Anaheim Union High School District celebrates fifth anniversary of Arabic language program

Arabic World Language class
Western High School students participate in Arabic World Language class.

Not too far from a three-mile stretch in Anaheim that is known to many as Little Arabia, there are students attending Western High School who are learning the Arabic language.

The 2022-23 school year marks the fifth anniversary of the Anaheim Union High School District’s Arabic World Language program.  

The diverse student population represents more than 60 different languages and countries. Of the 30,000 students in the district, approximately 6,000 of them are English learners. The top five languages spoken by these students are Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean and Arabic.  

AUHSD Unlimited You logo

Five years ago, Anaheim Union adopted the Arabic World Language program to be taught at Western High School. 

“We are proud of our scholars and families who bring many cultural and linguistic assets we celebrate and learn from,” said Dr. Renae Bryant, the district’s plurilingual services director. “The languages and cultures our plurilingual scholars bring to their education are assets for their own learning and are important contributions to our learning communities.”

The district has Spanish and Vietnamese dual language immersion programs and eight world language courses: American Sign Language, Arabic, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese. 

Since the U.S. has designated Arabic as a language of strategic importance, educators like Dr. Bryant believe these classes could open up more opportunities for scholarships and careers for students. 

Those who study Arabic can find careers in a variety of fields, including journalism, business, education, finance and banking, translation and interpretation and more. The language is the fifth most commonly spoken language in the world, but there currently is a low supply of people who are fluent in Arabic. 

“We live in a global society with a global marketplace in which the more cultural and linguistic proficiency you have the greater success and earning power you will possess,” said Dr. Bryant. 

The Arabic World language program at Western High is currently the only one of its kind in Orange County.

The district serves students in Anaheim, parts of Cypress, Buena Park, La Palma and Stanton.