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Mayor Emanuel and CPS Announce Record Number of Students Earn State Seal of Biliteracy

04 June 2018

More than 1,700 Graduating Seniors Earn Seal of Biliteracy, Demonstrating Mastery of Multiple Languages

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
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Monday, June 4, 2018

CHICAGO - Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will join Chicago Public Schools to announce a record number of CPS students, 1,720 earned the State Seal of Biliteracy – more than 400 students than last year. This rigorous recognition requires students to demonstrate language proficiency in English and another language by earning a 4 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) or other ISBE-approved assessments, meaning all of these students also graduate with college credits – which supports Mayor Emanuel’s ambitious goal of having 50 percent of seniors earning college and career credit by 2019.

“Chicago’s students are raising the bar for success and making our city proud,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “A record number of CPS students are not only earning high school diplomas, but earning college credit and mastering two languages. I commend these hard-working students, their teachers and parents on a job well done.”

In addition to the Seal of Biliteracy, 1,078 students will receive the Seal of Commendation, a recognition for students who have demonstrated significant progress toward biliteracy and have earned a 3 on the AP exam or equivalent score on other language assessments. A total of 2,798 students from 79 high schools are graduating with a Seal of Biliteracy or Seal of Commendation in 2018, and all of them qualify to receive college credits for their high scores on the advanced placement exam.

“Chicago is a global city, and we believe in the power of a multicultural education to prepare our students for future success,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “The strength of our district lies in its diversity, and the Seal of Biliteracy provides an unparalleled opportunity to encourage and celebrate multilingualism while providing additional opportunities for students to earn college credits.”

Students who earn the Seal of Biliteracy and Seal of Commendation receive a physical seal on their diploma, which indicates that they have proficiency in more than one language. In 2018, CPS students earned the Seal in 12 different languages:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Chinese
  • Polish
  • Arabic
  • Italian
  • German
  • Latin
  • Russian
  • Japanese
  • Bulgarian
  • Portuguese

CPS is also the first district in Illinois to create a CPS Seal of Biliteracy Pathway award to recognize exemplary 5th and 8th graders who are studying world language or enrolled in Dual Language programs- providing students with comprehensive programming to develop literacy skills and fluency in both English and another language. More than 1,700 5th and 8th graders from 64 elementary schools and middle schools will earn the Seal of Biliteracy Pathway award this year.

Chicago Public Schools: Global Curriculum for a Global City
Chicago Public Schools is committed to fostering multilingualism, biliteracy and cultural education as key factors to postsecondary success. As part of this focus, last year CPS expanded dual language programming to 27 schools throughout the district. CPS expanded Dual Language programming to help students develop strong proficiency in both English and Spanish. Through Dual Language programming, students are able to develop bilingualism, biliteracy and a shared cultural understanding among English learners and native speakers. Dual Language programs integrate both English and Spanish into core instruction to provide immersion into both languages. To support students in their non-native languages, students receive language development instruction in the language they are learning.

Dual language schools are selected after an application process and site visits from OLCE staff, Dual Language principals and Dual Language coordinators to ensure each school would be able to provide students with high quality Dual Language programming after the initial planning year.

CPS supports the unique needs of Dual Language schools by providing professional development to school staff and a part-time Dual Language Coordinator to manage each school’s program. Funding for the program is provided through Title III funds, which is federal funding to support English language learners.

Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

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