New Paltz High School Receives Seal of Biliteracy Badge and Special “Gold-Veteran” Distinction
NEW PALTZ–New Paltz High School (NPHS) is proud to announce its receipt of the “Gold-Veteran” award for participation in the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) program. New this year, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) is awarding “Gold-Veteran” badges to schools that have offered the Seal of Biliteracy for five or more years, and NPHS has offered the program since 2016. The new distinction was designed to mark an impressive milestone of progress to complement its annual recognition badge.
The NYSSB recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in English and one or more World Languages. New Paltz Central School District (NPCSD) offers a robust World Languages program that begins in elementary school, enabling students to take university-level language classes after completing middle school. High school students studying language may earn college credits in French and Spanish through a partnership with the State University of New York at New Paltz. NPHS language classes are offered based on student enrollment and have included Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Russian. Currently, there are 344 students enrolled in Spanish classes, 25 students enrolled in French, and three students enrolled in both languages.
According to NYSED, the intent of the NYSSB is to encourage the study of languages, identify high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers, provide universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission and placement, prepare students with contemporary skills, recognize the value of language instruction, and affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society.
The NYSSB provides a seal for the student's diploma and a medallion for them to proudly wear at graduation.
Coordinator of Secondary Student Support Services Alexandra MacKinnon has supported the NYSSB program since its inception and believes that the District’s World Languages program is strong, thanks to the commitment of passionate staff and student participants. “Our engagement with the NYSSB program began with its inception before many districts were aware of the benefits of participation, and our students are the benefactors. The gift of multilingualism is quite an achievement,” MacKinnon said. She also credits the efforts of NPHS World Languages educator, Rod Castro, for the impressive consistency of NYSSB student-participants every year. Mackinnon notes, “Rod is an outstanding member of our faculty and a true mentor to our students.”
“Colleges and workplaces are now looking at a bilingual or multilingual individual as being an extremely valuable asset to the organization,” NPCSD Superintendent Angela Urbina-Medina said, adding that the appearance of the NYSSB seal on a diploma informs a college or workplace organization that the individual has the knowledge, language, and ability to navigate discussions with a diverse group of people. “We are proud to have this opportunity available to our students.”