The ability to communicate effectively in more than one language can dramatically broaden career opportunities, enhance academic achievement, and open doors for students in adulthood. At a ceremony held yesterday, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) recognized hundreds of graduating seniors in Sacramento County who proved they have exactly those skills by earning the State Seal of Biliteracy for the 2022–23 school year. The seal is awarded to seniors who have demonstrated English competency, plus competency in another language by meeting specific criteria. Nearly 1,800 students qualified to receive the seal this year, and more than 50 earned seals in multiple languages. The ceremony was held in the theater at Natomas High School (Natomas USD) and was also broadcast online.
“One of the most rewarding skills is to speak languages that connect cultures and people and the State Seal of Biliteracy builds upon the assets of heritage speakers, said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon as he welcomed the students. “We live in a rich, multicultural society. Respect for diversity makes us stronger—as a community, as a state, and as a country.”
Sacramento County Board of Education Trustee Mariana Corona Sabeniano was the keynote speaker. “You should all be so proud of your accomplishment. For recognizing at such an early age, the importance of learning and mastering a second—or a third, or a fourth, or a fifth—language,” Trustee Corona Sabeniano said. “I discovered a strength in using my bilingual voice. It was like having more than one key to open doors, open conversations, open minds. My voice created new opportunities. I have no doubt you will see this, as well, as long as you continue your superpower: to have a voice.”
To earn the distinction, students must demonstrate English competency by meeting the English language arts standards of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), plus receive good grades in all English classes required for high school graduation. In addition, students must demonstrate language proficiency by taking a four-year course of study in a world language or passing a test (such as the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams).
Besides English, this year’s Sacramento County Seal of Biliteracy recipients in Sacramento County are proficient in a range of 25 languages, including American Sign Language, Arabic, Cantonese, Dari, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Pashto, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
SCOE collaborated with the following school districts and independent charter schools in Sacramento County for this year’s Seal of Biliteracy program:
- Center Joint Unified School District
- Elk Grove Unified School District
- Folsom Cordova Unified School District
- Futures High School
- Galt Joint Union High School District
- Natomas Charter School
- Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep Charter
- Natomas Unified School District
- River Delta Unified School District
- Sacramento City Unified School District
- San Juan Unified School District
- Twin Rivers Unified School District
- Visions In Education