Seal of Biliteracy
New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB)
Westbury High School is pleased to establish our participation in the New York State Seal of Biliteracy Program. In recognition of the importance of bilingualism, many school districts throughout New York State, along with other states across our country, have begun to award a Seal of Biliteracy to graduating high school students who have attained and demonstrated a high level of proficiency in English and another language by senior year. The 2022-2023 academic school year will become the first year that this recognition will be offered to our students of Westbury.
PURPOSE OF OBTAINING THE SEAL OF BILITERACY
The purposes for instituting the Seal of Biliteracy and the Pathways to Biliteracy Awards at Westbury High School are numerous. Westbury High School understands the importance of recognizing diversity and the opportunities that our community and future careers provide to our students who demonstrate talent and ability in speaking fluently more than one language. WHS will promote and follow the guidelines established by the New York State Seal of Biliteracy as follow:
- To encourage students to study languages
- To certify attainment of biliteracy skills
- To recognize the value of language diversity
- To provide employers with a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills
- To provide universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for attainment of high level skills in multiple languages
- To prepare our students with 21st century skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society
- To strengthen intergroup relationships and honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community.
- To affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual and global society
What is the New York Seal of Biliteracy
The NYSSB recognizes students who have studied and attained a high proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. A seal of distinction is therefore placed on the graduating studentʼs high school diploma. This distinction will be represented on diplomas of Westbury High School students who have completed and attained points in all necessary areas as dedicated by the criteria established by the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB).
ELLs, Former/Ever ELLs, Heritage Language Speakers, Multilingual learners and students who study a world language in school are all eligible to pursue the NYSSB.
How to Obtain the NYSSB
To obtain the Seal of Biliteracy students must complete all requirements needed in order to graduate with a NYS Regents diploma and must also earn qualifying points which demonstrate their proficient abilities in English and in another language. Westbury High School students who earn the Seal of Biliteracy will have this additional gold seal affixed to their diplomas. In addition, students who complete the requirements for earning the NYSSB will receive and wear a graduation cord in recognition of this achievement and will have the designation listed on their final transcripts upon graduation. Students who qualify for the seal will have several opportunities to announce their successful candidacy to their colleges of choice through their applications, as well as, on their letters of recommendation.
In order to be eligible for the Seal of Biliteracy, students must apply and meet the language criteria as well as the qualifications needed in their English Language courses or NYS assessments. English Language Learners (ELL) or Multilingual (MLL) students are to follow criteria designed to accommodate their native background. Students in World Language classes who build their second language fluency will have the support of their language teachers to apply for the NYSSB. In addition, WHS students who demonstrate fluency in any second language, including languages that are not currently offered at Westbury, may still qualify to obtain the award, the Seal committee will guide these students and assist with the process beginning in Junior or Senior year.
The full list of requirements can be found online in the NYS Seal of Biliteracy Point Distribution Chart.
English as a New Language Students
Westbury High School recognizes that bilingualism and biliteracy are assets which provide opportunities to all students. Earning the NYS Seal of Biliteracy further distinguishes our English Language Learners who strive to enhance their communication skills not only in their home language, but by also becoming fluent in English. This award offers our English Language Learners a unique opportunity to receive recognition for acquiring and enhancing their dual language skills . All 9th-12th grade ELL students will be informed and advised about the Seal of Biliteracy program. In order to keep the program as a reachable goal, teachers of English Language Learners, school counselors, and Seal advisors will ensure that all 9th grade students are aware of this opportunity through classroom discussions, presentations, individual meetings with students and parents, as well as community meetings. Former ELLs will be invited to complete the application during junior year in order to be considered eligible for the Seal of Biliteracy.
Special Education Student
Special Education students are eligible to receive the Seal of Biliteracy. All accommodations listed on the Special Education studentʼs Individual Education Plan (IEP), including assessment and classroom accommodations, are applicable as the student proceeds to meet the New York State Seal of Biliteracy requirements. If a Special Education studentʼs IEP states an exemption from one of the four modalities (Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing), the NYSSB committee will use its discretion in regards to the Seal of Biliteracy. As stated in the criteria, in order to earn the New York State Seal of Biliteracy, students will earn credits on a point system. The criteria (benchmarks) within the point system include assessments, coursework, projects, essays, and portfolios, etc. Assessments are only one area of proficiency; members of the WHS Seal Committee will evaluate the studentsʼ language skills through other avenues.
Westbury High School students interested in obtaining the NYS Seal of Biliteracy will be able to begin the application process via an online form provided to them in their English or Language class, at the end of JUNIOR YEAR. Students will have supports in place via the established SB committee advisors, which by design, will assist in the process throughout their senior year. This opportunity and the application process will be presented to qualifying students and to their parents in the fall. There will be a deadline to submit the application by December in order to allow for project planning, advisor meetings, interviews, recognitions of achievements, and State submission of necessary documentation in order to obtain the Seal on their diploma.
Student Candidates Submission Process
Students who completed an initial NYSSB Application of Interest in June, will be contacted by their assigned Seal Advisor who will meet, review, and guide the student throughout senior year. The student will be responsible to submit a student contract to the assigned advisor, adhere to scheduled meeting dates to discuss academic goals needed to qualify, and advance on the planning of their presentation project to the Seal Committee. All students presenting the English and Second Language Biliteracy Project to the NYSSB committee, must agree on an assigned date to do the presentation in front of a panel by no later than April 15th.
Recognition and Award
In the spring, qualifying students and parents will be invited to the Westbury High School Seal of Biliteracy Awards Gala. Students will also be recognized by the Westbury School Board, our Administration, Seal of Biliteracy Committee, staff and the local media. More details of thisexcitingeventwillbesharedinMarch. All qualifying NYSSB candidates who earn the seal will receive a graduation cord and a special medal of distinction acknowledging this honor and achievement. Multilingual students who present to the panel in more than two languages will adorn their graduation gowns with a unique graduation cord and a distinguished medallion of achievement.
Implementation at Westbury High School
The implementation of the NYSSB at Westbury High School will include several phases throughout the school year. The process will involve an organization of committee members, communication via various outlets and to various audiences, an application process, a notification process, established dates and timeframes to meet with candidates, an awards ceremony, and a data report after graduation.
Students who earn the Seal of Biliteracy develop lifelong skills and are entitled to this recognition via an additional NYS gold seal affixed on their high school diploma.
This achievement demonstrates a distinguished platform which encourages multilingualism and highlights individual respect for diversity. Having achieved this honor, students are unified and manifest a greater purpose within our society. It is Westbury School District’s goal to distinguish itself by providing 21st century education, which supports multilingualism. It is our commitment to prepare our students towards becoming contributing members of society and successful professionals who recognize the value of diversity and bilingual communication skills.
Westbury High School’s NYSSB committee is established to serve throughout the school year as the governing body which upholds the policy to enhance the limitless value found in bilingualism and multilingual talents and education. In the process the opportunity is designed to articulate how and why language diversity is important.
Seal of Biliteracy Committee
The SBC is established and is guided by the NYS Seal of Biliteracy Handbook, last updated in 2021-2022. The composition of the committee fulfills the requirements set forth by the New York State Department of Education and its sole purpose is to encourage, support, and award our students for receiving this distinction. See the link below for more information.
Qualifications Checklist for Seal of Biliteracy
For additional information please contact a member of the committee or the Seal Coordinator:
World Language Teacher
ELA Teacher of ELLs/MLLs
World Language Teacher
Dr. Nicolette James
ENL, Bilingual & Funded Programs