FPS Proudly Prepares for the Official Launch of the State Seal of Biliteracy
Framingham Public Schools
Robert A. Tremblay, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools
Genoveffa Grieci, Director * Jennifer LaBollita, Assistant Director
73 Mount Wayte Avenue, Suite #5
Framingham, Massachusetts 01702
Telephone: 508-626-9171 Fax: 508-877-4240
April 1, 2019 (Framingham, MA): Over the past three years, Framingham Public Schools has taken various opportunities to educate the wider community on the Seal of Biliteracy. Up until this year, Framingham Public Schools, alongside 304 other Districts across the country, has been a ‘pilot district’ for the Biliteracy Project which means we’ve been part of a national group designated to test the effectiveness of education towards proficiency in two or more languages.
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 named according to a general skill level in a partner language: Biliteracy Participation, Biliteracy Attainment and Biliteracy 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 is the first year that the state of Massachusetts is implementing the official ‘State Seal of Biliteracy’ for any student who meets 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 150 seniors with one of the two State Seals.
The chart below summarizes the criteria for the awards. The complete regulations from the state are available at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/ell/guidance/biliteracy.docx
Standardized Assessment Criteria for English and Partner Language
State Seal of Biliteracy With Distinction
In order to receive the State Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction, a student will need a score of Advanced on the grade 10 ELA MCAS and a proficiency score of Advanced-Low based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Rubric in a partner language. Framingham will use the AAPL (ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages®).
State Seal of Biliteracy
In order to receive the State Seal of Biliteracy, a student will need a score of Proficient on the grade 10 ELA MCAS and a proficiency score of Intermediate-High based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Rubric in a partner language. Framingham will use the AAPL (ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages®).
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.
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 the 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 three 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 criteria. Framingham Public Schools is one of the few MA Districts that has piloted and provided feedback to the LOC on the implementation of these awards. 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.
Eligible students in grades 5 and 8 who wish to be considered for LOC Awards, will need to demonstrate at least an intermediate-low level of proficiency in a partner language. This is done through a portfolio review and the proficiency is based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Rubric. The portfolio assessment reviews bilingual writing samples; a statement of bilingualism (written in both languages); a reading log; a community service log; and an oral assessment.
Eligible students in grade 12 who wish to be considered for the LOC Biliteracy Achievement award will need to demonstrate an intermediate-mid level proficiency in a partner language; this is done through meeting the English proficiency criteria in the MCAS-ELA and ACCESS for English Language Learners (ELLS) and the partner language proficiency on the AAPL assessment.
About the Bilingual Education Department
The Bilingual 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.