Baesler Applauds ND Adoption of ‘Seal of Biliteracy’

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Office: 701-328-2247
Cell: 701-400-8557
Email: dewetzel@nd.gov

BISMARCK, N.D., April 9, 2019 – State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said a newly approved Seal of Biliteracy is ready for the diplomas of high school students who are proficient in English and a second language.

North Dakota school districts may apply for Seals of Biliteracy on behalf of students who are interested in receiving the honor. Application forms are posted on the Department of Public Instruction’s website. Students may demonstrate the fluency required for the Seal by taking a language exam.

Participation in the award program is voluntary. The Seal of Biliteracy offers separate silver and gold seals, with the gold seal demonstrating stronger language skills.

North Dakota students who are native English speakers and have learned a second language may qualify for the award, as may students who are not native speakers and have gained a command of English, Baesler said. Speakers of Native American tribal languages, and students who are skilled at American Sign Language – which is used to communicate with the deaf – may also qualify.

"Developing language proficiency and cultural competency strengthens our students’ ability to be productive in this global world," Baesler said. "North Dakota’s adoption of the Seal of Biliteracy sets a standard of the value in learning world languages, as well as maintaining native and heritage languages and cultures in our schools, homes, and communities."

Fluency in English and a second language is needed to qualify for a Seal of Biliteracy. Students may earn another seal for each additional language that they master.

In addition to having a seal on their diploma, students who receive a Seal of Biliteracy also have the honor noted on their high school transcript.

North Dakota is the 36th state to adopt a Seal of Biliteracy.

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