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May 16, 2022
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department’s Seal of Biliteracy Program Experiences Significant Growth

The New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) program continues to see significant growth year to year, with an 11 percent increase in the number of schools offering the Seal and a 19 percent increase in the number of students earning it, State Education Department Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced. The NYSSB report also identifies future goals for growth and outlines strategies to achieve these goals.

“The Seal of Biliteracy program aligns with the goals of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy, and I am pleased to see its continued success,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. “While the steady growth of the program is notable, we must continue to work to ensure it is widely available across the state, so all students have the opportunity to achieve this remarkable recognition.”

“The growth of the Seal of Biliteracy program amid a global pandemic is a testament to the program, and the educators and students who have contributed to its success,” said Commissioner Rosa. “This program truly personifies our state’s diverse cultural and linguistic heritage. I look forward to working with our stakeholders to continue to grow this exceptional program.”

Growth and Goals

The report shows the NYSSB grew significantly in the 2020-21 school year:

  • 324 schools offered the Seal of Biliteracy, an 11% increase from the prior year;
  • 5,492 students earned the NYSSB, representing a 19 percent increase over last year and nearly 3% of seniors attending high schools in New York; and
  • Since this program’s first year, more than 17,000 students have earned this distinction.

The following chart shows the number of high schools currently offering the NYSSB by region.

Number of High Schools Currently Offering the NYSSB by Region
Region Number of High Schools Offering the NYSSB % of Total NYSSB High Schools by Region




Hudson Valley



Long Island









New York City









NYSED encourages more schools to offer the NYSSB, so more students have the opportunity to earn the Seal. The Department’s goals for the program in 2021-22 are to:

  • Continue to expand the total number of schools, with particular emphasis on charter and non-public high schools, that offer the NYSSB to 400;
  • Increase the number of students earning the Seal to 6,865 students;
  • Increase the number of current ELLs earning the NYSSB to at least 600; and
  • Increase the total number of Ever ELLs earning the NYSSB to at least 1,000.

NYSED will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders, including the NYSSB Task Force, the NYSSB Forum, the Division of Multilingual Learners of the New York City Department of Education, the Regional Bilingual Education Resource Networks (RBERNs), and individual districts and schools offering the NYSSB program to accomplish these goals.

New York State Seal of Biliteracy

New York was the second state to adopt a State Seal of Biliteracy in 2012. The Commissioner awards the Seal to students who meet the criteria established by the Board of Regents. The NYSSB is affixed to the student’s high school diploma and transcript and is available to students at no cost. For more information on the New York State Seal of Biliteracy, visit the New York State Seal of Biliteracy website.