Seal of Biliteracy
The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by the Anchorage School District to graduating juniors or seniors* in recognition of students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. The Seal also recognizes, supports, and endorses students' first/home languages. The Seal 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. It takes the form of a seal that appears on the diploma of the graduating senior and is also documented on their official transcript.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than sixty-five million U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home—a number that has been growing decade by decade since the 1970s. Nevertheless, that number represents only 20.7 percent of the total population, and only a fraction of this cohort speaks, reads, and comprehends a second language well enough to use it in their everyday lives. The vast majority of American citizens remain monolingual.
While English continues to be the lingua franca for world trade and diplomacy, there is an emerging consensus among leaders in business and politics, teachers, scientists, and community members that proficiency in English is not sufficient to meet the nation’s needs in a shrinking world, nor the needs of individual citizens who interact with other peoples and cultures more than at any other time in human history (Commission on Language Learning, 2017, American Academy of Arts & Sciences).
ASD juniors/seniors who earn the Seal of Biliteracy receive a qualification letter, a certificate signed by the Superintendent, and a bronze lapel pin. A gold seal is placed on the student's diploma and documentation of the Seal, by language, is recorded on the student's transcript.
*Changes for Spring 2021: Now both juniors and seniors may apply for the Seal of Biliteracy. This will allow students who qualify earlier to include this recognition in their college/university applications. Additionally, approved second language (STAMP, etc.) scores will now be accepted from the student’s sophomore, junior or senior years. Students must indicate which school year they are requesting scores to be from when they complete the application for the Spring 2021 Seal.
QUALIFICATIONS (to be updated for Spring 2022)
Students must meet the following requirements in order to be awarded the District’s Spring 2021 Seal of Biliteracy:
- Must be a junior or senior during the 2020-2021 school year
- Completion of all ASD English language arts graduation requirements through the end of grade 10 (4 semesters) with an overall ELA grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
- Demonstrate proficiency in one or more approved* world languages other than English:
*Current approved languages include: Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, ASL, Chin (Hakha), Chinese (Mandarin), Chuukese, Czech, French, German, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Ilocano, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latin, Marathi, Marshallese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Somali (Maxaa and Maay Maay), Spanish, Tagalog (Filipino), Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Yup’ik (Hawaiian is anticipated to be available in late spring)
ASD only covers the cost of STAMP 4S, WorldSpeak, SLPI, and AAPPL (Thai only).
Students requesting ASL, Latin, or Thai must contact us by sending an email to SealofBiliteracy@asdk12.org.
The Seal of Biliteracy is Designed to:
- encourage students to study languages
- certify attainment of biliteracy skills
- recognize the value of diversity
- provide potential future employers with a a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills
- provides colleges and universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for attainment of high level skills in multiple languages
- prepare students with 21st century skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society
- strengthen intergroup relationships and honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community
Biliteracy refers to having a functional level of proficiency in each of two or more languages. The level of proficiency is not necessarily identical in each language.
Languages Currently Available
Current approved languages for spring 2021 include:
Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, ASL, Chin (Hakha), Chinese (Mandarin), Chuukese, Czech, French, German, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Ilocano, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latin, Marathi, Marshallese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Somali (Maxaa and Maay Maay), Spanish, Tagalog (Filipino), Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Yup’ik (Hawaiian is anticipated to be available in late spring.
(Questions regarding ASL or Latin should be directed to Brandon Locke).
The 2022 Seal of Biliteracy application and process will be available in late 2021.
“Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. The United States must educate students who are equipped linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American society and abroad. This imperative envisions a future in which ALL students will develop and maintain proficiency in English and at least one other language, modern or classical. Learners who come from non-English-speaking backgrounds should also have opportunities to develop further proficiencies in their first language.”
-- World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages
All high schools have a building coordinator for the Seal of Biliteracy; please contact this individual for any questions regarding the Seal of Biliteracy at these schools:
- Bartlett: Brenda Hearn
- Chugiak: Kristi Senden
- Dimond: Betsy Paskvan
- Eagle River: Jennifer Riksen
- East: Angela Nishimura*
- Polaris K-12: Mira Starr
- Service: Fauna Reynvaan
- South: Elizabeth Dick
- Steller: Rosalie Hohnstein
- West: Will Kimball