Departments & Courses


World Language

SHC graduation requirement: Four semesters of the same language; six to eight semesters strongly recommended.

UC/CSU Admissions requirement: Two years required; three years recommended.

Our Mission

The World Language Department seeks to engage students in the global community by developing their abilities to articulate ideas and communicate effectively in American Sign Language, French, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish. Following the National Standards for Foreign Language Education, the World Language curriculum facilitates the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students gain experiential knowledge of other cultures, make connections across disciplines, explore the nature of language and culture individually and by comparison, and actively participate in bilingual communities, beginning with their World Language classroom.

Placement in World Languages:

Native speakers and students with previous World Language experience may be assigned a course beyond the first year level as determined by a placement test.

Note: in 2022, the World Language Department updated its name from the Languages Other than English Department. 

Courses in this Department

American Sign Language 1,2, a first-year ASL course, introduces students to five areas of linguistic and cultural acquisition planned for the coming four years. These areas are Content, Communication, Cultures, Structures, and Settings.

ASL 1,2 students will be introduced to basic grammar and syntax of ASL, vocabulary, and Deaf History. Students will produce project pieces that demonstrate their understanding of ASL syntax, glossing from one target language into another, as well as focus on developing and retaining vocabulary, fingerspelling development, sentence formation, and use of ASL syntax to build ASL technique and knowledge. In addition, students will be introduced to basic conversational skills. Students will learn about Deaf History as they explore the origins of American Sign Language.

American Sign Language 3,4 is a second year ASL course designed to build on the foundation of ASL 1,2. Students will continue to focus on five areas of linguistic and cultural acquisition: Content, Communication, Cultures, Structures, and Settings. Students will build on their basic grammar/ASL syntax, vocabulary, and will continue to learn more about Deaf Culture. 

Students will produce project pieces that demonstrate their understanding of ASL syntax, glossing from one target language into another. We will focus on developing and retaining vocabulary, fingerspelling development, sentence formation, and use of ASL syntax to build ASL technique and knowledge. In addition, students will continue to build and refine their basic conversational skills. Students will learn more about Deaf History/Culture as they explore the origins of ASL in various settings.

Prerequisites: ASL 1,2.

American Sign Language 5,6, a third year ASL course, continues to expose students to five areas of language and cultural acquisition: Content, Communication, Cultures, Structures, and Settings. Students will continue to use and build grammar/ASL syntax, vocabulary, and will learn how to interpret in various subject areas, specifically in a K-12 setting. Students will produce project pieces that demonstrate their understanding of ASL syntax, glossing from one target language into a source language and from a source language into a target language. Lessons will continue focus on developing and retaining vocabulary, fingerspelling development, sentence formation, and use of ASL syntax to build ASL technique and knowledge. ASL 5,6 students will be introduced to basic interpreting skills, along with the role and responsibilities of being an interpreter for the deaf.

Note: Participation in this course requires attendance at two functions outside the daily schedule.

Prerequisites: ASL 3,4. 

American Sign Language 7,8, a fourth year ASL course, deepens student engagement with the five areas of linguistic and cultural acquisition: Content, Communication, Cultures, Structures, and Settings. Students will continue to use and build grammar/ASL syntax, vocabulary, and learn how to interpret in various subject areas, specifically in a 9-12 setting. Students will produce project pieces that demonstrate their understanding of ASL syntax, glossing from one target language into a source language and from a source language into a target language. In addition, students will focus on developing and retaining vocabulary, fingerspelling development, sentence formation, and use of ASL syntax to build their ASL technique and knowledge. ASL 7,8 students will continue to further their interpreting skills, along with their understanding of the role and responsibilities of being an interpreter for the deaf.

Prerequisites: A cumulative 2.0 GPA in American Sign Language 5,6. Please see note on advanced study in LOTE.

This course is an introduction to French language and culture. Its goal is for students to communicate effectively in French at a mid-novice level in the four basic skill areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing (with an emphasis on listening comprehension and speaking), and to begin learning about francophone culture. Areas of study include greeting, food, family, school, time, weather, clothing and popular culture. Students develop an appreciation for global cultures in the the francophone world including the cultures of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, the Caribbean and Africa. Class work includes paired and group activities, dialogues and conversation, and is reinforced with online resources.

This course builds on the language competencies achieved in French 1,2 in the four basic language skill areas. Its goal include communicating effectively in French at a high/intermediate level and learning more about francophone culture. Areas of study include transportation, travel, professions, geography, grooming, sports, and leisure. Students develop an appreciation for francophone culture in various regions of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, the Caribbean and Africa.Class work includes the consistent use of French in written work, paired and group activities, dialogues and conversations, and is reinforced with online resources. 

Prerequisites: French 1,2 or placement based on exam.

This course is designed to prepare students for the French AP course in subsequent years. Students develop interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication, as well as sophisticated listening, speaking, writing and reading skills. Dialogues, songs, poems, and news program expose students to a variety of vocabulary and a range of accents used in the French-speaking world. Students acquire a command of fluent and authentic contemporary French by performing skits, dialogues and oral presentations, and by participating in discussions and debates on issues such as the influence of media, global warming, science and ethics, immigration and tolerance. They express original ideas in writing, using practical and abstract vocabulary and complex grammatical structures and verb tenses. They read and understand a variety of documents, especially those referencing current events in the French speaking world.

French 3,4 Honors is an accelerated course; however, because the UC system requires two years of a language course prior to granting honors credit, French 3,4 Honors does not confer a weighted grade. 

Notes: this course includes a summer assignment. 

Prerequisites: 1) A 3.5 GPA or better in French 1 OR 2) Placement test.

Expanding on communication skills practiced in previous levels of French study, students will learn to express themselves at a novice high/intermediate low level. They will use French language more completely and fluidly by acquiring a broader vocabulary, complex grammatical structures, and idiomatic expressions as well as by expanding their knowledge of verb tenses. They will continue to improve their ability to read materials from newspaper articles to short stories, and they will strengthen their writing skills as they learn how to write compositions, give detailed explanations, narrate stories using pictures, and compare and contrast ideas. They will become acquainted with important figures who contributed to history, art, science, music, movies and environment in the French-speaking world. Students will interact in small pairs or small groups as they apply their knowledge in situations typical of those one might encounter when communicating with French speakers. They will watch and listen to news programs in French and discuss various current events.

Prerequisites: French 3,4. 

Students who complete this course will be well-prepared for the rigors of French AP the following year. Students develop interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication, as well as sophisticated listening, speaking, writing and reading skills. Students will learn to express themselves at intermediate-high level. Short films, dialogues, songs, poems, and news programs expose students to a variety of vocabulary and a range of accents used in the French-speaking world. Students acquire a command of fluent and authentic contemporary French by performing skits, dialogues, and oral presentations, and by participating in discussions and debates on issues such as the influence of media, global warming, science and ethics, immigration and tolerance. They express original ideas in writing, using practical and abstract vocabulary and complex grammatical structures and verb tenses. They will read and understand a variety of authentic documents in French. All activities will be conducted in French.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) A 3.5 GPA or better in French 3 or French 3 Honors OR 2) Placement test.

This course continues the emphasis on spoken French while exposing students to a greater knowledge of French culture and society. Students will learn to express themselves at intermediate-mid level. Students will participate in debates and discussions, perform skits and dialogues, and present oral projects. Short stories, French novels, and shorter pieces of literature will be read and discussed. Students will expand on their writing skills, and will draft and revise complex essays and compositions. Students will watch French movies and news programs, and listen to French songs. All activities will be conducted in French.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 2.0 GPA in French 5 or French 5 Honors.

This advanced French course addresses themes of Global Challenges, Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty and Aesthetics. Students will learn to express themselves at advanced-low level. Daily activities immerse students in college-level French in preparation for the AP French Language and Culture exam in May. Instruction facilitates active listening, writing, speaking and reading, as well as practice in interpersonal, interpretive and presentational communication in real-life settings. Students will practice writing (compositions, argumentative essays, emails) and speaking (cultural comparisons) presentations.The course includes consistent use of online resources from an array of francophone sources. Classes will be conducted entirely in French.

Note: this course will have a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: A 4.0 GPA French 5 and a placement test OR a 3.5 GPA in French 5 Honors OR a placement test (for incoming ninth graders or transfer students).

This course is designed for students with no prior Japanese language experience. Students begin to speak, understand, read, and write Japanese as well as to appreciate the attitudes, values, and customs of Japan. Initially students will learn the elements of the Japanese alphabet and how to speak, read, and write basic statements necessary for everyday, elementary conversation. Students will learn how to convey and ask for basic information as they begin to explore Japanese culture.

This course is a continuation of Japanese 1,2. Students expand their ability to speak, understand, read, and write Japanese as well as their ability to appreciate the attitudes, values, and customs of the Japanese culture. This course is designed to facilitate the understanding and articulation of abstract ideas, event sequencing, and expression of opinions as students deepen their exploration of the Japanese culture.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: Japanese 1,2. 

This course represents a continuation of Japanese 3,4. Students expand their ability to speak, understand, read, and write Japanese as well as their ability to appreciate the attitudes, values, and customs of the Japanese culture. The course includes extensive use of oral and written activities with short story readings and writing exercises, and incorporates some preparation for the AP Japanese exam. Students build on knowledge from prior courses to converse, to convey and elicit more complex information necessary for everyday life among native Japanese speakers, and to broaden their knowledge of the Japanese culture. As they progress, students gain the ability to express their opinions and beliefs in sophisticated ways.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  Japanese 3,4. 

This course represents a continuation of Japanese 5,6. Students develop sophisticated communication skills by listening and reading in a variety of styles, practicing oral conversation in class, and engaging in frequent written exercises. Students will expand their study of Japanese culture and society as they learn the Japanese language. 

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  Japanese 5,6. 

This course is an intense continuation of Japanese 5,6, intended to prepare students for the AP Japanese exam in May. Students practice extensive oral conversation in class; conduct presentations and debates; complete numerous written exercises including journal entries, essays and research reports; and read a variety of literature and non-fiction including letters, short stories, and journal articles. Students are more deeply exposed to Japanese culture as they learn the language at a college-level. This is the most advanced course offered in Japanese, and requires daily engagement with both the basic and more complex aspects of the Japanese language. Note: this course includes a summer assignment

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  A 4.0 GPA in Japanese 5. 

This course is designed for students with no previous experience of Mandarin Chinese. As an introduction to Chinese language and culture, it develops students’ language ability to speak, read, listen, understand, and write in Chinese. Students will learn basic knowledge of Mandarin pronunciation (Pinyin and tones), writing rules, character structures, radicals, grammar, and 350 new words. Students discover an understanding of the Mandarin Chinese language and an appreciation of the array of Chinese cultures through informal and formal oral presentations, projects, readings, writing, and digital resources. In the classroom, students are encouraged to speak Mandarin as much as possible.

This course is designed for students who have completed one year of Mandarin or its equivalent. It continues to develop reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills in modern Chinese. The curriculum incorporates elements of Chinese culture throughout and emphasizes spoken language with correct pronunciation and grammar usage. The course builds students’ communication skills within the Mandarin Chinese-speaking world in a variety of settings: with a classmate, in small groups, with the whole class and the instructor, and outside of the classroom.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: Mandarin 1,2 or placement exam.

This course is designed for students who have completed two years of Mandarin or its equivalent. It emphasizes students’ ability to speak, understand, read, and write Chinese. Students engage in various language activities, using compound and complex sentences to communicate information in a coherent and fluent manner. Students will explore both traditional and contemporary Chinese culture. This course includes extensive use of oral and written activities with short story readings and writing exercises, and incorporates some preparation for the AP Chinese exam. This course will be conducted predominantly in Mandarin Chinese.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: Mandarin 3 or a placement test.

This level is tailored for students who demonstrate an intermediate mastery of Chinese. The primary goal of Mandarin 7,8 is to strengthen students’ ability to use Chinese in their daily life and to deepen their appreciation of the culture of the Chinese-speaking world. This course emphasizes fluency with the spoken language while exposing students to a greater breadth of Chinese culture. Students use print and multimedia resources to learn about the geography, economics, history, literature, arts, music, and architecture of China. The course includes extensive practice in the writing of complete stories, compositions and essays. This course is conducted almost entirely in Mandarin Chinese.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: Mandarin 5,6

This advanced Mandarin course prepares students for the AP Chinese Language and Culture Exam. It provides students with varied opportunities to further develop their Mandarin Chinese proficiency across three communicative modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational, and the five areas outlined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities). The course addresses six themes: Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, Beauty and Aesthetics, Science and Technology, and Global Challenges. It seeks to engage students in an exploration of both contemporary and historical Chinese culture to develop their appreciation and awareness of the Chinese cultures. The course includes extensive practice in the writing of compositions and essays, and speaking of complex topics. It is conducted entirely in Mandarin Chinese.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) A 4.0 GPA or better in Mandarin 5,6 or 7,8 2) placement test.

This course in beginning Spanish provides an introduction to understanding, listening to, speaking, reading, and writing modern Spanish. Students learn to speak with correct pronunciation and intonation, and develop their speaking, reading, and writing skills in the present, preterit, present progressive, and future tense. Students discover an understanding and appreciation of the Spanish language and the array of Spanish-speaking cultures through informal and formal oral presentations, projects, readings, writing, and digital resources. Students are encouraged to speak in Spanish as consistently as possible.

This course is for Spanish-speaking students in the 9th and 10th grade. The course will focus on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to develop effective communication in standard Spanish. This course incorporates the first and second-year Spanish curriculum but with more in-depth study and more extensive expectations of student performance.  Additional activities will include multimedia formal and informal presentations, and reading short literary works in the context of the Spanish speaking world. The class will be conducted entirely in Spanish. Students who successfully complete the course will progress to third year level Spanish 5,6 or 5,6 Honors. 

Prerequisites:  Being able to understand and to speak conversational Spanish.

Este curso es para estudiantes de nivel 9° y 10° que ya hablan español. El curso se concentra en mejorar las habilidades en expresión oral, escritura, lectura, y desarrollo en conocimientos gramaticales.

Requisitos:  Comprender y hablar español.

This class is a continuation of Spanish 1,2. It continues the emphasis on the spoken language with correct pronunciation, intonation and grammar usage. Speaking, listening, reading and writing are expanded through longer reading selections and more complex applications. Students will explore specific linguistic, cultural, geographical and historical aspects of the Spanish-speaking world through multimedia. Students strengthen their use of the spoken language in the tenses learned in the first year as well as the imperfect tense and introduction to the subjunctive mood. Students will be assessed through projects, compositions, formal and informal presentations. This course will be conducted predominantly in Spanish. 

Prerequisites: Cumulative 2.0 GPA in Spanish 1,2, or placement based on exam.

This course incorporates the second-year Spanish curriculum, with more in-depth study and more extensive expectations of student performance in language acquisition skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening). Students explore specific linguistic, cultural, geographical, and historical aspects of the Spanish-speaking world multimedia resources. Students strengthen their use of the tenses learned in the first year as well as of the imperfect tense and introduction to the subjunctive mood. Research projects, essays, and formal and informal presentations in the target language allow students to demonstrate both skills and an appreciation of Spanish-speaking language and cultures. This course is conducted predominantly in Spanish. 

Spanish 3,4 Honors is an accelerated course; however, because the UC system requires two years of a language course prior to granting honors credit, Spanish 3,4 Honors does not confer a weighted grade.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) A 3.5 GPA or better in Spanish 1  2) Placement test.

This course builds on the skills of Spanish 3,4 or 3,4 Honors, developing Spanish-language conversational ability, vocabulary and literary knowledge. Students are required to use all tenses in writing and speaking; they deliver formal oral presentations, conduct research, and draft essays in Spanish using all grammatical structures. Hispanic literature, art, current events, and multimedia resources are analyzed for cultural enrichment and to develop skills. This course will be conducted predominantly in Spanish.

Prerequisites:  Spanish 3,4

This course builds on the skills of Spanish 3,4 or 3,4 Honors, developing Spanish-language conversational ability, vocabulary, and literary knowledge at a fast pace to prepare students for the Spanish AP course the following year. Students are required to use all tenses in writing and speaking; they deliver formal oral presentations, conduct research, and draft essays in Spanish using all grammatical structures. Hispanic literature, art, current events, and multimedia resources are analyzed for cultural enrichment and to develop skills. This course will be conducted predominantly in Spanish.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  1) A 3.5 GPA or better in Spanish 3 or Spanish 3 Honors 2) Placement test.

This course continues to develop the ability to speak, understand, read and write Spanish in academic and real-world contexts. The content expands knowledge of the culture and history of Spanish-speaking countries and prepares the student to use Spanish in daily conversation. Students use print and multimedia resources to learn about the geography, economics, political institutions, literature, music, and architecture of Spain and Latin America.

Prerequisites:  Spanish 5,6 or 5,6 Honors

This college-level Spanish course prepares students for the AP Spanish exam and develops their daily proficiency in interpersonal (interactive), interpretive (receptive) and presentational (productive) communication in Spanish. By studying the communication, cultures, and communities of the Spanish-speaking world and making connections and comparisons to students’ own language communities, the course develops language skills that are broadly useful and can be applied to a range of disciplines. The course incorporates extensive practice in the writing of compositions, and is conducted entirely in Spanish.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  1) A 3.5 GPA or better in Spanish 5 or Spanish 5 Honors 2) Placement test.

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