State

Maine DOE to recognize bilingual students upon graduation

AUGUSTA, Maine — During a special announcement at the Maine State House on Oct. 29, Commissioner Robert G. Hasson Jr. of the Maine Department of Education announced a new award for graduating bilingual students beginning in June 2019.

The Seal of Biliteracy will be given at graduation to recognize students who have studied and attained a high degree of skill in English and at least one other language by high school graduation.  For the first time, Maine will offer all students an opportunity to graduate with the seal in June 2019. The seal aims to encourage students to pursue biliteracy, recognize the positive cognitive and academic benefits of being bilingual, and serve as evidence of academic and workplace readiness.

There are two pathways to earn the honor. To qualify, all students must maintain a high degree of skill in their first language. Students whose first language is English can earn the seal by attaining a high degree of skill in another language. Students whose first language is not English can earn the seal by attaining a high degree of skill in English.

In previous years, students in Portland public schools received the award thanks to the work of Carlos Gomez, director of language development.  This DOE initiative provides the opportunity to every student in Maine.

The Seal of Biliteracy started in California in 2008 and is now offered by 32 states and the District of Columbia.

The recognition offers academic and workplace benefits for students. Those pursuing post-secondary education can show the Seal of Biliteracy designation to select universities to earn college credit. For students entering the workforce after graduation, the seal alerts potential employers to additional work-ready skills they possess.

For more information, visit the Maine Department of Education website.

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