What is a Seal of Biliteracy?
The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school or school district in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. The Seal appears on the transcript or diploma of the graduating senior and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admissions.
So far, three Colorado School Districts have officially adopted the Seal of Biliteracy (Adams 14 in Commerce City, Denver Public Schools, and Eagle County Schools). For more information, support, and questions about adopting the Seal of Biliteracy in YOUR school district, please contact Jorge García at firstname.lastname@example.org
Across the U.S., as of August 1, 2016, twenty-one states have official Seals of Biliteracy, and many other states are in the process of developing their own Seal of Biliteracy programs. To learn more about other states' efforts to implement seals of Biliteracy, visit www.sealofbiliteracy.org.
Why Implement a Seal of Biliteracy?
A Seal of Biliteracy is a statement by the school system that mastery of two or more languages is important. It encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the skills our students attain, and can be evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices. The Seal of Biliteracy:
- Encourages students to study languages
- Certifies attainment of biliteracy skills
- Recognizes the value of language diversity
- Provides employers with a method of identifying people with high level literacy skills in multiple languages
- Provides universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for attainment of high level skills in multiple languages
- Prepares students with 21st century skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society
- Strengthens intergroup relationships and honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community.
Steps towards the Seal
Clarify the Purpose and Rationale What is our district purpose for giving the awards? What is the “frame” and rationale that will resonate in our community? Here is a Sample Resolution with supporting information.
Determine the level of Pathway Awards to be granted Pathway awards description When do we want them (ie: end of kindergarten, end of 3rd grade, end of middle school, end of high school or resignation)? What would our criteria be?
Define the criteria for granting the awards GPA,, existing assessments, AP, World Language, classes offered, portfolios, presentations, etc. What already exists/is is in place that you can use? What do other districts do? See Sample applications below for sample criteria.
Develop outreach strategies and an application process Who do you need to communicate with, when, how? What will the application process look like? Electronic/hard copy? Essay? Letter of intent? Parent signature? Denver Sample Adams 14 Sample
Design the Award and the process for award presentation Student created? On transcripts/diplomas? Ceremony? Cord?
Seek endorsements and spread the word Community night, portfolio presentations, community outreach
What might State Criteria look like?
The Colorado legislature considered a bill to create a State of Colorado Biliteracy Endorsement during the 2016 legislative session. After easily passing the House with bipartisan support the bill was not allowed to be heard in the Senate so it never even appeared before the Senate Education Committee or the full Senate. Given its bipartisan and popular support it appears to have suffered a political fate not based on its merits. There were changes that would have probably appeared in the final version had it been allowed to be heard in the Senate but here it is in its original version to see what the legislature was considering. HB 16-1365 Concerning a High School Diploma Endorsement for Biliteracy
Seal of Biliteracy UPDATE Feb. 14th
-Posted on February 15th, 2017
The Colorado Seal of Biliteracy, SB17-123 by Senator(s) Priola and Zenzinger; also Representative(s) Hamner and Wilson--Concerning a high school diploma endorsement for biliteracy was on the Senate floor for second reading on Valentines Day. Sen. Priola moved SB123. Sen. Zenzinger moved amendment L003. Sen. Zenzinger said this is just a technical amendment that changes an ‘an’ to an ‘or.’ Amendment L003 was adopted. SB123 was adopted on second reading and will be up for third (final) reading in the near future.
Contact your state senator to urge a yes vote on Senate bill 123 now.
Seal of Biliteracy UPDATE Feb. 9th
-Posted on February 10th, 2017
Senate Bill 123, the Colorado Seal of Biliteracy, was passed out of the Senate Education Committee on a 6-1 vote on Wednesday, Feb.8th. The only NO vote was from Senator Tim Newell. It will now be heard by the entire Senate at a later date, not yet scheduled. Bipartisan sponsors, Sen. Kevin Priola and Sen. Rachel Zenzinger were very appreciative to have CABE Executive Director, Jorge Garcia, testify in support of the bill. Jorge was also representing a coalition of organizations including the Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT) and the Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (COTESOL) in support of the bill. All of the testimony was in favor of this bipartisan bill and the strong vote from the Senate Education Committee is a good sign for the bill's chances in the full Senate. CABE urges you to find out who your senator is and to contact her or him and ask them to support the bill when it comes up for a vote.
Colorado Seal of Biliteracy February 8th, 2017
-Posted on February 7th, 2017
The Colorado Seal of Biliteracy (SB 17-123) will be heard by the Senate Education Committee Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. Show your support for Colorado 's Seal of Biliteracy. Show up at the Capitol Room 271 at 10:00 AM on Wednesday.
The Colorado Seal of Biliteracy is co-sponsored by bipartisan legislators.
If your State Senator is on the Senate Education Committee call them to urge their support for SB 17-123. We need to show strong support so please go to the Senate Education Committee Hearing. We can do this with your help!