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School Committee adopts a pilot bi-literacy seal for qualified graduating seniors

Jan 31, 2020 12:36AM ● By Lisa Redmond

Dracut School Superintendent of Schools Steven Stone.

DRACUT -- The Dracut High School Class of 2020 will be the first to have access to a unique seal of approval affixed to their diplomas after the School Committee recently adopted a state education program - Seal of Biliteracy -- for those students who are proficient in English and other world languages.

Passed by the Legislature in 2017, the program was approved last June by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and started with the graduating class of 2019 for any school district that adopted the state law, “An Act Relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids’’ or the LOOK Act. 

By adopting the state law, this pilot program will be implemented with the Class of 2020, School Superintendent Steven Stone told the school committee at its Jan. 13 meeting. It is a voluntary program.

School Committee member Susan Koufogazos asked about the difference between bilingual and biliteracy? Bilingual applies so someone who can fluently speak two languages while biliteracy is someone who can speak, read and write proficiently in two languages.

“The value to the students is an indication of a skill of biliteracy. It’s an advantage to anybody is today’s society,’’ Stone said.

The motivation for the biliteracy seal is to identify and recognize students who have attained a high level of proficiency in English and not less than one world language. To qualify for the State Seal of Biliteracy, students must meet all graduation requirements and the English language and world language criteria descaled scribed below:

Students who earn a score between 220 and 238 on the English Language Arts grade 10 Legacy MCAS or between 455 and 471 on the Next-Gen MCAS may satisfy the English language criteria for the State Seal of Biliteracy if they fulfill the requirements of an Educational Proficiency Plan[1] and attain a minimum score or level on a nationally recognized and readily available English proficiency assessment approved by the Department.

The World Language criteria is for students who attain a score or level at the Intermediate-High level of the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines of 2012, published by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

The cost for the program is $20 per student, but it is free to anyone eligible for a free or reduced lunch.

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