Seal of Biliteracy Hearing

Seal-of-Biliteracy-LogoThere will be a hearing on the Seal of Biliteracy bills before the Joint Committee of Education Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 10 am, Room A2  at the Massachusetts State House,

Be prepared to testify on behalf of …

  • S.311 An Act to promote global trade and economic development through biliteracy (Sponsor: Senator Karen Spilka)
  • H.285 An Act to promote global trade and economic development through biliteracy (Sponsor: Representative Kay Khan)
  • H.2045 An Act relative to the state seal of biliteracy (Sponsor: Representative Bradley Jones)

We are seeking testimony in favor of the bills, either in person or in writing. Submit written testimony to the committee co-chairs:

  • Representative Alice Peisch: Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov
  • Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz: Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov

GUIDANCE FOR ORAL TESTIMONIALS

Testimonials that tell a story about individuals are very powerful. Focus on what you know and care about. Think about what you know and have experienced and present your concerns and ideas for better solutions. (Possible Topics: Pathway Awards, Seal of Bilitearcy Pilot experience, personal experience learning a second language, personal experience using two or more languages in your job or career, personal experience as a student in a language learning program.) You have so much to offer policy conversations without having to be a data or policy expert. Plan to speak for no more than 3 minutes.

GUIDANCE FOR WRITTEN TESTIMONY

You can submit written testimony to the Chairs of the committee and cc: your State Senator and State Representative. Here is the list of names for the Joint Education Committee Chairs and members. Bring a written copy of our testimony to leave with the committee, as well. You can bring just one copy of testimony, and the staff will make copies for the Committee files, or you can bring enough for all committee members (~20) if you prefer. You can bring other visual handouts to attach with your testimony, too.

  • Limit the text to 1.5 pages
  • Include your name, address, where you work or study, what you do for work,
  • State “I am ….
  • State I am in favor of the bill S311, H285, H 2045 and this is why.
  • Pick one action point listed in the Seal of Biliteracy Talking Points and speak to that.
  • State “I recommend that bill S311, H285, H 2045 should be passed.

RESOURCES

See the Seal of Biliteracy page for resources and fact sheets.

LET US KNOW YOU ARE TESTIFYING

Please use the Contact Us page if you plan to testify or send testimony, and send us an electronic copy of your testimony so that we can post them on the Coalition blog site.

House Passes LOOK Bill

Language Opportunity Sketch_1.16June 7, 2017 – The Language Opportunity Coalition applauds the Massachusetts House of Representatives for passage of legislation that brings meaningful reform to our education system for the way we teach English learners. The legislation passed today by the House will make important changes to the laws that govern educators in Massachusetts, giving school districts increased flexibility to make sure that the English language instruction programs they offer are those that work best for their district’s students. We are grateful to the Speaker and House leadership for prioritizing these important changes so early in the legislative session.

While no legislation is perfect, we firmly believe that the House passed language takes a critical first step in addressing the issues of our current system.  We look forward to working with members of the Senate as this legislation now moves on to their branch.

We are truly grateful to the leadership of the Speaker, the Education Chair and Education Committee, and our legislative champions Representative Jeffery Sanchez and Representative Tony Cabral for taking such a strong stance on this critical issue and ensuring that English Language Learner reform is one of the first issues the legislature tackles this legislative session.

LOOK Bill Advances with Seal of Biliteracy

Language Opportunity Sketch_1.16April 18, 2017: The LOOK Bill — H.3705/S.2070 An Act for language opportunity for our kids — was reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Education and and referred to the House & Senate Committees on Ways and Means.

The LOOK Bill removes the restrictive mandate requiring Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) as the “one size fits all” default English Language Learner (ELL) program model, and gives school districts the flexibility to establish programs based on the educational needs of their students. It also establishes a state Seal of Biliteracy.

Find out more…

Language Opportunity Coalition an award finalist

We are excited to announce that the Language Opportunity Coalition has been named a finalist for Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s 2017 Nonprofit Excellence Award for Collaboration, recognizing the collaborative work of MATSOL, MABE, and MaFLA to launch the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project!

View the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s announcement:
Each year, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network honors the passion and impact of leaders in the state’s nonprofit sector with the Nonprofit Excellence Awards. This year, our panel of judges reviewed over 120 nominations that highlighted the incredible work of nonprofits across the state. The finalists range from large human rights coalitions to small arts organizations. These 26 nonprofits and individuals are improving communities across the Commonwealth, from the Berkshires to the Cape & Islands. They may differ in mission, size, and location, but the following individuals and organizations represent the best-of-the-best in the Massachusetts nonprofit sector. The 2017 Excellence Award winners will be announced at the State House on June 5th before hundreds of nonprofit, business, and community leaders.

Hearing on LOOK Bill

Massachusetts State HouseHearing of the Joint Committee of Education
Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Massachusetts State House, Room A-2

Teachers, students, parents, and other community members can testify in favor of the legislation.  Be prepared to testify on behalf of: S.232  An Act for language opportunity for our kids

Please contact the coalition through our Contact Us page to let us know you plan to testify!

The LOOK Bill

The bill removes the current mandate requiring Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) as the “one size fits all” default English Language Learner (ELL) program model, and gives school districts the flexibility to establish programs based on the educational needs of their ELL students.

It also establishes the State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize high school graduates who speak, write, and write in two languages (with the same language as S.311/H.285 An Act to Promote Global Trade and Economic Development through Biliteracy)

GUIDANCE FOR ORAL TESTIMONIALS

Testimonials that tell a story about individuals are very powerful.  Focus on what you know and care about.  Think about what you know and have experienced and present your concerns and ideas for better solutions, or one or two issues listed in the ELL Bill Fact Sheet April 2017 and speak to that. You have so much to offer policy conversations without having to be a data or policy expert.

Plan to speak for no more than 3 minutes.

GUIDANCE FOR WRITTEN TESTIMONY

You can submit written testimony to the Chairs of the committee and cc: your State Senator and State Representative.  Here is the list of names for the Joint Education Committee Chairs and members.  Bring a written copy of our testimony to leave with the committee, as well.  You can bring just one copy of testimony, and the staff will make copies for the Committee files, or you can bring enough for all committee members (~20) if you prefer.  You can bring other visual handouts to attach with your testimony, too.

GUIDANCE FOR WRITTEN TESTIMONIES

  •  Limit the text to 1.5 pages
  • Include your name, address, where you work or study, what you do for work,
  • State “I am  ….
  • State I am in favor of the bill S232 (Look Bill) and this is why.
  • Pick one point listed in the ELL Bill Fact Sheet April 2017 and speak to that.
  • State “I recommend that bill S232 (Look Bill) should be passed.

English Learner and Seal of Biliteracy Bills Move Forward

Massachusetts State HouseThe legislation supported by our coalition is moving forward Massachusetts state legislature, and the bills have been assigned to the Joint Committee on Education.

Seal of Biliteracy:

  • H.285/S.311 An Act to promote global trade and economic development through biliteracy

English Learner Education:

  • S.232/H.2018 Act for language opportunity for our kids

 

Contact Your State Legislators!

alertLanguage Opportunity Coalition is working once more with legislators to pass the LOOK (HD3537/SD155 – Representative Cabral and Senator DiDomenico) and Seal of Biliteracy legislation (HD924/SD1122 – Representative Khan and Senator Spilka). We came very close in the last legislative session and are hopeful that the bills will pass in this session, but we need your help —  Please ask your state senator and state representative to co-sponsor these bills!

Please click on this Capwiz link http://capwiz.com/actfl/issues/alert/?alertid=74956626 to send a message to state legislators asking them to sign on to sponsor the legislation (you can send one message from your home address, and another from your work address). One of the reasons we got so far in the last session was the incredible number of cosponsors you helped us to sign on and the continued messages that you sent at critical points in the legislative session.

Help us by forwarding the Capwiz link to anyone you know who is supportive of the Seal. Together we will get the bills passed in this legislative session!

Legislative Update

Massachusetts Language Opportunity Coalition Statement
On the 2014-16 Legislative Session

Language Opportunity Sketch_1.16We are sorry to report that the Massachusetts legislative session ended on January 4, 2017 with failure to pass either the LOOK Bill (H.498/S.262 An Act relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids) or the Seal of Biliteracy Bill (H.422 An Act to Establish a State Seal of Biliteracy / S.336 An Act to Promote Global Trade and Economic Development through Biliteracy ).

The goal of the LOOK Bill is to encourage the development of English Learner (EL) programs that support the development of bilingualism and biliteracy by removing the current mandate requiring Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) as the “one size fits all” default program model. It also establishes the State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize high school graduates who speak, read and write in two languages. The Seal of Biliteracy is also filed as a standalone bill, with the same language included in the LOOK Bill.

Earlier in the summer, both Chambers (House and Senate) passed different versions of the LOOK bill.  Unfortunately, at the last legislative session on January 4, the Senate and House were not able to reach agreement on a reconciliation of the two versions. The Senate passed the standalone Seal of Biliteracy bill, but the House failed to act on it.

Despite our disappointment at the legislature’s failure to pass these bills, the Language Opportunity Coalition has made positive progress during the past two years towards improving education for English Learners and promoting the value of bilingualism and biliteracy:

  • A majority of our state Senators and Representatives voted in favor of both bills, signaling wide support for the goals of the legislation.
  • Our Coalition has grown and strengthened. We had the opportunity to speak with many legislators, community leaders, business leaders, and educators about the benefits of developing a bilingual and biliterate workforce.
  • We have spearheaded a successful Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Program that resulted in 300+ award recipients and the participation of 30+ World Language programs, Two-Way Immersion (TWI) and Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) programs in the first year of the pilot in 2015-16.  
  • This year, in our second year of the Seal of Biliteracy pilot, we have doubled the participating districts and anticipate at least doubling the award recipients.  

The Coalition has been working with legislators to refile both bills by January 20th, the beginning of the 2017-18 legislative cycle. Yesterday, Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Kay Khan submitted the Seal of Biliteracy (SD1122 An Act to promote global trade and economic development through biliteracy / HD924).  Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Tony Cabral submitted the LOOK bill (SD155 An Act for language opportunity for our kids / HD3537 An Act to reform English language learning education).

Soon we will be asking for your support in contacting your legislators to seek co-sponsorship for the legislation.  We are optimistic that with our prior groundwork and your continued help we can successfully pass these important bills.

Brockton adopts Seal of Biliteracy

Seal-of-Biliteracy-LogoBROCKTON – Brockton High School is full of students whose families speak two or even three languages, and now those students will be able to leverage their bilingualism toward certified biliteracy.

This year, Brockton became only the eighth school district in Massachusetts to offer a pilot biliteracy program that helps students earn a Seal of Biliteracy.

Students who complete program requirements will have a seal marked on their high school transcript or diploma, signifying their ability to read, write, and speak proficiently in another language. Read more…

Brockton Enterprise: Brockton students can earn multi-language stamp of approval

2016 Seal of Biliteracy Awards

Seal-of-Biliteracy-LogoThe first Seal of Biliteracy Awards were presented in Massachusetts in the spring of 2016 by schools and school districts participating in the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project.

300+ Award Recipients

  • 19      Platinum Seal of Biliteracy (Advanced-Low)
  • 55       Gold Seal of Biliteracy (Intermediate-High)
  • 208   Silver Seal of Biliteracy (Intermediate-Mid)
  • 32      Biliteracy Attainment Award (Intermediate-Low)

8 School Districts

  • Andover, Arlington, Boston, Falmouth, Framingham, Melrose, Wilmington, and Winchester, Massachusetts

11 Language Learning Programs

  • Middle and high school World Language programs.
  • Elementary and middle school Two-Way Immersion (TWI) and Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) programs.

Data collected by the Language Opportunity Coalition.

Download flier on the 2016 Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project