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Three Auburn students earn New York State Seal of Biliteracy

by Jessica Luisi, Public Information Specialist

(May 25, 2018) – Three Auburn High School (AHS) seniors earned a New York State Seal of Biliteracy at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES on May 22.
 
A New York State Seal of Biliteracy is awarded to high school seniors who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English, by high school graduation. The three AHS students who earned this notable recognition are Corynn Barnes, Kaitlyn Diego, and Karleigh Harris.
 
To be eligible for the NYS Seal of Biliteracy and to demonstrate their proficiency, each student had to present a project before members of the New York State Seal of Biliteracy Committee at OCM BOCES in Liverpool, N.Y. Following the presentations, students were then graded on their performance and were required to earn a certain rubric score in order to receive the seal.
 
“It is a lot of work, but I would encourage other people to do it; it’s a good experience,” Harris said. “I learned a lot about myself when I first started, and all of the work you put into it is so worth it.”
 
The seal acknowledges the importance of being bilingual in today’s society and affirms the value of diversity in a multilingual society. The recognition of attaining biliteracy becomes part of the high school transcript and diploma for these students and is a statement of accomplishment for college admission and future employers.
 
Janna Fiermonte, ENL teacher at the high school, learned of the program through OCM BOCES and immediately explored offering the opportunity to Auburn seniors.
 
“There was a lot of learning as we went along,” Fiermonte said. “I am extremely thankful for Brian Morgan letting us pilot the program at AHS this year and for Jessica Killian and Krista Martin helping me with coordinating everything.”
 
Students wishing to earn the New York State Seal of Biliteracy had to complete all of the requirements for graduation with a New York State Regents diploma, as well as earn three points each in English and World Language according based on certain criteria in order to apply. Once an application was received, students were assigned to a mentor to help guide them through the process.
 
“Earning this means a lot to me, and to our mentors,” Diego said. “My mentors, Ms. Fiermonte and Mrs. Killian, were so awesome!”
 
There were 13 mentors who agreed to work with students and took time out of their schedules to meet with and advise students, whether they completed the projects or not. The mentors helped students prioritize and ultimately make educated decisions about whether or not they wanted to continue.
 
“That kind of decision-making is part of real life,” “Fiermonte said. “I cannot thank all of the mentors and the AHS World Languages department enough for their continuous support throughout the process, whether it was helping to track down students, listen to projects and providing feedback, or volunteering to sit on the interview panels,”
 
Barnes, Diego, and Harris are being awarded a medal and certificate from New York State in recognition of their accomplishment at the board of education meeting on June 12 at Auburn High School. They will receive the official Seal on their diplomas at graduation on June 22.
 
Congratulations to these students on this amazing accomplishment!
 
Superintendent: Jeffrey Pirozzolo
Phone: 315.255.8800
Address: 78 Thornton Avenue | Auburn, NY 13021