Six Monroe Central student have accomplished an educational feat that few their age can claim. David McDonald, Jeremiah Deffendall, Coen Formanek, Meghan Gillespie, Jacob Deffendall and Samantha Roderick have earned the Seal of Biliteracy, which makes them proficient in the English language and Spanish.
Many students take language classes in high school, but those earning this honor become skilled through countless hours of work and testing to be able to read, write, listen and speak fluently in each language.
“Only about two present of traditional four-year second language learners in the U. S. achieve this,” said MC Spanish teacher, Jenna Gonzalez de la Vega. “Forty percent of our four-year Spanish students earned it over the past two years.
Three students earned the honor in 2018 and three more in 2019.
She was unaware of any other school in the area that offered the Literacy Test, which is nationally sanctioned. The AVANT STAMP4S proficiency test was the test administered to MC students. According to the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages standards, students need to score at an intermediate to mid-high level or above in all categories to be awarded the Seal.
Along with earning the Indiana Seal of Biliteracy, the MC students received the Global Seal of Biliteracy. For college and career purposes, the benefit will be far-reaching for these high-achievers. Their high school transcripts will designate them multilingual proficient and a representative seal appears on their high school diploma.
“Students who receive the Seal of Biliteracy devote many hours outside of class to strengthen their skills,” Gonzalez de la Vegas said.
She pointed out that MC offers foreign language courses to high school students only, giving them a maximum of four years. To reach the intermediate-mid proficiency range in all categories it requires a student to give close to 5.4 academic years of coursework.
“Because the Seal of Biliteracy is a rare award, it sets students apart and gives them an advantage in future career paths and employment opportunities,” Gonzalez de la Vegas said.