We request urgent action to change the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy criteria for English language proficiency so that graduating seniors in the class of 2022 have the opportunity to earn the award. The criteria is based on the 10th grade ELA MCAS exam, which was cancelled in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, depriving students in the Class of 2022 the opportunity to earn the award.
Support J-1 and H1-B Visas for High Need Teachers
Sign on to this letter to support language teachers!
We the Language Opportunity Coalition and Portuguese Educator Pipeline and Resources Group share urgent concerns about the Executive Order and suspension of J-1 and H1-B visas for high need teachers in our K-12 and Higher Education world language and bilingual programs.
We believe without an exemption for these educators who hold deep linguistic knowledge and skill in time of a teacher shortage, that this Executive Order will negatively impact our most vulnerable students, furthering inequities, and potentially non-compliance with Massachusetts General Law Part 1 Title XII, Chapter 71A.
We ask you to join us in signing your support, no later than Friday July 20, 2020 at 12 Noon at the link here. Individuals or organizations may sign on.
Please disseminate widely!
Biliteracy Pathway Awards
Massachusetts schools can create a road map for language learning with Biliteracy Pathway Awards!
The Language Opportunity Coalition (LOC) Biliteracy Pathway Awards are designed to encourage long-term language study by recognizing and rewarding language learning in elementary, middle and high school. The awards can be given in addition to the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy, an award for graduating high school seniors.
The pathway awards were originally developed during the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy Pilot, which operated from 2016-18 before passage of the LOOK Act. The LOC is continuing to support the awards and provide resources for implementation.
LOC Biliteracy Pathway Award levels:
- LOC Biliteracy Participation Award (ACTFL Novice-High): For preschool and elementary school Students & students with disabilities (all grades).
- LOC Biliteracy Attainment Award (ACTFL Intermediate-Low): For elementary & middle school students.
- LOC Biliteracy Achievement Award (ACTFL Intermediate-Mid): For middle and high school students.
Find out more at SealOfBiliteracyMA.org
New Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy Website!
The Language Opportunity Coalition’s new Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy website is now live!
The site has information on the LOC’s Biliteracy Pathway Awards, a compliment to the State Seal of Biliteracy for students at lower grade and proficiency levels, as well as implementation resources for both the state and LOC awards.
Check it out at https://sealofbiliteracyma.org/
Guidance Posted for State Seal of Biliteracy
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has posted Guidance for Implementing the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy: http://www.doe.mass.edu/ell/guidance/default.html
The Coalition is reviewing the guidance and will comment on it soon.
State Seal of Biliteracy Update
From English Learner Education Updates, presentation to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, October 30, 2018, slides 9-12
The Department is finalizing guidance for the Seal of Biliteracy, but it has not yet been released. Please check the DESE website for updates and more information: http://www.doe.mass.edu/ell/
The State Seal of Biliteracy is awarded to students who have attained a high level of proficiency in English and a foreign language beginning with the graduating class of 2019.
Two tiers of the Seal:
- The State Seal of Biliteracy
- The State Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction
State Seal of Biliteracy
- Meets all graduation requirements; AND
- Meets the English Language Arts requirement of the Competency Determination;
- Students who are required to complete an Educational Proficiency Plan to satisfy
the requirements of the Competency Determination must attain a minimum score
of 240 on the MCAS retake or a composite score of 4.2 on ACCESS* English
Language Development test. *English Learners only.
Foreign Language Criteria:
- Meets all graduation requirements; AND
- Students must attain a minimum of “Intermediate High” on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines (e.g., a score of 4 on an Advanced Placement exam) on one of the aligned nationally recognized and readily available assessments approved by the Department;
- An alternative evidence method established by the Department in guidance.
State Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction
English Language Arts Criteria:
- Students must meet or exceed a scaled score of 260 (Advanced) on the current grade 10 version of ELA MCAS.
Foreign Language Criteria:
- Students must attain “Advanced Low” or above on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines (e.g., a score of 5 on an Advanced Placement exam) on one of the aligned assessments approved by the Department.
Coalition Presents at MASC/MASS Conference
Coalition members Helen Solorzano, Nicole Sherf, Phyllis Hardy & Kim Talbot presented to superintendents and school committee members on the LOOK Act and Seal of Biliteracy at the 2018 MASS/MASC Joint Conference.
In the session Opportunities for Dual Language Education: The MA LOOK Act, we reviewed provisions in the LOOK Act related to establishing new English Learner programs and discussed considerations and processes for starting new dual language programs. In The MA Seal of Biliteracy: From Pilot to Law to Practice, we introduced the audience to the Seal of Biliteracy and discussed data from the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project.
We appreciated the opportunity to present at the conference and hope to continue collaborating with MASC and MASS in the future.
Statement on the Criteria for the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy
November 2, 2018
The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education has announced his decision regarding the levels and criteria for the State Seal of Biliteracy, establishing a two tiered award, the Seal of Biliteracy and the Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction, starting at a minimum of Intermediate-High level of the ACTFL proficiency guidelines for world languages. Continue reading
2018 Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project Data
The Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project was coordinated by the Language Opportunity Coalition for three years from the 2015-16 school year through June 2018*. Participating schools and school districts followed the Coalition’s guidelines for the award, which were developed by Massachusetts educators based the national Guidelines for Implementing the Seal of Biliteracy and practices in other states. Continue reading
Revised LOOK Act Regulations Released
The Commissioner has posted a memo with the revised regulations for the LOOK Act, in preparation for the Board of Education vote on June 26. The Coalition is reviewing the revisions and preparing a statement for the Board. Continue reading
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