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Wolf Administration: Pennsylvania Seal of Biliteracy Promotes Civic and Global Engagement for Students

03/15/2022

Dallastown, PA -  Second Lady Gisele Fetterman and Department of Education Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega today joined educators and students at Dallastown Area Senior High School to announce the Pennsylvania Seal of Biliteracy, a new statewide program to recognize students proficient in more than one world language.

“Pennsylvania has a rich cultural heritage, and all of our learners, schools, families, and communities benefit from celebrating cultural and linguistic diversity,” said Sec. Ortega. “The new commonwealth Seal of Biliteracy encourages students to study and attain proficiency in English and another world language to promote civic engagement, demonstrate readiness to engage in the global community, and preserve cultural identity and diversity.”

The Pennsylvania Seal of Biliteracy is presented to students who have attained intermediate-high proficiency in English and one or more additional world language upon high school graduation. Through the rigor needed to obtain proficiency in two or more languages, the program encourages college and career readiness and engagement as a global citizen.

“The ability to reach the widest possible audience is the cornerstone of effective communication,” said Second Lady Fetterman. “Polyglots embody this notion, breaking barriers and helping to connect human beings on a deeper level.”

To earn a Pennsylvania Seal of Biliteracy, a student must demonstrate competency in two or more languages (English and an additional world language, including American Sign Language) upon graduation from high school.

The program will:

  • recognize the value of world language and dual language programs in Pennsylvania schools;
  • affirm the value of cultural and linguistic diversity in our schools and communities;
  • encourage family and community support for the development of home languages other than English, as well as the study of additional world languages and cultures;
  • encourage all students to acquire proficiency in English and another world language;
  • certify intermediate-high proficiency in English and another world language;
  • provide employers with a method of identifying candidates with biliteracy skills;
  • provide universities with a method to recognize biliterate students; and
  • promote civic and global engagement.

The national Seal of Biliteracy website notes, “A Seal of Biliteracy and the Pathway awards are a statement by the school system that mastery of two or more languages is important. It encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the skills our students attain, and can be evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices.”

All students who have met proficiency criteria in both English and another world language through school-based programs, community-based language programs, or life experiences can earn the Pennsylvania Seal of Biliteracy.

Schools and school entities can request the PASB logo by emailing ra-seal@pa.gov to create seals for awards or certificates. Pennsylvania does not require schools to offer the Pennsylvania Seal of Biliteracy nor does it provide financial support or incentives for offering a PASB program.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education's website. Follow PDE on FacebookTwitterYouTube, Flickr, or Pinterest.

To access photos and video from the event, please visit PACast

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander - kenalexand@pa.gov

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