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World Languages

Woodside High School Languages

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Woodside High School is proud to offer a wide variety of languages:

French, Latin, Mandarin, Spanish, and Spanish for Heritage Speakers.

Woodside offers all levels from beginning to Advanced Placement.

Who we are

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Patricia Sparacino (French 1-2)
Laurence Arfi-Tocatlian (French 3, 4, AP)
Yihui Xu- levels 1, 2, 3, 4/AP
Alan Eaton (all levels)
Karen Dorsey- levels 1 & 3
Trinidad Lara- levels 1 & 2
Maggie Thomsen- level 2
Ilse Tapia- Spanish 4 and Spanish 4 for native speakers
Julieta Gomez- level 3 for native speakers, AP Spanish Language & Culture, AP Spanish Literature
Juan Carlos Prado- levels 2, 3 and 4 for native speakers
 Department Chair:

Karen Dorsey

What level is right for my student?

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What level is right for my student?

If you are unsure about what level is appropriate, please contact the department chair or your guidance counselor.  We have assessments to effectively place students in the course where they will be the most successful.


We have standard placement guidelines and assessments to help make the transition to Woodside's language program seamless. Most students entering Woodside from a feeder school or a different high school move into the next level or step. There are, however, circumstances and exceptions that require a placement test and/or interview. The department chair can put you in touch with a teacher of the appropriate language to ensure your student is appropriately placed.


An additional word about Native/Heritage speakers - All students who come to Woodside who are enrolled in Spanish classes are assessed within the first 2 - 3 days of school to confirm or correct appropriate placement.  The native speakers classes are a bit of  misnomer.  Many students do not relate to the term "native speaker," nor do they feel they are a native speaker.   The main difference is that where a student in Spanish I typically has zero exposure to Spanish, a student in Native/Heritage Speakers typically has some exposure to the language outside of school.  For example, a student in the first level of Spanish for Native Speakers may already understand simple sentences, know colors, or know numbers in Spanish.  They may know how to speak or understand some Spanish, but not read or write it.  When given a question in Spanish, they might respond in English, but the question is understood.  This is compared to a non-native speaker in Spanish 1 who doesn't understand, read, write, or speak any Spanish at all.  The assessment is given to all students to be sure they are placed appropriately for their language-learning needs and to best fit our program.  

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