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News from the Superintendent

Posted: May 3, 2019

Bilingual Seal

In her weekly message, Supt. Reedy celebrates APS students who earn a bilingual seal and the staff that supports them.

Some bilingual seal recipients at Highland High School

Some bilingual seal recipients at Highland High School

My native language is Spanish. I started learning English in school, first to understand it, then to speak, read and write it. Eventually, I started thinking in both English and Spanish. As many of you can attest, becoming proficient in two languages isn’t easy, but it definitely has its rewards.   

That is why I am so appreciative of the District’s unique bilingual seal program and am especially proud of the hundreds of APS students who have earned this accomplishment over the years.  

The number is growing. This year, 266 high school seniors will cross the stage at graduation to pick up diplomas affixed with a bilingual seal, meaning they completed rigorous coursework allowing them to maintain, develop and advance in two languages. Many of these students will drape cords or stoles atop their graduation gowns to signify the achievement that is sure to benefit them in college, career, and life.

To earn an APS bilingual emblem on their diploma, students must take at least eight core credits in Spanish and eight core credits in English, earning no less than a 2.0 GPA along the way. That means students are taking language arts, math and science classes in both languages! Also, these students must present a written and oral portfolio in both languages. That is quite the commitment!

What is even more amazing is that about a fourth of these soon-to-be graduates have earned the APS Spanish Seal of Distinction, meaning they not only met the credit and portfolio requirements to earn a bilingual seal, but they also maintained a 3.5 GPA or higher and took at least one AP class in Spanish.

In addition to our soon-to-be graduates, nearly 100 fifth and eighth graders will advance to middle or high school having earned a bilingual seal. For these students, half of their academic content is in English, and the other half is in Spanish. The younger students, like our high schoolers, also are required to prepare and present a portfolio to earn a seal on their certificate of promotion. 

The APS bilingual seal program is unique because it begins with our youngest students, building on the assets they bring to the classroom. I mean, these children speak more than one language. How amazing is that!

The K-12 pathway focuses on the whole child, validating their culture, preserving and valuing their language. Our goal is to help these student become biliterate, meaning they not only speak two languages but they also read, write and think in both languages, making them more marketable and successful in the global workforce.

While the vast majority of our students earn the bilingual seal for Spanish, a few earn it in French and German. And for the first time, one of our students has earned her bilingual seal in Chinese! 

I am so proud of these students, so happy for their families and so grateful for their teachers and the support system that has helped them reach this goal.

Congratulations on your well-deserved success. I wish you Godspeed on a pathway brimming with promise, hope, and possibilities.  

Felicidades por su muy merecido éxito. Les deseo a todos muy buena suerte, y que tengan un prometedor camino lleno de esperanzas y posibilidades