SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – At a virtual board of education meeting held last week, 13 South Plainfield High School (SPHS) seniors were honored for earning the Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal, which is recognized by the New Jersey State Department of Education, certifies that a student is proficient in both English and a second language.

For 2019-2020, seniors Kaylee Basantes-Lllerena, Liesl Co, Adrian Dominguez, Rafael Estrella, Julianne Ferraro, Nicole Freire, Jessica LaCross, Nicole Lujan, Gabriel Mont, Skylar Negron, Monica Paiz-Che, Saulio Quinchia, and Kevin Veliz each earned the honor for their proficiency in English and Spanish. An official ‘Seal of Biliteracy’ will be included on each of their student transcripts. 

Mary Flora Malyska, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, stated that, to earn the ‘Seal,' the 13 South Plainfield seniors scored a ‘4’ or ‘5’– the two highest possible scores – on the ELA state standardized assessment as well as on either the AP Spanish exam or the Seal of Biliteracy STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) assessment.

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“The Seal of Biliteracy is a huge achievement for our students. Not only do they need to demonstrate proficiency in the English language through a rigorous assessment, they also must then demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language of the same caliber,” said Malyska. “Congratulations to all of you on this wonderful accomplishment.”

According to the State of New Jersey Department of Education website, the Seal of Biliteracy was an initiative started by Californians in 2008 to acknowledge and award hardworking bilingual and multilingual students. In January 2016, New Jersey became the 15th state to implement a legislated statewide Seal of Biliteracy and, last year, seven seniors were recognized as the first South Plainfield students to earn the recognition. 

“I would like to thank Annemarie Stoeckel, supervisor of world language for the South Plainfield School District, for all of her hard work with getting this initiative off the ground, and I would also like to recognize all the world language teachers who make this possible,” said Malyska.

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