Orange, CA (September 27, 2018) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that a record 55,000 State Seals of Biliteracy, which signify fluency in English and another language, were awarded to the Class of 2018 statewide.
In Orange Unified, 338 graduating seniors earned the seal last year, with approximately 73 percent of students demonstrating proficiency in Spanish, followed by French (20 percent), Chinese (4.4 percent), and German (2 percent). Four students were proficient in more than one world language and almost 33 percent of students with biliteracy seals are current or former English learners.
“I’m thrilled that so many of our students are learning a second language that will improve their cognitive abilities, better prepare them for the global economy, and broaden their horizons and understanding of other cultures and nations,” Torlakson said.
To qualify for the State Seal of Biliteracy, high school graduates must meet strict criteria to prove that they are able to proficiently read, write and speak in both English and at least one other language.
Research shows that fluency in multiple languages improves students’ ability in other academic areas and builds self-confidence. As part of Orange Unified’s mission to offer a learning environment of excellence, with high expectations, to provide each student with the opportunity to be able to compete in the global economy, the district offers two dual-language elementary programs in addition to global language classes at the secondary level.
The State Seal of Biliteracy was established in 2011 by Assembly Bill 815 (Brownley) to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency one or more languages in addition to English. School district participation in the program is voluntary.
The 55,000 State Seals of Biliteracy awarded this year are more than five times the number of biliteracy seals earned when the program began seven years ago in 2011–2012 when about 10,000 students received the award.