The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is introducing the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy (Missouri Seal) Program. The Missouri Seal is awarded by local school districts to graduating students who have proven a specific level of proficiency in English and any other world language, including sign languages. The graduating class of 2018 is the first class to be eligible for the program.
“Learning another language helps open new worlds and cultures for our students,” said Ryan Rumpf, director of the English learners program at DESE. “We’d like to see many students take advantage of this opportunity to distinguish themselves as bilingual as they continue their education or begin a career.”
All Missouri graduating students are potential candidates for one of two prestigious awards: the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy and the Distinguished Missouri Seal of Biliteracy. Local school boards determine whether they wish to offer the awards to their students. Several Missouri businesses have pledged support for the program, as have some state universities. Missouri State University, Missouri Southern State University and the University of Central Missouri have committed to offering 12 hours of credit to students earning the Missouri Seal.
“We appreciate the support of Missouri businesses and these universities for this new opportunity for students,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “We encourage others to make similar commitments to help better prepare our future workforce.”
The Missouri Seal is a policy-level commitment that aligns with DESE’s goal of preparing students for a lifetime of success. The policy meets or exceeds the suggested criteria collaboratively developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) association, the National Council of State Supervisors for Language (NCSSFL), and the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE).