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More Than 580 Fontana Unified Students Honored by County Superintendent of Schools, to Earn State Seal of Biliteracy

More than 580 Fontana Unified students were honored during the San Bernardino County Superintendent of School’s California St

FONTANA, CA – More than 580 Fontana Unified School District seniors who are set to earn the California State Seal of Biliteracy for a high level of proficiency in bilingualism and biliteracy were recognized by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools during a recent ceremony.

Seniors from all seven Fontana Unified high schools – Fontana, A.B. Miller, Henry J. Kaiser, Summit, Jurupa Hills, Citrus and Eric Birch – were honored at the ceremony and received a certificate and medal from the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. Fontana Unified students received Seals of Biliteracy in four different languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic and Tagalog.

The nearly 600 Fontana Unified seniors honored this year marked a more than 200% increase over the last two years, when 180 Fontana Unified seniors were recognized at the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools event in 2021. The Seal of Biliteracy is marked by a gold seal on a student’s diploma and transcripts.

“It is wonderful to see so many students receive the Seal of Biliteracy this year,” Director of Multilingual Programs and Services Martha Dueñas said of the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools ceremony on Nov. 1. “Students who are fluent in multiple languages can compete in a global economy where there are no borders, and communicate with people all over the world. These are the students we want to see, the future leaders and ambassadors.”

Fontana Unified has expanded its efforts to increase the number of students earning a Seal of Biliteracy, using Global California 2030, a California Department of Education initiative, as a template. Global California 2030’s goals are to have half of all K-12 students in the state participating in a language proficiency program by 2030 and to have three of four students earn a Seal of Biliteracy by 2040.

The District has responded to the initiative by expanding its dual-language immersion program, as well as offering world language classes in middle school to support the biliteracy goals of students and their families. FUSD has also moved its student assessments up from December to September to allow students to participate in the county ceremony.

To qualify for the State Seal of Biliteracy, a student must demonstrate proficiency in English by completing all English language arts graduation (ELA) requirements and passing the ELA section of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) at the “standard met” level or above.

Students must also demonstrate second-language proficiency by demonstrating oral proficiency in the language and passing an Advanced Placement exam with a score of ‘3’ or better, an International Baccalaureate exam with a ‘4’ score or better or by completing a four-year course of study in language with a 3.0 GPA or above. English learners also must demonstrate proficiency on the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC).

Summit High senior and District Board of Education student representative Julieta Gutierrez Martin was one of the hundreds of Fontana Unified students who received the Seal of Biliteracy.

“I believe that biliteracy and multilingualism are assets, in which the tool of language builds a bridge between quality communication and community,” Gutierrez Martin said. “Students should aspire to be bilingual because, in a world that is quickly evolving, biliteracy opens opportunities. The ability to fluently communicate in more than one language is not only a skill but also fosters connections between multiple groups of individuals.”

The District also encourages students to work toward the Fontana Unified Seal of Biliteracy. The District Seal is more rigorous, requiring students to complete 40 hours of community service in a bilingual setting, write an autobiography in their target language, and complete an interview in their target language.

“I applaud the students who have worked so hard to earn their Seal of Biliteracy,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Miki R. Inbody said. “This is a major step forward in their education and their lives that will open the doors of opportunity for them in college or their career. I want to thank all of our dedicated and hard-working administrators and teachers for their efforts to ensure our students are attaining their language goals.”