SECTION 1. For purposes of this article, ‘foreign language’ means a language other than English, and includes American Sign Language.
SECTION 2. Chapter 69 of the General Laws as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition is hereby amended by adding after Section 1O a new section:
Section 1P. The board shall establish the State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, writing and listening in one or more languages in addition to English.
The purposes of the State Seal of Biliteracy are as follows: (1) To encourage students to study languages; (2) To certify attainment of biliteracy; (3) To provide employers with a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills; (4) To provide universities with a method to recognize and give academic credit to applicants seeking admission; (5) To prepare pupils with 21st century skills; (6) To recognize and promote foreign language instruction and native and heritage language instruction in public schools; (7) To strengthen intergroup relationships, affirm the value in diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and languages of the Commonwealth.
The Secretary of Education shall be responsible for administering the State Seal of Biliteracy program including preparing and delivering to participating school districts an appropriate insignia to be affixed to the diploma or transcript of the student indicating that the student has been awarded a State Seal of Biliteracy. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in consultation with the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association, and in alignment with national trends for existing state Seals in the nation, shall promulgate regulations governing criteria for the awarding of the State Seal of Biliteracy.
A school district that participates in the program under this section shall: maintain appropriate records in order to identify pupils who have earned a State Seal of Biliteracy and affix the appropriate insignia to the diploma or transcript of each pupil who earns a State Seal of Biliteracy. State Seals of Biliteracy shall also be available electronically.
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