Implementation Guidelines for Non-Public Entities
For many native or heritage speakers of languages other than English, their language is not taught in the school they attend. In addition, in those states that permit only public schools to issue the Seal of Biliteracy, students may be disenfranchised from achieving this recognition. Since SEAs identify the evidence that is required to achieve the Seal of Biliteracy and since the requirement is to demonstrate a specified level of proficiency in two or more languages, it should not matter whether public or nonpublic institutions present that evidence.
Some types of non-public educational entities currently are allowed to issue high school graduation diplomas. In some states, but not all, non-public educational entities are allowed to also issue the Seal of Biliteracy. Each state identifies the requirements for a high school diploma. Non-public educational institutions include formal schools (independent, private, or parochial) and more informal schools (community-based or weekend schools). Both types of institutions could also verify the evidence that a learner presents for the Seal of Biliteracy. For non-public institutions such as community or weekend schools that do not issue high school graduation diplomas, these schools could still present the evidence that a learner has met the state’s requirements for the Seal of Biliteracy.
Non-public educational entities could provide a certificate stating that the non-public school followed state guidelines and documented a learner’s evidence of achieving the Seal of Biliteracy. Sample wording is: This student meets all requirements for the Seal of Biliteracy in the state of ____ by providing evidence of reaching __ (Level) through ____ (list assessment) as well as meeting the requirements for English.
It is recommended that SEAs share their state guidelines for earning the seal and related guidance, such as frequently asked questions (FAQs) with non-public schools within the state. SEAs further could identify institutions that have submitted documentation showing that they meet the same requirements even if such institutions are not permitted to issue the official state Seal of Biliteracy.
Non-public schools should be encouraged to align with state requirements and follow the same process to certify achievement of the Seal of Biliteracy. These steps are a means to promote equity and provide access to the Seal of Biliteracy to all learners, regardless of where or how they acquired the language.