Seal of Biliteracy
Updates for 2023 are coming soon
The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by the Anchorage School District to qualifying 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 is open to any student who qualifies, including immersion and non-immersion students, ELL students, and exchange students.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 email, 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 official ASD transcript. Please note that is students qualify as a junior, they will receive a qualification email and the designation will be posted to their transcript, however, the certificate, lapel pin, and gold-embossed seal for the dimploma willl be awarded when they are a senior prior to graduation.
*Changes as of 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 2022 Seal.
Spring 2022 QUALIFICATIONS
Students must meet the following requirements in order to be awarded the District’s Spring 2022 Seal of Biliteracy:
- Must be a junior or senior during the 2021-2022 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; and
- 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, Hawaiian, 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.
ASD only covers the cost of STAMP 4S, STAMP WS (WorldSpeak), SLPI (for ASL), and AAPPL (for 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 2022 include:
Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, ASL, Chin (Hakha), Chinese (Mandarin), Chuukese, Czech, French, German, Haitian-Creole, Hawaiian, 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.
(Questions regarding ASL, Latin, or Thai should be directed to Sealofbiliteracy@asdk12.org).
Applications must be received no later than Friday, April 8th in order for student names to be recognized in their high school graduation programs. Applications received after this date will still be processed.
- A student completes the Seal application (Part 1) and returns the application to their counselor when completed.
- Counselor (Part 2) verifies ELA grade point average (through end of grade 10), signs the application, and emails it to SealofBiliteracy@asdk12.org.
- Once received, the World Language Office will send a “Received” acknowledgement via email. The World Language office also verifies second language testing requirements. If students are requesting that the scores from their 10th or 11th grade year be used, this must be indicated on the application.
At-Home Testing (available ONLY to ASD students in: ASD Virtual, Charter Schools, AMCS)
Students who are enrolled in an ASD Charter School, ASD Virtual, or AMCS (if not taking STAMP at their home school) may take the STAMP assessment at home through Avant’s third-party proctoring company.
Students wishing to participate in at-home testing should send an email to Sealofbiliteracy@asdk12.org indicating this request. The Seal of Biliteracy application should be completed and sent with the request. Once approved the student will receive a detailed email which will include: 1) how to register to take the test; 2) testing code needed to register; and 3) technology requirements (see below). Students will work directly with the testing company (Avant) to register for and complete testing. Once testing is complete and scored, ASD World Languages Dept. will verify scores through Avant’s database and students will be notified.
Online Proctoring Computer/Operating System Requirements:
- PC Computers with Windows 7, 8, or higher
- Mac Computers with OSX 10.13 High Sierra or higher
- Note: Chromebooks and tablets are currently not supported by the online proctoring service; students who only have access to a Chromebook or tablet should email Sealofbiliteracy@asdk12.org to make other arrangements.
Additional Important Requirements per the Online Proctoring Service:
- You will need to have a web camera
- You will need a smart phone either iOS or Android
- You will need speakers and a microphone OR a headset with microphone
- You will need photo ID when scheduling your test and again when you take the test
- This is a timed test; short breaks are not allowed so plan properly
“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