Gunn's ELL Program


Gunn's English Language Learner Program
: International families who plan to move to Palo Alto and send children to high school need to contact the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) office to arrange to take the California English Language Development Test (CELDT). All new students take an English proficiency/school placement test. 

The results of this test will determine whether a student will attend Palo Alto High or Gunn High. The English Learner Program is located at Gunn High while Palo Alto High School does not currently offer an EL Program or support services for English Learners.

All students new to Palo Alto who speak a language other than English are given the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) to determine English proficiency and high school placement. This is a state mandated test that is required before a student can be admitted to school or make course selections.

All international students should arrive at their course selection appointment at their assigned high school with transcripts (high school records)  from their previous high school if they have attended any part of the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grades prior to arriving in Palo Alto. Our high school counselors are trained to interpret international school transcripts after they have been translated by a local or international service. 

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The English Learner Program at Gunn High offers placement in four levels of English and specially designed courses that are required in Social Studies that include World History, U.S. History, Contemporary World History, and U.S. Government. In addition, the EL Program provides primary language tutoring in all homework subjects to students learning English who need help understanding their homework and tests.

The EL English  curriculum is  currently designed around National Geographic’s fiction/non-fiction anthologies in four different levels. Students focus on readings in high school academic English, expand sentence and paragraph writing skills, practice grammar in four levels of Focus on Grammar, write in Journals, learn to write book reports, and participate in lively class discussions.

As students move through the EL program and into regular classes, their progress is monitored by the annual CELDT, grade achievement in all classes, writing skills, and California’s STAR scores in the English language arts. It is the goal of the EL Program for each English Learner to be re-designated “Fluent English Proficient” (FEP) before graduation and it is a great achievement to receive this re-designation on a high school record. This information is then provided to colleges and universities when high school transcripts are requested.

Please see the Gunn Course Catalog for more detailed course descriptions.