More than 600 members of the Class of 2015 in the Long Beach Unified School District earned the State Seal of Biliteracy, which recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading and writing one or more languages in addition to English.
Newly compiled data show that 639 students earned a total of 645 Seals of Biliteracy, with some students meeting the criteria in more than one language.
In California, more than 31,000 graduating high school students this year earned the state recognition for achieving proficiency in multiple languages. That’s nearly a three-fold increase since 2012, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced.
“Becoming multilingual is a huge asset in today’s global economy, so I applaud the rising numbers of students attaining high levels of proficiency in multiple languages,” Torlakson said. “These skills will help students to live, work, and thrive in a multicultural, multilingual and highly connected world.”
The state honor goes to students who demonstrate proficiency via English class grades, state tests, performance on Advanced Placement college preparatory exams, and successful completion of a four-year high school course of study in a foreign language. In that course of study, students must earn an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above.
The biliteracy gold seal is affixed to high school diplomas. Long Beach students have earned more than 2,200 of the state seals over the past three years.
Of the seals issued statewide this year, 67 percent recognized fluency in Spanish, followed by French, Mandarin, German, Japanese, Latin, Korean, Vietnamese and Cantonese.
California pioneered the biliteracy seal, which was established in 2012. Since the program’s inception, several other states including Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, New York and Hawaii have started their own state seal programs.