracy.