District of Columbia Public Schools to Award Seal of Biliteracy to Students at Graduation

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New designation awarded to juniors and seniors who demonstrate proficiency in more than one language

D.C. Presswire, May 11, 2015 – This spring, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) will award the Seal of Biliteracy as a special recognition to students who have demonstrated proficiency in more than one language by high school graduation. The recognition of attaining biliteracy will become part of students’ high school transcript along with an official seal affixed to their diploma.

“Earning the Seal of Biliteracy is a tremendous accomplishment for our students who have demonstrated mastery in multiple languages,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “We are extremely proud of their hard work and commitment to gaining multilingual and multicultural skills. These abilities are strong assets in today’s global society and will support their success throughout their entire lives.”

The DCPS Seal of Biliteracy is awarded based on guidelines drafted by The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE), the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL), and TESOL International Association. To be eligible to receive the DCPS Seal of Biliteracy, students must submit an application to their guidance counselor with completed course work and test results demonstrating cultural and communicative competency.

Nationwide, nine states and the District of Columbia award a Seal of Biliteracy. DCPS is proud to be the first in the region to recognize the unique skills of our multilingual students with this award. DCPS is committed to providing students opportunities to obtain these skills. For a third year in a row, we have committed funds to provide all DCPS elementary school students access to weekly world-language instruction. Eight DCPS schools also offer dual-language programs. To expand on these offerings, the new Brookland Middle School opening in fall 2015 will provide students with intensive arts and world-language experiences.

“We challenge our schools and communities to invest in our future leaders with opportunities for developing biliteracy or multi-literacy skills,” said Dr. Libia Gil, U.S. Department of Education assistant deputy secretary, director of the Office of English Language Acquisition. “Congratulations to DCPS for taking this challenge and making a commitment to recognize graduates with a Seal of Biliteracy for their achievements in two languages.”

DCPS high school seniors and juniors can apply for the Seal of Biliteracy by obtaining an application from their guidance counselors or by clicking here. For more information on the application process and eligibility requirements, visit the DCPS website.

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