Implementation Guidelines for Public School Districts
Schools or districts are encouraged to develop tools to capture linguistic diversity beyond the population of English learners. For example, the Home Language Survey can be used to identify whether students have access to languages other than English at home. Schools can then be partners with families to support additional development of language and also be proactive to continue the development of the learner’s language other than English (LOTE), including collaboration with community-based programs or after-school clubs/programs. Districts should purposefully contact the business community (chamber of commerce, international business community organizations, and international companies) to seek grants, scholarships, and program funding to support outreach encouraging and supporting learners to achieve the Seal of Biliteracy as a step toward their future careers and to support local language communities.
It is recommended that districts implement language learning and language maintenance opportunities beyond regularly scheduled courses. Many students do not have access to instruction in their native or heritage language and would benefit from informal programs to strengthen their language other than English in order to achieve the Seal of Biliteracy. Examples include holding weekly after school or weekend programs for learners to practice using their heritage or native language other than English for discussions, reading and conducting research, and writing reports or editorials; such practice will help learners “level up” to the language proficiency level required for the Seal of Biliteracy. Such weekly sessions could be held in collaboration with local community-based organizations and weekend schools.
As part of a Pathways to Biliteracy Plan, schools or districts should consider the creation and implementation of a retention, recruitment and professional development system that results in identifying and hiring teachers with the skills to develop and maintain first and second language proficiency, creating a teaching force that embraces a value of multiliteracy, and has the skills, commitment, and energy essential to achieve the goal of providing a 21st-century language education for all students. Schools and districts need to be mindful of the importance of building an institutional culture and involve educators across all subject areas to nurture and celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity and the pursuit of biliteracy.
Districts should put in place the point person and the process to implement the Seal of Biliteracy, including these practices:
- The Seal may be added to the high school diploma as well as displayed on a certificate or medal awarded to the student
- The Seal of Biliteracy may be awarded in venues to highlight its value, such as at graduation and any senior award ceremonies
- The Seal may be noted on the high school transcript as this is the credential that is viewed by colleges and universities and future employers