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World Languages

The New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB)

Guidance regarding the implementation of the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) program given the school closures due to COVID-19

Please know that while the situation is constantly evolving, we at OBEWL and NYSED are committed to providing reasonable options to assure the continuity of instruction and programs.  Click here to open a FAQ on implementing the New York State Seal of Biliteracy this spring.

The 2018-19 New York State Seal of Biliteracy Report Released

The New York State Education Department (NYSED or “the Department”) released today the 2018-19 Report on the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB or “the Seal”). The report summarizes facts and figures that demonstrate significant growth in this program over the last four years, including an increase in the number of schools offering the Seal and the number of students earning it. The report also identifies future goals for growth areas, strategies to achieve these goals, and provides information regarding how the NYSSB compares to other such programs throughout the country.  Last year, 4,031 students from 228 schools earned the NYSSB in 47 different languages. Since the first year this program was offered, over 7,700 students have earned this distinction.  Click here for more information on the 2018-19 NYS Seal of Biliteracy Report.  Click here to download the full report.

NYS Seal of Biliteracy Flyer (Multiple Languages)

English          

Arabic                             Bengali                  Chinese (Simplified)            

French                            Haitian                    Karen                    

Korean                            Nepali                    Polish

Russian                          Spanish                    Urdu

The New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English.  The intent of the NYSSB is to encourage the study of languages; identify high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers; provide universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission; prepare students with twenty-first century skills; recognize the value of foreign and native language instruction in schools; and affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society.

Letter from the Deputy Commissioner

NYS Seal of Biliteracy Handbook  The NYSSB handbook will help districts and schools with  the implementation process, including procedures, criteria, questions and answers, required forms, and resources.  New York City DOE public schools should consult the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for information specific to NYC DOE schools.  Questions from New York City DOE public schools should be directed to Jill Schimmel in the Division of Multilingual Learners (DML@schools.nyc.gov).  Questions from all other schools in New York State (including Charter schools in New York City) should be directed to Candace Black in the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (candace.black@nysed.gov; 518-473-7505).

School Notification Form  Each year, schools will inform the NYS Education Department of their intent to establish a Seal of Biliteracy program.    Required in this form will be committee member information as well as program details (e.g. assessment rubrics).  NYC DOE schools will be contacted by the Division of Multilingual Learners in the fall to provide this information. All other schools outside of the NYC area (including NYC Charter Schools) are requested to submit this online form by December 1st using the following link.  (Schools that need an extension of this date to submit this form should contact Candace Black - candace.black@nysed.gov.)  A template of the form is available (see title link) for schools to print while gathering data, but all information must be submitted via the online form.

Culminating Project Notification Form**NOTE:  Due to the COVID-19 school closures, the Culminating Project Notification Form should NOT be submitted for the 2019-20 school year.  No visits to student presentations at selected schools will be scheduled due to the public health crisis.**  The Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBEWL) will be scheduling school visits to sample and observe NYSSB Culminating Projects starting in the 2020-21 school year.  The purpose of these visits is to provide feedback and support to high schools offering this program.  The Culminating Project Notification form must be submitted electronically via the following link by all high schools that use an essay, portfolio or project to earn 2 points towards the NYSSB by no later than April 15th of each year starting in the 2020-21 school year.  

Seal Request Form.  Schools will request a physical Seal that will be placed on a student's diploma.  Schools are requested to submit the Seal Request Form electronically via the following link by May 31st.  (**This is a fluid deadline as we understand that some schools will need results from end of year exams that aren't available until June or July.  In these cases, schools are requested to submit the Seal Image Request form by May 31st with their ANTICIPATED candidates and results.  These schools can send an amended form when all results are available.  This will allow OBEWL to send Seal stickers and medallions to schools in time to be distributed to students.**)  Along with this form, districts will be required to complete the End-of-Year Data Form (below).

End-of-Year Data Form.  By May 31st of each year, schools will submit the End-of-Year Data Form (Excel spreadsheet) with all required information on the students earning the Seal of Biliteracy.  This form must be correctly completed and submitted to OBEWL (to obewldocsubmit@nysed.gov) in order to receive the physical Seals and medallions. (Please see information on flexibility in deadlines in the above section on the Seal Image Request Form.)

Criteria for Earning the Seal  In order to earn the NYS Seal of Biliteracy, students must demonstrate proficiency in English and another language based on criteria set by the NYS Education Department.

NYS Board of Regents Consent Item

Updated 2/20/19