What is the Seal of Biliteracy?

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, school district or county office of education in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. The Seal of Biliteracy takes the form of a gold seal that appears on the transcript or diploma of the graduating senior and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admissions. In addition to the Seal of Biliteracy that marks attainment of high level mastery of two or more languages, schools and districts are also instituting Bilingual Pathway Awards, recognizing significant steps towards developing biliteracy along a student’s trajectory from preschool into high school.

Californians Together developed the concept of a Seal of Biliteracy in 2008 and worked throughout the state to help school sites, districts and others adopt and implement the Seal. Over 165 school districts are currently granting the awards, and increasing numbers of state and national professional organizations and other entities have endorsed the Seal. (For an updated listing of districts awarding the Seal and a current list of endorsements, go to www.californianstogether.org).

Legislation creating a California State Seal of Biliteracy was passed in 2011, and California became the first state in the nation to establish a state level Seal of Biliteracy. State Seals were awarded to over 10,000 graduating seniors in the spring of 2012. In 2012 New York enacted legislation modeled after California to create a State Seal of Biliteracy. Other states are now pursuing similar policies. (Copies of state legislation are available on the Californians Together website). For more information on the California State Seal of Biliteracy, see: www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/er/sealofbiliteracy.asp