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Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on June 12th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 14

Bilingual seniors earn special recognition

BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

The art of mastering two languages is tricky, and for 111 seniors graduating from the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, it did take some work.

Those students earned themselves a special Seal of Biliteracy Recognition Award on their high school diplomas by taking four years of high school languages with a 3.0 GPA, passing a foreign language Advanced Placement exam, or scoring 600 or more on an SAT II test.

Peter Haws, the director of English learner/migrant education programs at the district, said in a press release that the language skills will give the students an advantage.

“Fluency skills in multiple languages opens up many doors and new opportunities for our students,” Haws said in the release. “They are able to connect with more people, cultures and have an edge when it comes to future employment.”

Last year, 84 students qualified for the award, demonstrating proficiency in English and one other language. The district offers French and Spanish language classes.

The district’s Seal of Biliteracy Program was also honored last February in Long Beach with a Certificate of Recognition at the California Association for Bilingual Education Conference. SMJUHSD was the first district in Santa Barbara County to offer the award to qualifying students.