2020 graduates receive seal of biliteracy from last year’s AP exams

Katya Tarabrina, Blue M Editor-and-Chief

The results are in, 38 kids from MHS are among just 280 in the state to receive the seal of biliteracy.

The seal of biliteracy is a recognition from the state of Kansas, first started in 2016 in the state of Kansas. 

“In order to get the seal of biliteracy you need [to pass] the [English and Foreign Language] AP class for our school,” Spanish teacher Carmen Wilson said.  

There are two different seals of biliteracy that a student can recieve, the gold and the silver.

“That was a recent change this year, they [changed] the colors,” Spanish teacher Lindsy Clark said. “It’s based on the scores basically. If you take the AP Spanish exam and you get a five, and you take some sort of AP English exam, if it’s [score of five] then you get the gold. If you get a three or four on the AP exams, then that tends to be the silver area.”

Sometimes students are able to test high on their AP scores during their freshman year, but they may only receive their seal at graduation, due to the state guidelines. 

“After we receive the scores, Elke Lorenz German teacher, Natacha Mally the AP French teacher and I,” Wilson said, “we sit down and look at the scores. We have to do a spreadsheet that is sent to the Kansas Department of Education.”

As soon as they have the scores, they issue certificates for each student, which are sent to their home along with a letter from the state Commissioner of Education. The reason it takes so long to get the certificates to the graduates, is because they only get their AP scores back from spring during the summer. 

Typically, students that get this seal study a foreign language for years before earning it. However, some students can also come to the teachers without prior experience in a class. 

“It’s not based on how many classes you take, or … what things you’ve checked off the list,” Clark said. “It’s what you can actually do with the language, so it’s based on proficiency.”

With this seal come many benefits which students can carry onto their future careers.

“It benefits them because they can include it in their resume,” Wilson said.

Many students want to continue the path of learning foreign languages, and with the seal they are allowed to do that more easily. 

“We want all students and, especially, we want to reach out to students that aren’t maybe in our classes,” Clark said. “We hope to see it grow, we know with the situation we’re living in right now that we have to be realistic, … learning a language is really hard. We hope that those numbers will keep growing, especially as more people learn about it. It might be the deciding factor [for a] student.”