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San Dieguito high school district to offer students Seal of Biliteracy on diplomas

The San Dieguito Union High School District will now award qualifying students with the California State Seal of Biliteracy on their graduation diplomas, recognizing students who have obtained proficiency in two or more languages.

“The Seal of Biliteracy award program encourages students to pursue biliteracy and will promote the district’s commitment that every student graduates prepared and equipped with the knowledge and skills to participate successfully in college, careers and a diverse 21st century society,” said Manuel Zapata, the English learner program director. “It’s a statement of accomplishment for the students, recognizing and celebrating their efforts to be biliterate by earning a seal.”

The district will inform all high school students this month about the opportunity to prepare and apply for the seal — students who meet the requirements will see it affixed to their diplomas starting with the class of 2016.

Rachel Scherba, who heads up Diegueno Middle School’s Dual Language Immersion program, said by offering the seal, the district will join five others in San Diego and hundreds in the state in honoring students that have become biliterate.

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Scherba said the seal would recognize the achievements of students in the dual language immersion program, which started locally at the district’s feeder school, Capri Elementary School, 13 years ago. SDUHSD will graduate its first group of students this June.

Scherba said the seal would also honor the efforts of students in world language classes who work really hard to be biliterate, such as students in Japanese classes at San Dieguito.

The seal will also recognize the district’s English language learners who have overcome the “daunting” challenge to become proficient in English and score well on standardized tests.

“Thank you to the district’s leadership team for recognizing this symbol of skills that are so important to our future,” Scherba said.

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