Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia [8 VAC 20 ‑ 131]
Action Comprehensive review of the Standards of Accreditation
Comment Period Ends 9/11/2013
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9/10/13  1:59 pm
Commenter: Suzette F Wyhs, President,Virginia Foreign Language Supervisors Association

Support for Seal of Biliteracy Program

Acquiring world languages is a critical 21st Century skill in preparing our youth to meet the economic and labor demands of an increasing culturally diverse society. Fluency in other languages, including American Sign Language and Braille, in addition to English will enable Virginia’s next generation of business leaders and workers to continue to grow the Commonwealth’s economic capacity. Additionally, research reveals that acquiring a second language is linked with enhanced cognitive development, higher-order thinking, and creativity.

Students who are fluent and literate in more than one language have a competitive edge in today’s job market. The seal would:

  1. Certify that an individual is fluent and literate in English and a second language other than English.    
  2. Help employers, colleges, and universities clearly distinguish talented applicants with valuable skills. 
  3. Celebrate the diversity of our students and their academic achievements.

Since California and New York are the only two states that have established programs, this would place Virginia as a leader regarding biliteracy by formally recognizing, through the establishment of the State Seal of Biliteracy, the linguistic and cultural strengths of Virginia’s students. It builds upon their diverse assets enabling them to become highly literate in more than one language in addition to English and prepared to deal with a linguistically diverse region and a national and global economy.

Lastly, the Seal provides an opportunity for schools to establish a program that is positive, builds upon the strengths of all students who wish to participate and creates positive relationships with parents and the community at-large. Again, this is a “win-win” situation for all.

On behalf of the entire membership of the Virginia Foreign Supervisors Association and World Language teachers throughout Virginia thank you for your leadership on this important issue. We look forward to working with you to recognize the importance of biliteracy in today’s diverse society.