In world that’s globally connected at the push of a button, multi-cultural exposure is an invaluable asset to youth.
At Overton High School, students are being rewarded for breaking language barriers.
The Seal of Biliteracy is awarded to students who have mastered two languages.
The program is designed to place value on bilingual students’ skills and culture while encouraging them to seek academic success. It also gives them college and work force appeal.
Samantha Singer, an English teacher at Overton High School, is currently working with the program and hoping to expand to other Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.
“The Seal of Biliteracy program fosters family engagement and community trust, while also assisting language acquisition in English and other academic areas,” says Singer.
More than 175 Overton students have applied for the Seal of Biliteracy award this year alone. This doubles the number of applicants from last year, proving the program’s success.
“With over 56 percent of Overton High School students speaking languages other than English at home, it is crucial that we, as educators and community members, work to reinforce the validity and importance of student’s cultural identity and language,” says Singer.
Singer believes this boosts students’ confidence by focusing on individual students rather than the school as a whole.
This program also builds community-wide awareness of the value bilingual students attain.
This program began in California and has spread across the United States. Overton High School is currently the only Tennessee school taking advantage of this program.
“As we work to build and expand the Seal of Biliteracy program in MNPS, we believe that students, families, school, and community partners will see the importance and benefits of recognizing and honoring Nashville’s linguistic diversity,” says Singer.