Contact Your Allies
The district administration, school committee, school leadership, guidance counselors, computer laboratory coordinators, parents, students, and community leaders are some of the stakeholders who will need information about the LOC Biliteracy Pathway Awards and the implementation process. Once they are informed about the award program, these stakeholders can help facilitate implementation and then participate in the celebration of biliteracy. Hopefully, many of them are already a part of your district Task Force and/or school Work Group. The advocacy impact will be multiplied when the stakeholder group is more diverse.
Inform Students and Parents of the Test, Criteria, Specific Awards and Celebration
Student and parents need to be informed about the criteria, assessments, award levels, and celebrations for the Biliteracy awards. The district should determine the varied means to inform the district community about the LOC Biliteracy Pathway Awards process and results.
Districts can use their district website, newspapers, and cable/radio stations to spread the word about the opportunity to earn an award. By this time, the district will have decided if all students in certain classes will participate in the LOC Biliteracy Pathway Awards or if students will need to complete an application or intent-to-participate form, and if there are additional criteria for participation.
In addition, various means of communicating at the school level can be used to inform students and parents about the benefits, timeline, and application process for the LOC Biliteracy Pathway Awards. Each school should consider using class discussions, student assemblies, parents’ night, open houses, notes or emails sent home, school departmental newsletters, newspapers, and cable/radio stations to spread the word about the opportunity. For sample communications from the LOC pilot, see www.sealofbiliteracyma.org/communication.
The Seal of Biliteracy awards are a great advocacy tool for language programs and should be used as such. The levels established in the LOC Biliteracy Pathway Awards are fully attainable by students in programs that are designed to produce proficiency. As student success spreads, this in turn motivates more students to become involved in the following year. The ACTFL proficiency scale is nationally recognized for the data it collects. The LOC Biliteracy Pathway Awards should be used in program promotion and advocacy and students should be encouraged to share their accomplishment with universities and employers.
Identify Funding Sources and Timing for Partner Language Testing
Determine when the testing best fits within the district testing schedule, and if a re-test option will be scheduled for those students who fail to meet the standard on the first try. Dual Language Education programs have assessments in place to assess their students’ growth in proficiency of both English and the partner language. In other language programs, funding for the testing of the partner language needs to be established, especially for re-testing students who did not meet the criteria or for students who want to demonstrate proficiency in more than one partner language. (Only one LOC Biliteracy Pathway Award is given even if the student can document proficiency in multiple languages.) Some districts can begin the process by seeking grant funding and then make it part of the departmental budget. Other districts might have the students pay for their testing. It is important to note that the Massachusetts legislation states that districts that offer the MA State Seal of Biliteracy must cover the cost of testing for low income students. Title III monies cannot be used to pay for testing but under Title IV, some districts receive funds for AP and IB testing which could be maintained or transferred to one of the other proficiency test options. (Please see http://www.doe.mass.edu/ell/biliteracy/ for details.)
 Regulations: 603 CMR 31.07 (4): M.G.L. c. 69, §§ 1B, 1D, and 1Q
Identify How You Will Award Biliteracy
The district/school needs to decide if the LOC Biliteracy Pathway Awards will be given at a departmental ceremony, a school ceremony, or perhaps in combination with other awards or honor societies. Finally, decide if a pin, medal, lanyard, cord, and/or certificate will be given as part of the award. Consider how to encourage students to wear the pin, medal, lanyard, or cord at graduation for a visual proof of the Seal of Biliteracy.
COMING SOON: LOC Biliteracy Pathway Award certificates can be downloaded at https://sealofbiliteracyma.wordpress.com/biliteracy-award-certificates/.
- Timeline and Guiding Questions for the LOC Biliteracy Awards
- Action Plan Template
Exemplars from the PILOT Experience
For Parents and Family
- Sample Letter to Families of Students in World Language
- Sample Letter to Parents explaining Seal process and requesting their permission for child to participate_Eng.Spa.Port
- Sample FULLER MS-AttainmentAwardLetter-SPAN
- Discussion of Assessment of Proficiency To Share With Students
- Fuller Students Seal of Biliteracy Pathway & Program Awards