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Seal of Biliteracy

What is the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB)?

“The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, school district or county office of education in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. The individual school district will apply for the Seal through NYSED (the New York State Education Department). The Seal of Biliteracy takes the form of a gold seal that appears on the diploma of the graduating senior and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admissions.”

Why Implement a Seal of Biliteracy?

A Seal of Biliteracy makes a statement by the school system that mastery of two or more languages is important. It 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.

Who is eligible to receive the Seal of Biliteracy?

Seals of Biliteracy are intended for all students who master standard academic English and any other language. Assessments, including Advanced Placement Tests (AP) are available in many languages. For each level, criteria are set for students whose first language is English who are learning a second language and for English Learners who are developing academic proficiency in their home language while mastering English.

What are the requirements for students to gain a Seal of Biliteracy?

Students must receive at least 3 points in meeting the criteria for English proficiency and at least 3 points in meeting the criteria for proficiency in a World Language. In order to meet these points there is a point rubric created by New York State to guide districts in developing the proper assessments and courses to aid in achieving the six points.

Who awards the Seal of Biliteracy?

The Seal of Biliteracy was designed to be awarded by school district or state; however, an individual school site or school program may also decide to implement the award. NYSED will provide to participating districts a NYSSB digital Seal image to be placed directly on student diplomas. Official Transcripts for college will have language added to recognize that the student has received the NYSSOB. Districts may also have stickers created from the digital image to be placed on diplomas. There is no fee to students for the Seal.

What is the process for school districts to establish a Seal of Biliteracy Program?

  1. Create a Seal of Biliteracy Committee
  2. Communicate the program to students, parents and the public
  3. Review student applications
  4. Advise, monitor and evaluate student work throughout the year
  5. Notify NYSED of intent to establish program through application form no later than January of the school year.
  6. Complete a district end of year report notifying NYSED of which students are receiving the Seal and how they earned it.

*In April of 2016 the New York State Regents adopted the Seal of Biliteracy

Select this link for a copy of Onteora's 2019-20 Seal of Biliteracy Handbook.

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