USD 475

Being bilingual is increasingly useful in the modern world. Speaking multiple languages opens up career opportunities and offers job seekers an edge they might not otherwise have when they’re looking for work.

District ELL Coordinator Bernie Altenhofen informed the Unified School District 475 Board of Education that the state had approved the Seal of Biliteracy.

This is something high school seniors can receive upon graduation, if they can show themselves to be proficient in English and one other language. Interested seniors would be required to fill out an application, and take tests that prove them to be proficient in English and their chosen foreign language.

The foreign language test would be done on computers, so students could all take it at the same time — even if they were all taking the test for a different language.

Even if the language is one that’s generally considered “unusual,” Altenhofen said, arrangements can be made.

“The state asks the school to contact the World Language consultant at the state department,” she said. “They’ll help them come up with a portfolio or a test plan for that.”

The Kansas Seal of Biliteracy will then appear on successful students’ transcripts, after they graduate.

This is by no means required for students to graduate. This is merely an option for interested students.

“This could maybe give them a step up,” Altenhofen said.

She believes there will only be a small percentage of Junction City High School’s population taking the test in the first year of its being offered — maybe 20 or 30.

The BOE unanimously accepted the Kansas Seal of Biliteracy. Seniors who chose to apply and pass the tests will receive a certificate with the Seal of Biliteracy upon graduation from JCHS.

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