Webutuck honors dual language learners with Seal of Biliteracy
From left, Webutuck students Elizabeth Juarez, Karen Zempoalteca and Cristal Dominguez were presented with the Seal of Biliteracy at the Webutuck Board of Education meeting on Monday evening, June 13, in the Webutuck High School library. Photo submitted

Webutuck honors dual language learners with Seal of Biliteracy

WEBUTUCK — Recognizing the importance of honoring the North East (Webutuck) Central School District’s (WCSD) dual language learners, its Board of Education (BOE) opened its meeting on Monday, June 13, to a Seal of Biliteracy presentation.

Starting at 7 p.m., the board met inside the Webutuck High School (WHS) library.

Pleased to present the Seal of Biliteracy to three WHS students, Monica Baker, an English as a Second Language teacher, explained the Seal of Biliteracy was approved by the New York State Legislature in 2012 and signed by the governor to recognize graduating seniors who are proficient in English and a language other than English. In order to earn the seal, she said students have to meet rigorous criteria, such as taking tests, giving presentations in English and their second language and meeting the coursework criteria.

Because Webutuck didn’t offer the seal beforehand, Baker reached out to the state’s education department to learn how to institute the program. She credited the language department and other individuals for making it come to fruition.

“It’s a simple accomplishment,” Baker said. “Biliteracy is something that is important. It’s an asset and with the school population of 20% English language learners, it’s time we really elevate our students and recognize that they are an asset to our school community, and language is something we really need to celebrate and praise.”

Presenting students Elizabeth Juarez, Karen Zempoalteca and Cristal Dominguez with the Seal of Biliteracy, Baker shared all three students started with her in kindergarten. She said it was a personal honor to recognize them.

“This is just the start of us being able to do this in the foreseeable future and being able to honor an increasing number of dual language speakers in our school district,” said a proud Baker, “so thank you for being our pioneers and doing it with us this year.”

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