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The New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB)

NYS Seal of Biliteracy Flyer (Multiple Languages)




Chinese (Simplified)            



Haitian Creole                    










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.

NYSSB Annual Report for 2019-20 Released

The New York State Education Department (NYSED or “the Department”) has released the 2019-20 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 five 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, 46091 students from 292 schools earned the NYSSB in 58 different languages. Since the first year this program was offered, over 12,300 students have earned this distinction.   Click here to download the full report.  Reports from all years available can be downloaded here.

NYSSB Guidance Toolkit is here 

To assist schools in implementing a NYSSB program, OBEWL in collaboration with the NYSSB Task Force and the Mid-West and Mid-State RBERNs have created a NYSSB Guidance Toolkit that contains a series of self-guiding modules. The modules, consisting of agendas, videos, presentation slides, and supporting documentation, can be used by the NYSSB Committee within a single school or among schools in a consortium looking to implement, improve, or expand their programs.  Click here to explore the seven modules that make up the NYSSB Guidance Toolkit.

NYSSB 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 (  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 (; 518-473-7505).

Required Forms

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 -  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 -  Due to the challenges presented by COVID-19 related school closures and remote instruction, OBEWL will not be requiring schools offering the Seal to submit the Culminating Project Notification Form in the 2020-21 school year.   Starting in the 2021-22 school year, OBEWL will select a few schools from each of the seven regions of the state and schedule visits (either virtual or in-person where permitted) to observe NYSSB Culminating Project Presentations.  The purpose of these visits will be to provide feedback and support to high schools offering this program.  The Culminating Project Notification form will 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 April of 2022.  The following sample rubric for the NYSSB Culminating Project is aligned to the ACTFL Intermediate High proficiency level and may be used by schools to evaluate their students' projects.  Schools may continue to use their own rubrics to evaluate projects if they wish.

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 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.)  Module 8 of the NYSSB Guidance Toolkit, Completing the End-of-Year Data Form, will guide participants through the process of filling out the NYSSB End-of-Year Data Form, including how to submit an error-free form.  

Guidance regarding the implementation of the NYSSB program given the school closures due to COVID-19

Click here to open the FAQ on implementing the New York State Seal of Biliteracy for the spring of 2020.

Additional guidance for the spring of 2021 will be released soon.

Updated 3/13/21