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Glendale schools eyed for Japanese program

Valley View and Dunsmore elementary schools are on district's short list.

November 07, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • File Photo: Valley View Elementary School in La Crescenta, photographed, and Dunsmore Elementary are two locations where Glendale Unified officials could offer one or two additional Japanese dual-immersion classes.
File Photo: Valley View Elementary School in La Crescenta,… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

When Glendale Unified officials downsized the Japanese dual-language program at Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School last month, they committed to finding another school to offer one or two additional classes in the program.

Officials are now eyeing Valley View and Dunsmore elementary schools because their overall enrollments are lower than average.

Glendale United Supt. Dick Sheehan will meet with parents of students at those schools on Nov. 20 to discuss moving the Japanese dual-language program to one of those campuses.

The meeting, to be held at Dunsmore, is part of the development of a master plan for the district’s popular dual-language programs in which students spend at least half the day speaking and learning in Spanish, Korean, French, German, Italian, Japanese or Armenian.

The Japanese program was leading to overcrowding at Verdugo Woodlands, where 815 students attend classes on the 5.6-acre campus. So school officials reduced the program from two classes to one at each grade level.

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“Because Dunsmore and Valley View have had steady declining enrollment, we do want to look at options that will boost their overall enrollment,” King said.

Glendale Unified aims to keep elementary populations between 600 to 800 students. Dunsmore currently has 373 students; 408 students attend Valley View.

School officials also plan to determine if either of the two schools would need additional classrooms to house the program, and they’re looking into the potential impacts on the schools’ playgrounds, cafeterias and street traffic.

Meanwhile, district staff members have proposed maintaining the Korean and Spanish dual-language programs at Toll Middle School.

When it comes to incorporating dual-language programs at the high schools, however, Sheehan was not optimistic.

“The reality is we will not be able to move all seven languages through high school,” he said, adding that students may want to start learning a third language when they become freshmen.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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