District Policy Proposal: Seal of Biliteracy, for Eligible Graduating Seniors, and Pre-K, 5th
grade, and 8th grade students, OE-2
Meeting: May 10, 2011 Preferred Date:
Category: Student Instructional Matters Absolute Date:
Agenda Type: Action Budgeted:
Fiscal Impact: None Budget Source:
Dollar Amount: None
Approval Tree: OLA 3
Agenda Item Content
Approve the policy resolution establishing the San Diego Unified School District Seal of
Biliteracy with implementation beginning with the 2011 – 2012 school year. (Attachment #1)
The Seal of Biliteracy is an award granted to high school seniors upon graduation certifying
attainment of mastery in two or more languages. The Seal is placed on students diplomas and
transcripts. The Seal of Biliteracy also establishes a system of Pathway Awards from pre-school
through high school recognizing benchmarks toward biliteracy. The Pathway Awards may be
earned at the end of Pre-K, and end of 5th and 8th grade (Attachments 2 – 6).
The Seal of Biliteracy policy will be directly linked to the Language Learning Policy (F-2599)
adopted by the Board in August of 2009, which recognizes that “in addition to being
academically prepared and fully proficient in English, all students benefit from being proficient
in another language” (Attachment 7). Additionally, the Seal of Biliteracy policy advances the
Board’s Goals for Student Achievement (GSA) specifically GSA 2.4 which states, “Students will
communicate in two languages” by providing a systematic approach to recognizing students who
meet this goal.
No immediate fiscal impact. Minimal printing costs are anticipated and may include:
A seal that will be included on eligible graduating seniors diplomas.
Certificates needed at Pre-K, 5th, and 8th grade for students meeting eligibility criteria for
pathway awards at these grade levels.
PRIOR YEAR EXPENSE HISTORY:
IMPACT TO DISTRICT STAFFING:
Office of Language Acquisition staff, in collaboration with representative district and site
personnel, will develop the district procedures and resources for implementation of the Seal of
Biliteracy beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. The district procedures and resources to
be developed may include:
Application process to identify the student’s intent on pursuing eligibility for the Seal of
Biliteracy or the pathways awards at Pre-K – 8th grade.
Refinement of the requirements/criteria. (Attachments 2-6).
System for documenting completion of the eligibility criteria.
Informational meetings/brochures for students, parents, school staff.
Identification of key personnel to coordinate implementation at the site level.
System for including Seal of Biliteracy information on graduates’ transcripts.
System for review, update, and modification (when needed) of procedures, requirements,
Seal of Biliteracy
The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, school district, or county office of
education in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more
languages by high school graduation. Appearing on the transcript of the graduating senior, the
Seal of Biliteracy is an indicator of accomplishment for future employers and for college
A Seal of Biliteracy and the Pathway Awards are a statement by the school system that mastery
of two or more languages is important and worthy of special recognition. It encourages students
to pursue biliteracy, honors the achievements of our students, and acknowledges the skills that
are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices.
The Seal of Biliteracy and Pathway Awards are awarded to all students who meet the criteria.
For each level, criteria are set for both students whose first language is English who are learning
a second language and for English learners who are developing academic proficiency in their
home language while mastering English in school.1
The Seal of Biliteracy has received wide-spread support across California. It was developed by
and receives ongoing support and endorsement from Californians Together, a statewide coalition
of parents, teachers, education advocates and civil rights groups committed to securing equal
access to quality education for all children. Further endorsements and encouragement have been
given by the California Teachers Association, The Association of California School
Administrators, The California Federation of Teachers, and the California School Boards
Association. In addition, in December of 2010, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack
O’Connell recognized 33 school districts for implementing the Seal of Biliteracy (Attachment
District Context for the Seal of Biliteracy
The policy resolution for the Seal of Biliteracy is consistent with current district policies and
initiatives that focus on ensuring students’ college and career readiness and preparation with 21st
century skills. The adoption of this policy resolution affirms the district vision and commitment
to the critical importance of all students developing multilingual and multicultural competence.
Specifically, the Seal of Biliteracy reinforces and advances the following district policies and
1. Language Learning Policy, adopted in August of 2009, recognizes “in addition to being
academically prepared and fully proficient in English, all students benefit from being
proficient in another language and opportunities to develop competencies in multiple
languages enhance and contribute to their ultimate achievement.”
2. Vision 2020 for Student Success, introduced August 2010, designed to ensure students’
college and career readiness by focusing on core foundational courses and critical
3. Goals for Student Achievement – 2.4 that stipulates “Students will communicate in at
least two languages.”
4. College & Career Readiness Task Force Recommendations, approved March 29,
2011 align district graduation subject requirements with UC/CSU “a-g” subject
requirements. As a result, World Language now becomes a graduation requirement.
The Office of Language Acquisition staff has worked collaboratively with and sought input from
principals and teachers who represent the various world language programs in the district to
define the eligibility criteria for the Seal of Biliteracy and pathway awards. In addition, input
was solicited from the district’s Biliteracy Task Force, parents, university professors, and the
community (Attachment 8).
As implementation proceeds, the district-developed criteria will be subject to modification and
revision to ensure that this policy remains current and inclusive, with all students provided an
opportunity to apply and work toward this level of recognition.
1 Californians Together, Seal of Biliteracy Program, Guidelines Booklet,
California Department of Education News Release, #10-139, December 6, 2010
SDUSD Vision 2020 for Student Success
SDUSD Language Learning Policy, F-2599
1. Resolution for the Seal of Biliteracy
2. Criteria for attainment of the High School Seal of Biliteracy
3-6. Criteria for attainment of Pathway awards at end of 5th and 8th grade: Elementary
Biliteracy Award, Elementary Bilingual Service Award, Middle School Biliteracy
Attainment Award, Middle School Pursuit of Bilingualism Award
7. Contributors to the Seal of Biliteracy Policy Resolution and Criteria for Pathway
8. Language Learning Policy
9. California Department of Education (CDE) News Release # 10-139, December 6,
2010, including list of School Districts implementing the Seal of Biliteracy
(Originator: Teresa Walter, Director, Office of Language Acquisition, 725-7264,
email@example.com, Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Support Services)