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MPS Seal of Biliteracy celebrates student language proficiency

Seal of Biliteracy Schools BannerMPS high school students can now earn the Seal of Biliteracy! After several years of planning, design, and approval along with an extensive pilot program, MPS is rolling out this recognition for high school students.

The Seal of Biliteracy is awarded to high school seniors who successfully complete criteria related to English language proficiency and show a high degree of proficiency in a second language. It can be earned by native speakers of English or native speakers of about 20 different world languages.

The program went through several cycles of modifications that ultimately resulted in approval by the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). This spring, a group of graduating seniors from the class of 2020 became the first recipients of the Seal after completing criteria through the pilot program.

Accomplishing the Seal requires multiple years of work, so interested students should explore the program in their freshman year. Required components are extensive and involve proficiency in English and a second language, as detailed below.

English language proficiency: A qualifying score on the ACT, ACT Aspire, the ACTFL through the Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages, selected Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams, or the ACCESS test for English Learner students.

Demonstration of proficiency in a second language includes: A qualifying score on an approved exam such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages, OR qualifying coursework in science or social studies taught in a language other than English, OR qualifying scores on the Low Incidence Partner Language Rubric.

Sociocultural competency: Students must also participate in a predetermined number of cultural activities, clubs, workshops, and/or conferences; students are evaluated through a written essay, presentation, or interview.

Upon graduation, students who successfully earn the Seal receive a special Seal of Biliteracy certificate issued by DPI and a lapel pin signifying their completion of the program. The accomplishment is also added to the student’s high school transcript.

Interested students should contact their world language teacher or school counselor.

The Seal of Biliteracy is currently available in 14 MPS schools, with more schools preparing to add the program.

  • Audubon High School
  • Bay View High School
  • Golda Meir
  • Hamilton High School
  • Rufus King High School
  • Milwaukee Marshall High School
  • Milwaukee High School of the Arts
  • Milwaukee School of Languages
  • Pulaski High School
  • Riverside High School
  • Reagan High School
  • South Division High School
  • Vincent High School
  • Washington High School


Stephen Davis, Media Relations Manager
(414) 475-8675
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Milwaukee Public Schools is committed to accelerating student achievement, building positive relationships between youth and adults and cultivating leadership at all levels. The district’s commitment to improvement continues to show results:

  • Ninety-four percent of 2022-23 budget dollars go to support schools;
  • The MPS Class of 2023 earned $121 million in scholarships and grants; and
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