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Biliteracy program makes strides in Westfield

WESTFIELD — In the 2019-20 school year, Westfield Academy and Central School began offering the New York state Seal of Biliteracy to eligible students. This seal is formal recognition of students who have studied and attained a high level of proficiency in two or more languages (English plus a Foreign Language) by high school graduation. The seal becomes part of the high school transcript and diploma and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admission.

Students who applied went through a difficult year of creating a portfolio to demonstrate their proficiency in English and Spanish. The assignments for the portfolio included face to face conversations with native speakers, extended writing, and podcast creations. The culminating assessment was a presentation to a group of native English and Spanish speakers in which the applicants presented their findings from the research they did throughout the year through a question and answer session. The session was conducted in both languages, via Zoom, with a panel of four people: Molly Anderson, Laura Wilson, Grisel Rater, and Monica Annis. In addition to creating a portfolio and participating in the panel, students also had to meet all requirements for graduating with a Regents diploma, earn an 80 or higher on the state Regents Examination in English Language Arts, and earn an 85 or higher in Spanish 4.

The students receiving this honor worked diligently all year and even through the COVID-19 closure. They showed dedication to the importance of language and how relevant knowing two languages is in our global society. These students have shown their commitment to excellence, and we are all so proud of these students and thank them for their hard work and being willing to go the extra mile. We also wish the seniors the best of luck (buena suerte) in their futures and know that they will achieve great things.

Senior recipients include Katie Bodenmiller and Eliora Brown with junior recipients, Emma Heim and Elber Lopez Hernandez.

The Seal of Biliteracy provides our students with a challenging educational opportunity. We are excited to continue offering this honor in the continued study of and high achievement in World Languages and English next school year.

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