The district will honor bilingual speakers at graduation with an elite award.

The Lake Oswego School District is hoping to find more students to join the Seal of Biliteracy program.

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school district in recognition of students who have learned two or more languages at a proficient level, said Julie Pacheco-Toye, an instructional coach. The honor is intended to recognize the native languages of students and the language programs in Lake Oswego that teach other dialects to English-speaking students.

"It is really a celebration of an achievement that is not very common, and that both universities and employers can really value. It's evidence of a skill that's really in demand," Pacheco-Toye said. "It's also a way to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the language skills that our international students bring with them."COURTSEY PHOTO: JULIE PACHECO-TOYE - Students will be honored with the Seal of Biliteracy at their graduation.

Since the program's conception, 104 students have walked across their graduating stage with a Seal of Biliteracy rope. For the 2021-2022 academic year, 39 Lake Oswego students will walk across the stage next spring with the seal.

To qualify for the award at graduation, students must demonstrate their proficiency in English and at least one other language at the intermediate-to-high level. Many students study for five to six years and then must take either an advancement placement test or a STAMP test. The participants must be able to read, write, speak and listen in the language they hope to be honored for.

"Someone who's at intermediate-high doesn't necessarily speak perfectly all the time — they can still make errors. They can usually interact with others with native speakers to exchange information and meet their needs and a wide variety of situations," said Pacheco-Toye.

Interested students should talk to their counselor or world language teacher.

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