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Glendale Recognized as First Language Friendly Secondary School in North America

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Glendale Recognized as First Language Friendly Secondary School in North America

On Tuesday, February 21, students and staff at Glendale Secondary School will gather for the official Language Friendly School flag raising ceremony!Language Friendly School logo

An LFS is a school where all languages spoken by students, parents and staff are welcomed and valued. As the first language friendly secondary school in North America, the flag raising event symbolizes Glendale’s intention to embrace multiculturalism and give space to these languages within the school community.

Marjorie Hewitt, head of the English as a Second-Language (ESL) department at Glendale, says this recognition provides a safe and inviting environment for students and staff. “Being recognized as an LFS communicates to students, parents and staff that multiculturalism is an asset in our school, and that we acknowledge each person’s lived experiences and identity. When we value students’ home languages, we provide a safe and inviting environment for them to enter our doors and feel welcomed and at home,” said Marjorie.

To become an LFS, schools must develop language plans that adapt to the needs of their school community. “Principal David Schroeder and I met with managers at LFS to make sure our approach aligned with LFS’s standards, including allowing students to speak their home languages at school, not discouraging parents from speaking their home languages with their children, and not allowing exclusion around accents or dialects,” said Marjorie. “From here, we submitted an application and signed a contract. We have frequent check-ins with LFS leaders to see how we are progressing with our aims.”

On top of aligning with LFS’s standards, Glendale is going above and beyond by initiating a variety of actions to support multilingualism in their school community. “We regularly engage professional interpreters to support parents in home-school communication.  We are also engaging multilingual students to help welcome newcomer students who have limited English-speaking skills and encouraging them to volunteer as multilingual leaders for events when parents come into the school,” said Marjorie. “Incorporating fun into our LFS plan, we are making the 40+ languages spoken at Glendale more visible with multilingual welcome signs displayed throughout the school. We have also started playing international music between classes for students to immerse themselves in different cultures. We are excited to initiate many more activities over the next couple of years!” she said.

Starting as a group of only four staff, Glendale’s LFS team has grown into a group 15 teachers and administrators and three student leaders. “They are an awesome and diverse group of people with creativity and enthusiasm! We are excited to continue growing our team to collaborate on more initiatives that support our multilingual community,” said Marjorie.

In celebration of this achievement, Glendale staff and students will gather on Tuesday, February 21 at 9 a.m. to raise the LFS flag.

To read more about Language Friendly Schools, please click here.

Updated on Tuesday, February 14, 2023.
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