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Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions Program.
What are Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions?

The Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions are recognitions that can be provided to students at key educational segments to recognize their progress in developing biliteracy or multiliteracy.

Why were the Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions established?

The Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions were established to recognize preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school students who have demonstrated progress toward proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.

What are the purposes of the Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions?

The purposes of the Biliteracy Pathway recognitions are:

  1. To encourage students to study languages, continue their language study, and become multilingual.
  2. To raise awareness about the State Seal of Biliteracy requirements and ensure that multilingual students have the information they need to meet these requirements and earn the State Seal of Biliteracy upon graduation from high school.
  3. To certify progress toward biliteracy.
  4. To prepare students with twenty-first century skills.
  5. To recognize and promote world language instruction in public schools.
  6. To strengthen intergroup relationships, affirm the value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures, histories, and languages of a community.
  7. To implement principles one and four of the English Learner (EL) Roadmap Policy by creating an aligned and articulated pathway to multilingualism that embraces students’ home and community languages and cultures as assets.
What recognitions are available?
Must a local educational agency (LEA) award all of the Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions to participate in the program?

No. An LEA may select one or more of the recognitions to award based on the program model and local needs.

What is the Biliteracy Program Participation Recognition?

The Biliteracy Program Participation Recognition is a recognition available to students enrolled in programs leading to biliteracy in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. As a participation recognition, this award is provided to all students enrolled in the program and is not based on the student’s proficiency. This recognition is an entry on the path to biliteracy or multiliteracy.

What is the Home Language Development Recognition?

The Home Language Development Recognition is a recognition available to emergent bilingual students with a home language other than English in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. This recognition is provided to students who demonstrate that they are continuing to develop the home language by engaging in age-appropriate activities in the home language. This recognition is an entry on the path to biliteracy or multiliteracy.

What is the Biliteracy Attainment Recognition?

The Biliteracy Attainment Recognition is available to students at the end of elementary school (the grade level depends on the program model, usually either grade five or six), and the end of middle school (the grade level depends on the program model, usually grade eight). This recognition is based on proficiency and is awarded to students who meet specific proficiency criteria in English and one or more languages in addition to English. This recognition is aligned with the State Seal of Biliteracy requirements and is an indication that if a student continues on this path in high school they will likely be prepared to meet the requirements to earn the State Seal of Biliteracy.

At which grade levels are each of the recognitions awarded?

The Biliteracy Program Participation Recognition and the Home Language Development Recognition may be awarded at any grade levels, preschool through grade eight. LEAs may decide at which grade(s) to award these recognitions based on the program model.

The Biliteracy Attainment Recognition is intended to be awarded at the end of elementary school (usually grade five or six) and the end of middle school (usually grade eight).

Are the Biliteracy Program Participation and Home Language Development Recognitions awarded annually or at particular grade levels?

It is a local decision at which grade level(s) to award these recognitions. LEAs may choose to award them annually or at particular grade levels that fit the program model and goals.

May an LEA modify the criteria to fit their program model or needs?

Yes. The criteria are guidance and may be adapted for all grade levels as established by the school, school district, or county office of education.

For the Biliteracy Attainment Recognition, what can an LEA do if they do not have the students’ California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) scores from the current year in time for recognition or promotion ceremonies?

The LEA is welcome to either use the previous year’s CAASPP scores or recognize the students who are on track to earn the recognition at promotion ceremonies and verify that they have met the CAASPP criteria once CAASPP scores are received. The LEA may also choose to do a mix of the two, awarding the recognition to all students who met the CAASPP requirement the previous year and also providing students who did not meet the threshold the previous year the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency during the current year, once scores are received.

If an LEA has a multilingual program that is, for example, a 90:10 model, how does English play a role in the certificate?

The LEA may modify the criteria to fit the program model. Therefore, in a 90:10 model, for example, an LEA may choose to modify the criteria for particular grade levels or spans to focus on the target language and may gradually introduce English as a requirement in later grade levels, as appropriate for the program model and goals.

Are these recognitions available to English learners, reclassified students, initially fluent English proficient students, and English-only students?

Yes. Any student who meets the criteria may be awarded these recognitions, regardless of primary language or English learner status. Ensuring that English learners, reclassified students, and initially fluent English proficient students have access to these recognitions is critical, as they bring the asset of a home language other than English to school.

Can a student who has demonstrated progress toward literacy in more than one language, in addition to English, be awarded a Biliteracy Pathway Recognition in more than one language?

Yes. To recognize students who are developing multiliteracy, the preschool, school, school district, or county office of education may list more than one language of developing proficiency (in addition to English) on the certificate.

If an LEA already has a local pathway recognition, can it still participate in this program?

Yes. LEAs may choose to award a local pathway recognition using local criteria. If the LEA would still like to be listed as participating in the Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions program, the LEA should submit a Biliteracy Pathways Recognition Participation Form and indicate that the LEA is awarding a local pathway recognition.

Any LEA recognizing students on the pathway to biliteracy or multiliteracy in preschool through grade eight may be included in the list of participating schools and districts.

Is there a cost to participating in this program?

No. There is no cost to students or LEAs to participate in this program.

Who can award the Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions?

Preschools, schools, school districts, and county offices of education can award the Biliteracy Pathway Awards.

Can private schools participate in the Biliteracy Pathway Recognition Program?

Yes. Since this program is optional guidance any school, including private schools, may participate. Please note that only public schools are eligible to participate in the State Seal of Biliteracy program. Therefore, private schools that wish to establish a pathway to biliteracy would need to establish a local seal of biliteracy to award in high school.

Must a student be enrolled in a multilingual program to earn a Biliteracy Pathway Recognition?

This depends on the recognition provided. To earn the Biliteracy Program Participation Recognition, a student must be enrolled in a multilingual program. However, to earn the Home Language Development Recognition or the Biliteracy Attainment Recognition, a student does not need to be enrolled in a multilingual program.

Is participation in this program required?

No. The Biliteracy Pathway Recognition program is optional.

What do preschools, schools, school districts, and county offices of education need to do in order to participate in this program?

Preschools, schools, school districts, and county offices of education that choose to participate may review the information and guidance on the California Department of Education (CDE) Biliteracy Pathway Recognition web page and choose to adopt or modify the criteria. Then, the LEA should submit an online Biliteracy Pathways Recognition Participation Form to provide information to the CDE regarding their program. After submitting the form, the LEA will receive an email with the certificate templates. The LEA may use this certificate templates or create their own certificates or other recognition and provide them to students who meet the criteria.

What kind of recognition is provided to students who are awarded a Biliteracy Pathway Recognition?

The California Department of Education provides preschools, schools, school districts, and county offices of education with a customizable, printable certificate that they may award to students.

Where can I find the Biliteracy Pathway Recognition certificates?

The Biliteracy Pathway Recognition certificate templates are emailed to LEAs when they submit an online Biliteracy Pathway Recognition Participation Form, available on the California Department of Education Biliteracy Pathway Recognition web page under the “Requirements and Forms” tab.

Are participating preschools, schools, school districts, and county offices of education required to use the provided certificate?

No. Preschools, schools, school districts, and county offices of education may use the provided certificate or may create their own certificate or recognition.

What information does the Biliteracy Pathways Recognition Participation Form ask for?

The online Biliteracy Pathways Recognition Participation Form asks for:

  • The district and school(s) participating;
  • The program model(s) (dual language immersion, heritage language, foreign language experience, etc.);
  • The type(s) of Biliteracy Pathway Recognition(s) being offered (Biliteracy Program Participation Recognition, Home Language development Recognition, Biliteracy Attainment Recognition, and/or local recognition);
  • The number of students receiving the recognitions and the language(s) in which they are being recognized;
  • The number of students being recognized with an Individualized Education Program (IEP); and
  • The number of students being recognized who are current or former English learners (for kindergarten through grade eight programs).
How often must an LEA submit a Biliteracy Pathways Recognition Participation Form?

LEAs are asked to submit a Biliteracy Pathways Recognition Participation Form annually in order to be listed as part of the participating schools and districts.  If an LEA does not wish to be listed as participating in this program, the LEA may choose not to submit a form.

Must an LEA submit a Biliteracy Pathways Recognition Participation Form if the LEA is awarding a local recognition or planning to create a local certificate?

LEAs may choose to create their own regional or local recognition and certificate. In order to be counted as part of the participating schools and districts, an LEA must submit a Biliteracy Pathways Recognition Participation Form annually.

Is there a deadline by which an LEA must submit the form annually?

No. An LEA may submit a form at any time. However, in order to be counted as participating in the list of participating schools and districts, the LEA must submit the previous school year’s form by August 1 of each year. LEAs that submit a form after August 1 for the previous school year may not be included in that school year’s list.

For example, to be included in the 2021–22 school year’s list, an LEA would need to submit the form by August 1, 2022.

Where can I find information about which LEAs participate in the program and how many students were awarded Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions each year?

Statistics on program participation will be available on the California Department of Education Biliteracy Pathway Recognition web page under the “Participating LEAs” tab. This information will be published annually each fall and will include participation information for the previous school year.

Where can I find information about the Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions in other languages?

A flyer and a PowerPoint presentation that provide information about the Biliteracy Pathway Recognition program are available in English and Spanish on the California Department of Education Biliteracy Pathway Recognition web page under the “Resources” tab. These resources are intended for parents, families, and community members. Additional languages will be added in the future.

How can I contact the California Department of Education (CDE) if I have questions?

For questions about the Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions, contact the CDE Multilingual Support Division by phone at 916-319-0938 or by email at SEAL@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Multilingual Support Division | SEAL@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0938
Last Reviewed: Friday, December 29, 2023
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