DES MOINES, Iowa – The Des Moines Public School District is honoring students who are fluent in two or more languages.
“The Seal of Biliteracy” is an award from the Iowa Department of Education that recognizes students' high level of proficiency in the languages such as speech, writing and reading.
DMPS ELL Program Director Pablo Ortega said an estimated 348 students may qualify for the award.
“The Iowa Seal for Biliteracy was established this year and what it does is it actually recognizes students who have acquired another language either through their family members who show them how to speak a different language or through school,” Ortega said.
Any student in the district is allowed to apply for the award. Ortega said students need to be proficient first in English before being qualified for an additional language.
“If you’re a kid who is not in AP classes, but is fluent in another language because you grew up with it you can still apply to take the exam only,” Ortega said.
The exam will be given to students later in the year after the application process is complete.
Ortega said if a student receives the Iowa Seal of Biliteracy they will have it on their high school graduation transcript.
Hoover High School Senior Connor Flynn said he was able to speak Spanish while living in Spain for a study abroad program.
“It definitely makes it easier whenever I am trying to communicate with people. If somebody isn’t as great in English I can just ask them to repeat something in Spanish. It’s easier for me to understand what they are trying to get across,” Flynn said.
Students in the graduating class of 2019 will be the first honored by the award through DMPS.
If a student is interested in applying for the Iowa Seal of Biliteracy, click here.
For more information on the program, click here.