Monday, June 5, 2017

A new marker of success at graduation: The seal of biliteracy - The Washington Post

A new marker of success at graduation: The seal of biliteracy - The Washington Post:

A new marker of success at graduation: The seal of biliteracy


Max Moss started studying Spanish in sixth grade and never stopped. He learned to speak the language, read it and understand conversations. By the time he hit 12th grade, he knew enough to recite 13th century poetry and write his senior thesis in Spanish.
This week, as he graduates from high school, he will be among the first Maryland students recognized for his linguistic achievement under a new state program.
The teenager and hundreds of others in the state are getting a “seal of biliteracy” with their diplomas for showing high levels of proficiency in English and another language. The idea comes from a national initiative that has picked up momentum, with more than two dozen states and the District of Columbia embracing it during the past six years.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Moss, 18, who graduates from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville on Thursday. “It’s nice to be recognized. I took it seven years, and I put a lot of work into it.”
Educators say they hope the recognition sends a broader message about the value of language learning, giving a boost to students who excel in a foreign language as well as those who arrive speaking foreign languages and then learn English.
“It may be one of the game changers that will help us turn the tide in this country and help us focus on raising a multilingual citizenry,” said Marty Abbott, executive director of American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
Maryland lawmakers passed legislation to create the program in 2016, and it has taken shape in the months since then. Seven of the state’s 24 school systems signed on for this graduation season, including those in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. More are expected to follow.


“We see enthusiasm for adding it in other counties,” said Susan Spinnato, director of A new marker of success at graduation: The seal of biliteracy - The Washington Post:

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