On Monday evening, the School Committee agreed to adopt the Seal of Biliteracy, which broadens opportunities for Winthrop High School students who are English Language Learners (ELL).
Going forward, students who take or speak a second language, will be offered a chance to take an ACT test to measure their proficiency in language. Depending on the grade they receive, they will qualify for the state seal, which will be placed on the student’s diploma and transcripts.
“The state is using it as a strong message for the public and employers for the future,” said Curriculum Director, Lori Gallivan. “It will certainly be looked at as a kudos for graduates who receive it.”
The SEAL of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, district, or state which distinguishes students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by the time they reach graduation.
This new opportunity is part of the LOOK Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on Nov. 22, 2017, and opens up the doors for students who have mastered standard academic English and any other language, including American Sign Language.
Massachusetts is one of 35 states to have adopted the act. The intention is to provide school districts with more room to meet the needs of English learners based on the school’s particular English learner population.
In addition to giving students a boost on their resume, the Seal of Biliteracy inspires students to pursue biliteracy, while also honoring the skills that they attain as a result of being proficient in more than one language. In today’s job market, being bilingual is certainly a well-respected skill that employers and college admissions offices are seeking out.