Woodburn High School (WHS) held their Seal of Biliteracy ceremony on Friday, May 24, 2019, to celebrate more than two-hundred WHS students receiving the Biliteracy Seal.
WHS has been recognizing students for their biliterate skills with Oregon Seal of Biliteracy since the inception of the state program in 2014. The first year only seven students from the WHS campus received the Biliteracy Seal, but five years later that number rose to 204.
“The Oregon Seal of Biliteracy is a significant acknowledgement of the culmination of our dual language programs,” said Lynne Koenig, WHS Language Program Coordinator. “It recognizes and values student’s heritage languages, and is a valuable credential for our bilingual students.”
Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Education Program Specialist, Taffy Carlisle, was the guest speaker at the ceremony and she said in her speech that the Biliteracy Seal was first created to honor the language students brought to their education as they learned English or other languages.
“We started in 2014 and there were only 350 students across the state,” said Carlisle. “Just today, I counted 1,462 certificates and seals for the students across the State of Oregon.”
Oregon is one of 23 states that offer the Biliteracy Seal to students and the number of students involved in the program is steadily growing.
The ODE website states that this program started as pilot project in the 2014-2015 school year and was formally adopted by the State Board of Education on April 14, 2016. Since it’s pilot year, the number of students receiving the Biliteracy Seal has steadily grown from 350 students across eight districts in Oregon to more than 1,000 students across 27 districts.
“The award not only is a part of the high school transcript and diploma, but it also certifies biliteracy for employers and universities,” said Koenig. “It is a statement of accomplishment that helps to signal evidence of a student’s readiness for career and/or college, and to engage as a global citizen.”
“We’re very proud of our program here in Woodburn,” said WSD Superintendent Chuck Ransom, “but more importantly we’re proud of these students.”