Numerous Kenwood Students Receive the Seal of Biliteracy


The Kenwood student recipients of this year’s Seal of Biliteracy.

The Seal of Biliteracy is a recognition for students who have mastered two or more languages. Kenwood’s World Languages department is proud every year to recognize a growing number of students to receive this recognition.

It’s important for any student that knows or is in the process of studying multiple languages to know what the Seal of Biliteracy is and how the seal is granted to students. Kenwood World Languages Department chair Aimee Bogrand shares, “The MD Seal of Biliteracy recognizes students who demonstrate proficiency in two or more languages. In Maryland that means demonstrating intermediate-mid proficiency in English and another language’s standardized assessment, such as the ELA exam and earning a high score on the IB or AP exam in a second language.” Those who score above a certain number are given the Seal of Biliteracy on their diploma. The Seal of Biliteracy is given in 37 different states but was recently introduced to Maryland and the Baltimore County School District in 2016.

In order to obtain the seal, students must earn a 4 or 5 on the Language AP exam or a 6 or 7 on the IB SL exam. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be registered in an AP class to take the exam. However, students who have passed the exam have said that the course was crucial to their success on scoring. To take the IB exam, students must be in an IB-aligned course.

Those who take the exams can chose to take it more than once or even after completing the course. The AP and IB exams are in some ways very similar. The most common factor between the exams are their themes and how they calculate proficiency in different forms of communication such as: writing, listening, and reading in formal and informal ways. Students may prefer one format to another and go with the one that they feel the most confident in.

But what does the seal do for students outside of school? “The Seal of Biliteracy is a huge achievement in high school,” states Bogrand. “Applicants who earn or are pursuing the Seal are highly preferred by colleges and universities. The Seal demonstrates for employers that a student is literate in two languages and the demand for bilingual workers has doubled for over the past 10 years and continues to climb.”

There is no curriculum for the World of Languages Department to follow to ensure their students succeed at receiving the Seal of Biliteracy so all curriculum materials are created and implemented by Kenwood’s World of Language staff.

In all, the Seal of Biliteracy is something to be proud of. It’s a badge for language proficiency. If you take AP or IB language, students should be pursuing the Seal of Biliteracy. Becoming fluent in more than one language can broaden a student’s world.

Student Emerson Posadas-Funez is a student who hopes his advanced language skills will broaden his future. He had advanced scores in all modes of communications which include reading, writing, speaking, and listening! “Having the Seal of Biliteracy will encourage me to pursue higher level education. I will have more opportunities because I can fluently speak, read, and write in two languages. It was not easy, but it wasn’t impossible. When you truly want to accomplish something you will get it as long as you put in the effort,” he shares of his accomplishments.

This year there are eleven potential senior students eligible to receive the Seal of Biliteracy upon graduation. There are thirteen rising juniors and seniors that are also candidates to receive the Seal when they graduate. Genesis Bonilla, 2023 graduate, was the first to meet the World Language Seal of Biliteracy requirements as a sophomore. Kevin Villacorta and Brandon Earajas are two students who earned the Seal in Spanish but are also taking advanced level french classes to make them even more bilingual for their future.

Interested students can check out the bulletin board and signs around the school for more information about the Seal of Biliteracy. If you speak and write in a second language and want to know more, email Ms. Bogrand at [email protected] or stop by Room 121.

Original Story by Luvia Thomas found here.