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Dedham Public Schools joined 150 districts around Massachusetts in awarding a State Seal of Biliteracy distinction on Dedham High School diplomas this year.   The Seal is awarded to students that demonstrate proficiency in two languages; English and one other language.   Thirteen graduates in the Dedham High Class of 2020 earned the Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas, two of those graduates earned a Seal with Distinction.   


Students are awarded the Seal of Biliteracy after completing a four-part exam to measure interpretive listening, interpretive reading, interpersonal speaking and presentational writing.   Due to the pandemic safety precautions that required remote learning, the testing for this year’s Seal was done through online, virtual meeting platforms this past May.   


“We are so proud of our students for their achievements, despite the challenging circumstances of testing online,”  notes Alison Guifarro, DHS Foriegn Language Department Chair.  “The ability to earn a noted distinction that recognizes a student’s mastery of another language not only showcases the hard work of our students to learn language skills critical to a global society, but it's also a wonderful way to empower our English Language Learners.”


The Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy was introduced in 2018 by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and first awarded to students in 2019.  As noted by the Department of Education, the vision for the program is “to help students recognize the value of their academic success and see the tangible benefits of being bilingual.”   The inclusion of the Seal on a student transcript or diploma provides a validated statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admissions to recognize people with biliteracy skills.   This year, Massachusetts is also offering any graduate who earns the Seal of Biliteracy, a voucher to take a Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) at no cost, to help encourage and underscore the need for multilingual educators to support the linguistically diverse students in schools and classrooms throughout the State.