SMSD Is State Leader in Seal of Biliteracy

SMSD Is State Leader in Seal of Biliteracy
Shawnee Mission School District

Students in the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) have earned the highest number of Seal of Biliteracy Certificates in the state!

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) recognizes 116 SMSD students for earning the Kansas Seal of Biliteracy, based on 2020-2021 results. A certificate recognizes any student who has attained proficiency in English and one or more other world languages. This achievement is placed on students’ high school transcripts and recognizes a student’s readiness for career, college, and engagement as a global citizen, according to KSDE.

This acknowledges the hard work and dedication of students studying and demonstrating proficiency in world language classes and the dedication of students learning English as an additional language, highlighted Kristin Ridgway, secondary coordinator of English Language Arts and social studies.

“I am proud of the dedication of the students and the collaborative efforts of world language, English Language Arts, and all content area teachers who support our students in their language development,” Ridgway added.

The Kansas Seal of Biliteracy supports Shawnee Mission’s objective that every student has a personalized learning plan that prepares them for college and career with the interpersonal skills they need for life success. KSDE also highlights that colleges are beginning to accept the Seal of Biliteracy for retroactive college credit and that nine out of 10 U.S. employers rely on employees with language skills other than English.

“Learning other languages and cultures builds skills that enable one to respectfully and effectively communicate with people of different cultures and diverse perspectives,” Laure Losey, French teacher at Shawnee Mission East highlighted. “These skills help prepare students to be college and career ready. It also promotes students' reflection on their own cultures.”

For many students, earning the seal represents the culmination of years of dedicated work, Doug Murphy, Shawnee Mission Northwest world languages department head stated.

“For those students who use their second language to stay connected to their families at home, being recognized as a recipient of the Kansas Seal of Biliteracy while walking across the stage at graduation is a great way for them to show their love and appreciation of their families and heritage,” he added.

Shawnee Mission’s biliteracy success is the result of a collective effort, Murphy stated.

“We are all cheering each other on,” he expressed. “I hope the annual state reports encourage more districts to participate and that Shawnee Mission continues to find ways to help more students gain the recognition they deserve for all of their hard work.”