Shawnee Mission students lead the state as Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) recognizes 125 students earning the Kansas Seal of Biliteracy, based on 2019-2020 results. This achievement is awarded by KSDE and recognizes any student who has attained proficiency in English and one of more other world languages.
The success in this achievement is contributed to the World Language Departments at all five high schools Christopher Villarreal, secondary coordinator of English Language Arts and social studies noted. Villarreal compliments teachers for the “excellent job of promoting this recognition to students, and emphasizing the value of being biliterate.” The recognition for attaining biliteracy becomes part of a student’s high school transcript. The Seal of Biliteracy is intended to be a statement of accomplishment that recognizes a student’s readiness for career, college, and engagement as a global citizen.
“Being biliterate helps increase understanding of and connection to other cultures. It also helps our students gain a competitive edge as they pursue post-secondary avenues,” Villarreal added.
Kansas recognizes students at two different levels of proficiency. “Biliteracy” refers to having a functional level of proficiency for the Silver award and a working level of proficiency for the Gold award in two or more languages. The level of proficiency includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. A student’s language proficiency must be demonstrated at the designated level or higher for each award. In Kansas, 425 students earned the Seal of Biliteracy. Approximately one in four students who earned the Seal of Biliteracy learned to speak English as a second language.
“Our students who receive the Kansas State Seal of Biliteracy go above and beyond the expectations of the classroom to truly acquire knowledge and skills to prepare them for their future.” Villarreal expressed. “We are incredibly proud of them for their accomplishment and for being excellent scholars for our district”.