Free College Credit For Being Bilingual

Earning the Seal of Biliteracy

Lonyae Coulter, Staff

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Students in the North Kansas City District now have the opportunity to earn an award called the Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy is an award that recognizes graduating seniors who has reached a high level proficiency in another language.

“First and foremost, it celebrates the fact that you can speak, read and write proficiently in more than one language,” said French teacher Susan Downey.

Students have to be tested and reach a certain level of intermediate proficiency in English as well as anonther language.

Students can earn the Seal of Biliteracy in any language besides the ones offered as a class, French, Spanish and German. Students who have learned another language in their household or from a different country can earn this award.

This award is presented on transcripts and presented to colleges if earned. Several colleges across the country are now offering 12 hours of credit for free if students have the Seal of Biliteracy. There are six different universities and businesses that recognize it in Missouri.

“Any student can get the award. It’s not limited to certain students, but however, you have to take a test and write an essay to earn it,” said Downey.

The Seal of Biliteracy came about in the North Kansas City School District when Downey advocated for the program. She went to meetings and wrote a proposal that was presented to Central Office. It’s a district program, not just a program at one specific school.

Students took the Seal of Biliteracy practice test Nov. 6 to see where they would rank before they take the actual Seal of Biliteracy test to get the award.

“The practice test was a great idea, so I could see how similar the actual test will look like when we take the actual that counts toward the award,” said senior Alijah Henderson.

The test date for the Seal of Biliteracy hasn’t been released but should be in the Spring.

“The award is beneficial, because it encourages study of a second language, recognizes, promotes and praises students for their accomplishments.

 Places a value, diversity, has potential to provide employers with a means of identifying bilingual employees,” said Counselor James McNeely.