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NYS Seal of Biliteracy Students Give Virtual Final Presentations

ICSD seniors working toward the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) recently gave virtual culminating presentations, the final step in a rigorous process to receive the Seal of Biliteracy on their Regents diploma.

The seal denotes that a student has demonstrated high proficiency in one or more world languages in addition to English. This year, over 20 students from Ithaca High School and Lehman Alternative Community School completed projects in languages including Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Mongolian, Arabic, Bosnian, French, German, Vietnamese, and Dutch.

For the culminating project, students conduct research on a topic, keep a bilingual journal documenting their progress, write a final paper reflecting on the project, and prepare and give a presentation to a bilingual review panel, including a question-and-answer session. Due to the extended school closure, this year’s presentations were completed via Google Meet.

To earn the seal, students must demonstrate they can meet the benchmarks for Intermediate High level of proficiency as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Those at the Intermediate High level should be able to use language in real-world situations spontaneously “in a manner acceptable and appropriate to native speakers of the language.” In addition to the culminating project, students earn points toward the seal based on their performance in English and ENL/world language courses and Regents examinations. For students to earn the seal in a language not offered in the ICSD, they must demonstrate their language proficiency by taking an online test with Language Testing International that includes reading, writing, listening and speaking in the target language. ICSD educators serve as mentors throughout the process, ensuring students are on track to meet the NYSSB requirements.

The NYSSB program is challenging, but beneficial to students who say it provides a way to connect to family heritage, improve language skills, and prepare for future study abroad and job opportunities.

The NYSSB was officially adopted by the state Board of Regents in 2016 and has been offered in the Ithaca City School District since the 2018-2019 school year. By participating in the NYSSB program, the ICSD encourages students to pursue and maintain biliteracy and bilingualism, honors the skills our students attain, and provides evidence of students’ skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices.

For more information on the ICSD’s New York State Seal of Biliteracy program, visit

New York State Seal of Biliteracy candidates gave their culminating presentations via Google Meet.