The NYS Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, school district or county office of education in recognition of students who have attained a high level of proficiency in two or more world languages by high school graduation, one of which must be English. By offering the Seal, schools clearly state that mastery of two or more world languages is a critical skill for their graduates. It can take the form of a seal that appears on the student’s diploma and/or a notation on the official transcript and graduation program. It can be accompanied by a medal, certificate, graduation cord or other regalia at the discretion of the school.
The New York State Seal of Biliteracy was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 31, 2012 behind the sponsorship of Senator Robach and Assemblywoman Arroyo. 40 states and the District of Columbia currently have state-approved Seal programs. Since the inception of this program, over 12,000 students have earned the NYS Seal of Biliteracy in 59 world languages and English.
What is the purpose of the NYS Seal of Biliteracy?
The purpose of the NYS Seal of Biliteracy is to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English. Students whose home language is other than English as well as students who pursue an advanced course of study in a world language in high school are both eligible and encouraged to apply. To earn the Seal, students must complete the requirements for the Regents Diploma and earn 3 points in English and 3 points in a World Language from a choice matrix. Points can be earned by earning an 85% in upper-level courses, by earning a score on an approved exam, and/or by completing and presenting a culminating project. See a complete list of the criteria to earn the Seal here.
Why should schools offer the Seal of Biliteracy?
• To encourage students to study languages
• To recognize the value of language diversity
• To provide employers with a method of identifying people with language skills
• To provide universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for attainment of high level skills in multiple languages
• To prepare students with 21st century skills
• To honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community
The Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages is ready to assist any of our state’s religious and independent schools who would like more information on starting a Seal Biliteracy program. Free webinars will be offered to assist you in establishing a program at your school. Interested parties should email the OBEWL at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information on the NYSSB can be obtained using the following link: http://www.nysed.gov/world-languages/new-york-state-seal-biliteracy-nyssb.