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Woodland Joint Unified School District Holds Reclassification and State Seal of Biliteracy Ceremony

Woodland Joint Unified School District (WJUSD) held its annual Reclassification and State Seal of Biliteracy Ceremony on Monday, May 8, to recognize more than 600 students for their hard work in English language proficiency and/or biliteracy in another language.

At the ceremony, WJUSD recognized 495 students who were previously English Learners and have now been reclassified as fluent in English. Students received a certificate of accomplishment and a medal.

“It is a great feeling knowing your child did his best and was able to achieve this step in his life,” said Ariana Lepe Ortiz, a parent of a Freeman Elementary student. “We should always support and motivate our kids to always do their best.”

Students who meet reclassification criteria demonstrate that they can participate equally with average native speakers in the regular instructional program. The number of reclassified students in the 2016-17 school year places WJUSD above the state average, as well as demonstrates continued growth over the past three years; 13%, 15%, and 18% respectively. Reclassification is an important academic accomplishment for students who entered school with limited English proficiency.

“I feel being reclassified is like finally reaching the star you have wanted to reach,” said Juliana Hernandez, a sixth-grade student at Gibson Elementary.

WJUSD also awarded 128 State Seal of Biliteracy awards to seniors for their linguistic accomplishments. This recognition acknowledges students’ oral and written competency in at least two languages. Four new languages were recognized this year, totaling eight languages in which students are biliterate.  In addition, four students earned double State Seals of Biliteracy in Spanish and French, and Spanish and Italian. Other languages recognized for this award included Yoruba, Arabic, Vietnamese, Nepali, and American Sign Language.

“This award [Seal of Biliteracy] is significant to me because my family speaks Spanish and I wanted to use it. It means that I will have jobs and opportunities,” said Kevin Chavez, a graduating senior from Woodland High School.

In order to earn the State Seal of Biliteracy, students must demonstrate English competency by scoring proficient on California State Assessments in English Language Arts in their 11th grade year, or score proficient on local assessments.  Students must also pass all four years of high school English, and meet all high school graduation requirements.  In addition, students demonstrate competency in another language by passing the Advanced Placement exam or a local assessment.

“This award shows how much work I have put into my education and the pride I have within both of my cultures,” said Diana Torres, a graduating senior from Woodland High School.

State Seal of Biliteracy recipients will receive a medal and a sash at their high school’s academic award nights that can be worn during their graduation ceremony. They will also receive a State Seal on their high school diploma and a transcript notation.