The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) has awarded 111 Shawnee Mission seniors, representing 10 different languages, with the Seal of Biliteracy. This impressive achievement recognizes students who have attained proficiency in English and one or more world languages. Earning the seal is a statement of accomplishment and an acknowledgment of student readiness for college and career and for engagement as a global citizen.
“Learning other languages and cultures helps students build skills to effectively and respectfully communicate with people from different cultures and diverse backgrounds,” explained Laure Losey, Shawnee Mission East French teacher.
The achievement can have a positive lifelong impact for students, Aubrey Lauber, Shawnee Mission North World Languages teacher, shared. “From jobs that are open to bilingual applicants to receiving credit hours at local universities, this certification creates opportunities,” Lauber added.
Students earning the Seal of Biliteracy may have gained language proficiency as either a heritage language learner or a new language learner.
Lauber explained for many students, earning the Kansas Seal of Biliteracy is the culmination of years of dedicated work, and for students who come from diverse backgrounds it's a way to honor their heritage.
“We want students and parents to be aware that the Seal of Biliteracy can be achieved by all students regardless of whether or not they’ve completed world language coursework in high school,” expressed Lauber.
According to the Kansas State Department of Education, earning the seal is an acknowledgement that students have “a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.”
“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,” shared Kristin Ridgway, secondary coordinator of English Language Arts and social studies.
Student recipients of the seal receive a seal designation on their transcript, a congratulatory letter from the Kansas Commissioner of Education, and a certificate from the state of Kansas.