Shushanna Petrosyan wrapped up the Pledge of Allegiance and instructed everyone at a recent Glendale Unified School District Board of Education meeting to be seated.
“I’m in fifth grade at Horace Mann Elementary School,” she began.
Born in Armenia, Shushanna said she enrolled in Glendale Unified four years ago.
“I didn’t know a word of English,” she continued. “Three months later, I was speaking faster than all my friends.”
Glendale Unified is no stranger to students like Shushanna. Twenty-five percent of the district’s students are learning English as a second language, and another 39% have learned and worked their way into fluency, according to the district’s most recent language census report released in March 2009. Combined, 64% of the roughly 26,660 students are bilingual in the sixth-largest school district in Los Angeles County.