FPS is Proud to Announce the Recipients of the State Seal of Biliteracy for the 2019-20 SY
Framingham Public Schools is Proud to Announce the Recipients of the State Seal of Biliteracy for the 2019-2020 School Year
July 9, 2020 (Framingham, MA): Over the past four years, Framingham Public Schools has taken various opportunities to educate the wider community on the Seal of Biliteracy. As shared last year, Framingham Public Schools previously participated in a 3-year pilot for the Biliteracy Project. The 2018-2019 school year was the first year that the Seal of Biliteracy was officially recognized across the Commonwealth and this past school year (2019-2020), Framingham was one of 151 Massachusetts school districts who participated in the Seal initiative.
Framingham Public Schools is proud to share that there were a total of 239 students in grades 5, 8 and 12 this past school year who have met the eligibility requirements for the STATE Seal of Biliteracy (55), Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC) (172) and Framingham Public Schools (12) in furthering their bilingual and/or trilingual skills. Please read on to learn more about the different awards, criteria, and to see a compilation of student work that reflects the impressive effort and abilities of our multilingual students.
The Seal of Biliteracy movement is a national effort to value and reward biliteracy and the legislation surrounding it represents a formal commitment by the state to the importance of language learning in this global environment. As part of a comprehensive bill to overhaul English language learning education, the MA legislation called “Language Opportunity for Our Kids” or the LOOK Bill, was signed into law by Governor Baker on November 22, 2017. This legislation and state oversight creates a directive to language programs that the historic grammar-based language instruction is not effective and does not produce proficiency.
The State Seal of Biliteracy is an award given in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in two or more languages by the time they reach high school graduation. It recognizes the value of bilingualism, 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. Students can also receive district pathway awards, or Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC) Awards along different points of language mastery at grades 5, 8, and 12. These LOC Awards are categorized according to a general skill level in a partner language: Participation, Attainment and Achievement.
The STATE Seals of Biliteracy and LOC Biliteracy Awards recognize students who have achieved proficiency in English as well as one or more additional languages, whether it be a native language, a heritage language, or an additional language learned in school or in another setting. The awards are a statement of accomplishment that helps to signal evidence of a student’s readiness for career and college, and to engage as a global citizen. For more information about the nationwide adoption please refer to http://sealofbiliteracy.org/.
The Official State Seal of Biliteracy
This was the second year that the state of Massachusetts has implemented the official ‘State Seal of Biliteracy’ for any student who met the eligibility criteria in English and in a partner (foreign) language via an insignia on the student diploma. Framingham Public Schools has proudly elected to participate in this initiative and this year plans to graduate approximately 55 seniors with one of the two State Seals.
The chart below summarizes the updated criteria for the awards. The complete regulations from the state are available at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/scholarships/biliteracy/
Standardized Assessment Criteria for English and Partner Language
State Seal of Biliteracy With Distinction
To receive the State Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction, students must demonstrate at least a level 7 in a language other than English on the STAMP test or a score of 5 on the (Partner Language) Advanced Placement test AND receive a qualifying score of at least 260 on the Legacy MCAS ELA. Framingham also requests an original statement of bilingualism in English and the Partner Language and completion of community service. (The community service requirement was waived this year for students who could not complete the hours prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
State Seal Biliteracy
To receive the State Seal of Biliteracy, students must demonstrate at least level 6 in a language other than English on the STAMP test or a 4 on the (Partner Language) Advanced Placement test AND receive a qualifying score of at least 240 on the Legacy MCAS ELA or Level 4.2 overall and Level 3.9 composite literacy score on the WIDA ACCESS test for English Learners. Framingham also requests an original statement of bilingualism in English and the Partner Language and completion of community service. (The community service requirement was waived this year for students who could not complete the hours prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The State Seal represents a huge advantage for students looking to further their academic career or enter the workforce. Being bilingual, bilterate, and bicultural provides students unique opportunities in work, in life, in other areas of the world, and to strengthen intergroup communication and honor the multiple cultures and languages in the community. Additionally, this year the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is awarding graduating seniors who’ve earned the state Seal of Biliteracy with a voucher to take a Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) at no cost. Students may choose to apply this award to either the Communication and Literacy MTEL or the Bilingual Education MTEL.
The Pathway / Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC) Awards
Children in Framingham are offered the opportunity to receive a dual language education beginning in preschool and can follow that course through to graduation. Throughout their academic career in Framingham, there are pathway awards available for all students, particularly heritage speakers of other languages, students participating in World Languages, and students participating in the Bilingual and Dual Language programs. These awards promote continued learning of languages in addition to English; encourage enrollment in language learning opportunities and programs; shape initial attitudes and inform children about language diversity; and prepare students with 21st century skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society.
There are various types of LOC Awards given at the completion of grades 5, 8, and 12. The District’s pathway awards are coordinated with the Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC) Biliteracy Awards Eligibility Criteria. These multi-tiered recognitions encourage students to continue with long term and sustained language development, with the ultimate goal of reaching proficiency in a partner language which eventually will lead to students becoming eligible for the State Seal of Biliteracy.
All of the awards recognize developing biliteracy along a student’s language learning trajectory.
The Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC) Biliteracy Participation Award is available for students completing grade 5.
The Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC) Biliteracy Attainment Award is available for students completing grade 5 and grade 8.
The Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC) Biliteracy Achievement Award is available for students completing grade 5, grade 8, and grade 12.
During the 2019-2020 school year, 172 students in the district received the LOC Awards at grade 5, 8 and 12. Framingham Public Schools also distributed 12 awards to students who have shown significant investment in learning languages but were not eligible for an LOC Award or a Seal Award at grade 12.
Framingham Public Schools would like to congratulate all of the students being recognized by The Language Opportunity Coalition for their hard work and dedication towards furthering their multilingual and multiliterate skills. Community members are invited to watch a wonderful celebration video and read through a commemorative booklet containing students’ Statements of Biliteracy. The District is grateful to all of the teachers, staff, parents/guardians, and students who put forth effort and encouraged the pursuit of this important and rewarding project.
About the Multilingual Education Department (formerly known as the Bilingual Education Department)
The Multilingual Education Department offers research-based programs and exemplary instruction for English learners in the Framingham Public Schools. FPS has a diverse student population and currently services students from over 70 countries, including Brazil, China, Haiti, India, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Vietnam and several Spanish-speaking countries. The district is committed to offering the highest quality of educational services to all students, and administers English Learner Education programs with the goal of developing English language proficiency and achieving state content-area standards, while simultaneously valuing students' native languages and cultural backgrounds.
About Framingham Public Schools
The mission of the Framingham Public Schools is to educate each student to learn and live productively as a critically-thinking, responsible citizen in a multicultural, democratic society by providing academically challenging instructional programs taught by highly-qualified staff and supported by comprehensive services in partnership with our entire community. For news, updates, and announcements, follow Framingham Public Schools (@FraminghamPS) on Facebook, Twitter, and (@framinghamschools) on Instagram. You can also join the conversation using #FraminghamSchools.