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World Language


The mission of the World Languages Department is to engage and encourage students to pursue life-long learning and appreciation of world languages and cultures.


Every student is an active participant in a global society.


The World Languages Department of Woodrow Wilson High School is one of the largest in the area, with many course offerings in both traditional second language acquisition and Spanish for Spanish Speakers. The department boasts a faculty comprised of 16 well-qualified, credentialed teachers who bring with them a wealth of experience equal to decades of living, studying and working abroad in such countries as Spain, France, Mexico, Italy, England, Germany, and Cambodia. These teachers blend and combine traditional and innovative methods and ideas to form a complete and effective second language program.


Shared Values and Beliefs

  1. All stakeholders (students, parents, staff, and community partners) are focused on supporting students to succeed in the target language.

  2. All stakeholders acknowledge that honesty, integrity, responsibility and a strong work ethic are the foundation for success.

  3. Students must avail themselves of opportunities to communicate in the target language, both in and out of the classroom.

  4. Communication and interaction among stakeholders is defined by understanding, respect and tolerance.

  5. Collaboration and representation are essential: every stakeholder must feel that he or she is an integral part of the language-learning community.

Foreign Language Courses Offered

Students of Wilson High School are encouraged to complete 4 years of foreign language courses, with at least 3 of those years in the same language. Students are eligible to graduate after passing two years of the same language. We offer Spanish, French, and German from beginning levels all the way through AP language and literature. We also offer four years of American Sign Language (ASL) and Khmer for Khmer Speakers.

Our Khmer for Khmer Speakers program is offered from the beginning 1-2 level all the way to 7-8 advance level. This 4 years program focuses on literacy development in reading and writing in the Khmer language.

Our Spanish-speaking students must take English. They are then given the option of taking either a second foreign language or Spanish for Spanish Speakers (known as SSS). The Spanish for Spanish Speakers program offers literacy development from beginning reading and writing and continues on to AP literature.

The Spanish for Spanish Speakers program has been designed with the needs of our heritage speakers in mind. Student progression through the Heritage Spanish program allows our native Spanish-speaking students to fine tune the skills they already have and advance to higher levels, including AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature, in preparation for college entrance. It also permits students to learn their heritage language and culture in depth through literature and grammar. There are many levels of ability in our Heritage Spanish (Spanish for Spanish Speakers Program). Counselors are equipped, with the help of the World Languages Department, to make the most appropriate placement of native Spanish speakers in the Spanish Speakers program. If a student is identified as a native Spanish speaker, he/she should be placed into Heritage Spanish for Spanish Speakers or take another language offered here at Wilson such as French, German or American Sign Language. Students who already speak Spanish must not take regular Spanish 1-2 through 7-8 classes as these classes are designed for non-natives whose needs vary drastically from those of native speakers.

Some basic guidelines for heritage language placement are as follow:

  • If a student is able to speak Spanish, even if he/she feels his/her Spanish is limited, but does not know how to read or write in Spanish, the proper placement is SSS 1-2.

  • If a student is able to write a simple paragraph and read at a minimum level, the proper placement is SSS 3-4.

  • If a student has been taught how to read and write at home and he/she is able to write a well developed paragraph, the recommended placement is SSS 5-6.

It is the goal of all World Languages teachers that students develop not only the ability to communicate in the target language, but also an appreciation for the cultural aspects of language. Every World Language teacher hopes to instill in his/her students an understanding of the value of speaking more than one language, the desire to continue the study of the language for mastery at the university level, and an eagerness to use this skill in the real world.

World Languages Seal of Biliteracy

Effective January 1, 2012, and in accordance with California Assembly Bill 815, the State of California now offers the State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB) to high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages in addition to English. This is a major step forward for World Languages students and a great opportunity to include this achievement on their resumes.

Requirements to earn the SSB are as follows: 

1. Students must be proficient in English as shown on SBAC of level "standard met" or above achievement level. 

 2. AND one of the following: 

A. Pass AP Language exam with a score of 3 or better. 

B. Successfully complete a four-year course of student in the language with an average of 3.0 or above and oral/signed proficiency in the language comparabele to that required to pass an AP or IB examination.

C. Pass the SAT II Foreign Language exam with a score of 600 or better

D. Pass IB Exam with score of 4 or higher

E. Pass a district language certification (reading, writing, and speaking) comparable to an AP or certification that assesses the modalities that characterize communication if th elanguage does not have a formal listening, speaking, or reading system..

The SSB will be awarded by the Superintendent of Public Instruction in accordance with specified criteria set forth in the legislation. Seal of Biliteracy Information.