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Local Seniors Working to Earn NYS Seal of Biliteracy
Local Seniors Working to Earn NYS Seal of Biliteracy
Nathan Lehman
Monday, April 30 2018

Graduating seniors in Jefferson and Lewis Counties will have the opportunity in May to earn a unique seal on their high school diploma thanks to a new consortium of schools within the Jefferson-Lewis BOCES region.

Students from Watertown, Belleville Henderson, Copenhagen and South Jefferson School Districts will have the opportunity to earn the New York State Seal of Biliteracy during a program on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 from 12:30 pm-5:00 pm in the BOCES Administrative Building in Watertown. The seal is offered through the Jefferson-Lewis BOCES State Seal of Biliteracy Consortium.

The New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) recognizes high school graduates who have attained and can demonstrate a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.  The intent of the NYSSB is to encourage the study of languages; identify high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers; provide universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission; prepare students for twenty-first century skills; recognize the value of foreign and native language instruction in schools; and affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society.  

Just under a dozen students have been working with their mentors throughout the current school year to earn the Seal of Biliteracy.  The process includes final presentations before a panel of five judges on what they have learned during the course of their project.  Those presentations must be in the second language they have learned.  Those students who earn the seal will have it placed their high school diploma and will also earn a medal and a sash that they can wear during their district graduation ceremony in June. 

The Jefferson-Lewis BOCES State Seal of Biliteracy Consortium is a first of its kind in New York State.  The Consortium was formed as part of a partnership between BOCES, the New York State Education Department Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages and the Mid-State RBERN (Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network) as well as representatives from the aforementioned school districts.