East Aurora School District 131: Record Number Of Graduates Earn Seal Of Biliteracy, Commendation


June 30, 2021

A record number 85 seniors from East Aurora High School’s Class of 2021 graduated with an Illinois Seal of Biliteracy. An additional 40 graduating seniors earned a Commendation toward Biliteracy.

In addition to the 125 Seal of Biliteracy and Commendation toward Biliteracy awards earned by the Class of 2021, 40 awards were earned by juniors, sophomores and freshmen at East High.

The number of seniors earning an award has doubled since last school year and represents a record number of graduates earning either the Seal of Biliteracy or Commendation.

Three graduates—Yaneth Aleman, Adaly Camacho, and Gabriela Ramos-Avila, received both the Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish and Commendation toward Biliteracy in French. Another graduate, Jaely Gonzalez, received both the Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish and Commendation toward Biliteracy in German, and graduating senior Evelia Ochoa received Commendation toward Biliteracy in both Spanish and French.

The Illinois Seal of Biliteracy is an award bestowed by the Illinois State Board of Education in recognition of students who have attained a "high level of proficiency" in one or more languages, in addition to English, at the time of their high school graduation.

The Commendation toward Biliteracy is a recognition given to graduating high school students who have demonstrated "significant progress toward achieving a high level of proficiency" in English and in reading, writing, listening and speaking in another language.

Illinois officially adopted the Seal of Biliteracy in 2013, and District 131 began participation in the program in 2016. The Seal is affixed to the student’s official diploma.

While many students today are bilingual, there is a distinct difference between being bilingual and biliterate. A bilingual person can fluently speak two languages. A person who is biliterate can read and write proficiently in two languages. A person who is biliterate is also considered bilingual, but a bilingual person is not necessarily biliterate.

Graduating senior Peter Dorantes, who earned the Seal of Biliteracy, pursued the award after learning about it during his junior year. "A majority of my classmates decided to take the exam last year. The opportunity was given my senior year, and I decided to take it then."

Being a native speaker, Dorantes said the test was relatively easy to understand. "Aside from a few terms that are not of common use in my vocabulary, the free-response questions were not at all difficult. Getting used to the format of the exam helped tremendously."

For students considering the exam, Dorantes recommends they become familiar with the format of the exam. "Being able to understand what criteria need to be met becomes extremely helpful towards achieving a recognized score," said Dorantes. "Taking the practice exams was helpful, as well."

Dorantes encourages all Tomcats to consider taking the exam. " If you happen to be unsure or doubtful about your proficiency, try it out. Nothing is compromised from attempting the exam."

Graduating senior Arleth Corrales Rodriguez, who earned the Seal of Biliteracy, learned about the Seal in Spanish class her sophomore year. "My teacher at the time made sure we knew  how important it was and how it could help us in the future," said Corrales Rodriguez. "Although I am a native speaker, teachers such as Mr.Pedroni and Ms.Rodriguez helped me comprehend that fluency is not enough; I need to be able to understand the complexity of the language."

Arleth said she is delighted to know that she is able to go into her university of choice with almost a minor’s worth of credits and that she can start courses at a more advanced level and comprehend the language in further depth.

One of the great benefits of earning the Seal of Biliteracy is that students earn two years of foreign language credit at any Illinois public university.

By law, Illinois public universities will accept the State Seal of Biliteracy as an equivalent of two (2) years of foreign language coursework taken during high school if a student’s high school transcript indicates that they received the State Seal of Biliteracy. Many universities waive any foreign language requirements and/or grant course credit for students who have earned the Seal of Biliteracy.

The Seal of Biliteracy and the Commendation provide universities with an additional method to recognize applicants seeking admission. It also provides employers with a process of identifying people with biliteracy skills.

To qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy award, students must demonstrate proficiency in English and a foreign language. Students can demonstrate proficiency in English by:

Students can demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language by:

To qualify for the Commendation award, students must demonstrate proficiency in English and a foreign language. Students can demonstrate proficiency in English by:

Students can demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language by:

Earning a Seal of Biliteracy, or Commendation toward Biliteracy, helps fulfill the vision of EASD 131 that future graduates will be confident and productive global citizens committed to improving their community.

The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes the importance of language and how it helps prepare students for global citizenship. Not only is learning a language beneficial to students’ cognitive development, but it also provides opportunities for students to participate effectively in global political, social, cultural, and economic contexts.

The demand for employees to be fluent in more than one language is increasing rapidly at home and worldwide. The Seal of Biliteracy builds upon the district and community’s rich linguistic and cultural assets, providing students with the necessary skills to be successful in college, career, and life.

Congratulations to the East Aurora High School Class of 2021 graduates who have earned either a Seal of Biliteracy or Commendation toward Biliteracy:

This press release was produced by East Aurora School District 131. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

via Aurora, IL Patch

July 1, 2021 at 04:40PM

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