New state seal available for biliterate students
Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise today announced a state seal of biliteracy is now available for participating schools to recognize students who demonstrate proficiency in two or more world languages by high school graduation.
To receive a seal, students in participating schools must demonstrate proficiency in English and at least one other language through approved assessments. All languages will be recognized, including Spanish, Chinese, and American Sign Language. About 140 languages are spoken in Iowa.
“Communicating in more than one language will serve our students well in their college and career pursuits, as well as in our global economy,” Wise said. “The seal of biliteracy is about formally acknowledging this important 21st century skill and giving students whose first language is not English an opportunity to validate their native languages.”
Iowa’s seal of biliteracy was established as part of Senate File 475, adopted by legislators earlier this year.
The state seal is optional for public schools and districts and accredited nonpublic schools. Schools and districts that intend to participate in the 2018-19 school year must notify the department by Dec. 1.
Participating schools will identify students who have met eligibility requirements and determine whether the seal will be included on student diplomas or high school transcripts. These schools also will be subject to annual state reporting requirements.
“We hope that all schools throughout the state will offer Iowa’s seal of biliteracy to their students because it is a wonderful opportunity,” Wise said.