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The Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy seeks to provide every Tennessee student with the opportunity and means to receive a Seal of Biliteracy award upon graduation in recognition of demonstrated proficiency in two or more languages and to promote the 21st Century Workforce Skill of biliteracy throughout the state.

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T: 615-576-0339

E: VolStateSeal@gmail.com

OUR VISION

According to the Tennessee Department of Education, an estimated 6,000 or more students will graduate from high school each year who speak a language other than English in their homes. Additionally, hundreds, if not thousands of seniors, will demonstrate fluency in a world language through an Early Postsecondary Opportunity (EPSO) course, such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. Yet, the vast majority of these students will receive no recognition for their multilingualism.

 

The Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy seeks to provide every Tennessee student with the opportunity to receive an award upon graduation in recognition of demonstrated proficiency in two languages. We believe that if every Tennessee student has the opportunity to receive the Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy, then all students across the state, including those from traditionally underserved populations, will be uniquely prepared for careers in Tennessee’s expanding multilingual job market and will better positioned as competitive college applicants.

Research by the New American Economy “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 many domestic and multinational companies that seek qualified high school graduates with fluency in multiple world languages. From 2010-2016, demand for bilingual workers in Tennessee nearly tripled.

 

At the same time, Tennessee’s population continues to grow and diversify as the state attracts families seeking continuing educational and career opportunities. The Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy encourages students of all backgrounds to meet college- and career- ready benchmarks and to pursue fluency in two languages by high school graduation, which will prepare them for a global job market that increasingly expects bilingualism and biliteracy.

We seek to provide an equitable Seal of Biliteracy program for all Tennessee students by working towards the following goals: 

Year 1

2018-2019

Provide all eligible recipients with a Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy medal, certificate, and diploma seal at no cost to students, schools, or districts (using currently available world language assessments)

Facilitate stakeholder meetings across the state 

Collect Year 1 data and feedback from participating schools, students, community members, and business organizations

Year 3

2019-2020

Facilitate Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy testing at an affordable price in Tennessee's top 10 languages

Provide reimbursement for a translator or interpreter assessment for the highest achieving Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy recipients

Create a job and internship board for recipients of the Volunteer State Seal of BIliteracy to connect graduates with employers seeking bilingual and biliterate candidates

 

Facilitate an essay-based scholarship competition and award

Continue to collect and disseminate data and feedback from schools, recipients, community members, and business organizations

Year 5

2022-2023

Facilitate Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy testing at an affordable price in Tennessee's top 20 languages

Provide middle school Biliteracy Pathway awards to students across the state

Create Student and Teacher Fellowships to train recipients and teacher-leaders to advocate for the importance of heritage- and world-language supports and opportunities

Tennessee colleges and universities  provide foreign language credits for recipients

 

Continue to collect and disseminate data and feedback from schools, recipients, community members, and business organizations