Fifteen students are graduating with a new distinction in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 this year.
They have earned a bilingual seal or certificate of proficiency that will be noted on their transcripts.
“It’s one thing to say that I’m bilingual,” said graduate Christopher Fuentes Chevez, “but now I have tangible proof.”
State law changed a few years ago to allow Minnesota school districts to award bilingual and multilingual seals and certificates to graduates who demonstrate required levels of language proficiency in speaking, writing, reading and listening in languages other than English.
“This is a way to honor the bilingual skills of our students whose home language may not be English, and provide them with credits at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities,” said Julie Krohn, the district’s K-12 English Language coordinator. “We are proud of their mastery of their home language in addition to the English language.”
“This opens doors for our students in so many ways,” said Dr. Stacie Stanley, director of the district’s System Improvement and Student Achievement department. “Not only are these students college ready, they are also career ready, as being bilingual is an asset in every career field.”
These students also have the advantage of serving as interpreters, who are paid from $40 to $60 or more per hour. “For many, this is a living wage that opens opportunities that their parent’s generation did not have,” added Stanley.
“While this was a pilot year in which we focused on our Spanish-speaking students, we plan to expand this opportunity to more students and add additional languages in upcoming years,” said Krohn.
Members of the Class of 2018 who have earned bilingual recognition:
Platinum Bilingual Seal (4 semesters of college credit):
- Maria Aguilera Araya
- Christopher Fuentes Chevez
- Cristian Pina Flores
Gold Bilingual Seal (3 semesters of college credit):
- Leslie Becerra Medina
- Melanie Gomez Mejia
- Derik Pina Flores
- Fatima Soriano Garcia
World Language Proficiency Certificate (2 semesters of college credit):
- Lysandra Alvillar
- Erick Blandon
- Josue Lopez
- Melissa Lopez-Angeles
- Vanessa Lopez-Barrera
- Litzi Rodriguez Torres
- Manuel Ruiz Pineda
- Pedro Ruiz Pineda