Graduates Holding Diplomas

THE VOLUNTEER STATE SEAL OF BILITERACY

Language Matters

Language Matters...

FOR OUR COMMUNITIES

Tennessee’s population continues to grow and diversify as the state attracts families seeking educational and career opportunities. The Seal of Biliteracy highlights the linguistic and cultural assets that exist across our state-wide communities- rural, suburban, and urban- and supports cross-community engagement, communication, and learning for students, educators, and community leaders.

FOR OUR SCHOOLS

The Seal of Biliteracy encourages students of all backgrounds to meet college- and career- ready benchmarks and to pursue fluency in two languages, which will prepare them for a global job market that increasingly expects bilingualism and biliteracy.  We seek to support and expand world and heritage language offerings in Tennessee, with a focus on equity and inclusion of all communities and languages in our state.

FOR OUR ECONOMY

Research “illuminates the need to attract and promote language diversity in Tennessee’s workforce among both foreign-born and U.S.-born workers,” as “industries across Tennessee need diverse bilingual talent in order to grow and compete in the global economy.” Tennessee’s growing job market includes domestic and multinational companies that seek multilingual graduates. From 2010-2016, demand for bilingual workers in Tennessee nearly tripled.

Technology Class

ABOUT THE AWARD PROGRAM

The Seal of Biliteracy is given by an educational or governmental unit to honor and recognize a language learner who has demonstrated proficiency in English and one or more other world languages. Its purposes include: 

  • to encourage lifelong language learning,

  • to motivate students to develop and showcase their biliteracy in English plus at least one additional language,

  • to recognize the linguistic resources that students develop in homes and communities as well as through a range of educational experiences,

  • to acknowledge and communicate the value of the nation’s diversity in language assets,

  • to encourage language learners to maintain and improve their first or heritage language while also acquiring proficiency in additional languages.

 

The Seal of Biliteracy builds upon strong research about the benefits of mastery of two or more languages for individual students, and the increasing awareness of the need in our communities, state, nation, and world for people with biliteracy and cross-cultural skills. It will benefit learners in the labor market and the global society while strengthening intergroup relationships and honoring the multiple cultures and languages in a community.

OUR IMPACT

Awards earned in more than 10 World Languages

$4,000 in scholarships awarded to TN graduates

More than 40 partcipating public, private, and charter schools across the state

More than 900 award recipients since 2019

Graduation

AWARD RECIPIENT TESTIMONIALS

"The Seal of Biliteracy gives me tangible proof that my second language is not a disadvantage to my American life, but an advantage which is valued in academics as well as in the workforce."

Marina Y.

Seal of Biliteracy Recipient '16