In October 2018, Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise announced a state Seal of Biliteracy would be available for participating schools to recognize students who demonstrate proficiency in two or more world languages by high school graduation. Iowa’s Seal of Biliteracy was established as part of Senate File 475.
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, Bosnian, 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.”
The Waukee Community School District has notified the state of its intention to participate and is now able to award the state Seal of Biliteracy.
For more information about the Iowa Seal of Biliteracy, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website.
Why Should Students Earn the Seal?
The Waukee Community School District educates students from around the world. We serve students who come from many different countries and speak more than 50 languages and dialects. This is one of several reasons we are choosing to offer opportunities to earn the Seal of Biliteracy.The Seal of Biliteracy 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. Being able to know and use more than one language is a critical skill for the 21st century. The Seal of Biliteracy:
- Values language as an asset
- Encourages students to study world languages
- Recognizes the value of language diversity & cultural identity
- Provides a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills
- Prepares students with 21st-century skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society
- Provides employers, universities, and grant/scholarship providers with a method to recognize applicants for their dedication to the attainment of biliteracy
- Strengthens intergroup relationships, affirm the value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and languages of a community
Above all, it is a recognition of a student’s accomplishment, hard work, and dedication to learning another language. Students can be proud of this for many years to come.
How Will A Student Earn the Seal?
The Waukee CSD offers the opportunity for language proficiency testing in grades 10-12. Students should contact their high school (10-12) counselor, world language teacher, or English as a Second Language teacher to learn more about the testing requirements and available testing dates. Information will be sent out to students and parents each November. The Waukee Community School District will ask interested students to fill out a short survey to determine our testing needs. We will provide testing opportunities in the Spring of the same academic year.
To earn the seal, students must show demonstrated proficiency in a given language.
Once a student has shown proficiency on the assessment and is approved, they will earn the Seal of Biliteracy, which goes on their high school transcript. Earning the seal does not count toward earned high school credit.
Seal of Biliteracy FAQ
Yes. If the results of an approved language assessment taken while the student was enrolled in high school are not available at the time of graduation, the district can award the Seal of Biliteracy when results are available after graduation.
No. Students can take the assessments anytime during grades 9-12.
Yes. A student could complete an assessment during their junior year, not reach the minimum required score, then retake the assessment during their senior year and earn a proficient score.
Yes. If a student demonstrates proficiency in English and more than one other world language, the Waukee Community School District will note all proficient languages on the student’s transcript.