Lincoln-Way Students Honored for Seal of Biliteracy
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Two short years ago, Lincoln-Way District 210 students had been the first to qualify for the newly state recognized Seal of Biliteracy, with 87 recognized students. Last night, a whopping 144 Lincoln-Way students were honored in a Biliteracy Awards Ceremony.

The students from Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln-Way North and Lincoln-Way West were all honored as part of this elite group of language students at a ceremony on April 20, 2016 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center auditorium at Lincoln-Way Central High School, New Lenox.

"We couldn't be more proud of the students and their achievements, as well as their teachers and parents who encouraged them throughout their years of working diligently to become a bilingual member of society. This is a skill they will carry with them throughout their lifetime—in travel, the workplace, and everyday social situations," said Department Chair, Carollyn Mushro.

The Seal of Biliteracy is a national initiative to recognize high school graduates who have achieved a high level of proficiency in English, as well as a second language. Achieving Biliteracy means a student is fluent as a reader, writer, speaker and listener in 2 or more languages. The Seal of Biliteracy was supported by the Illinois Senate and the House of Representatives, and signed by Governor Quinn in 2013.

Tim Reilly, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, explains, "The Seal of Biliteracy was founded on national guidelines and data-based testing, which makes it universal. It allows students to have their language proficiency documented for colleges and future occupations. This is one of many excellent opportunities for our students, and the number of those who've qualified for the Seal of Biliteracy speaks volumes of both the teachers' and students' hard work. We are extremely proud of our students, and of this department."

In 2015, Lincoln-Way World Language Department Chairs Carollyn Mushro and Peg Bobber led a workshop to teach other teachers how to launch Seal of Biliteracy programs in their own districts. The workshop attracted over 40 teachers and curriculum administrators from various districts. While Lincoln-Way had been the first to pilot the program in 2014, to date, 54 Illinois school districts now participate. Despite stricter qualifications each year, Lincoln-Way's number of student achievers has only grown.

Kayla Groen, a French student from East, says, "Knowing another language broadens your global connections, is valuable in the job market, and makes you a well-rounded person."