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Districts urged to sign up for state biliteracy seal

Date: Thursday, September 29, 2022

"2023 Biliteracy seal"The deadline is approaching for districts to sign up for Iowa’s Biliteracy Seal – an award program designed to honor high school students who are biliterate in two or more languages.

The seal is an important distinction for graduating students.

“We are a global market and being biliterate is a big asset in this environment,” said Stefanie Wager, an Iowa Department of Education consultant. “Knowing and using more than one language is a critical 21st-century skill.”

Already 117 districts across the state hand out the award, including Des Moines Public Schools. World language curriculum and Seal of Biliteracy Coordinator Samantha Finneseth said the seal is an integral part of graduation.

“Districts with strong community ties, business programs, career readiness programs, and college preparation programs directly benefit from using the Seal of Biliteracy to ensure students are developing skills needed to connect and grow as global citizens.” she said. “By helping students focus on language communication skills, it helps our communities grow and remain competitive in a global economy.”

The Seal of Biliteracy values language as an asset, prepares students for the workforce with a valuable skill and provides employers, universities and scholarship providers with a method to recognize applicants for their dedication to attaining biliteracy.

A district or accredited nonpublic school will need to identify students who qualify for a biliteracy seal. To qualify, a student must show proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening, where applicable, in English and another language. Students may meet requirements at any time during their high school enrollment. However, if a student moves to a different district or state that does not recognize the seal, the student may not be able to earn the seal.

Administrators can sign up for the program in the Fall Basic Educational Data Survey (BEDS). The deadline is Oct. 30.