The State School Board created the Oregon State Seal of Biliteracy (OSSB) to recognize and value the native language/s students speak and bring to their English academic studies, to value language programs in schools, and to encourage students in the study of languages. This award recognizes student literacy in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in one or more World Languages, in addition to English.
The OSSB has recognized students who speak 47 different primary languages and earned the Biliteracy Seal in over 22 different languages, including Chinuk Wawa, Nez Perce, and Umatilla, three of the languages spoken by students from two of the nine federally recognized Tribes in Oregon. In addition, students who use ASL have also earned the OSSB. The Oregon State Seal of Biliteracy was the first in the nation to collaborate with post-secondary institutions to offer the Seal. Currently, two state universities and one community college offer the OSSB to their students.
While participation in the OSSB is voluntary, it is hoped and encouraged for all districts to create opportunities for students to earn the OSSB, that not only validates the student’s primary language, but also recognizes that through the study and high level of proficiency in more than one language, students become citizens ready for a multilingual society.
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Taffy Carlisle - Education Specialist