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Biliterate Students Shine

​Buen trabajo por 75 JUSD seniors who have earned the distinguished State Seal of Biliteracy.​

The seniors, from Jurupa Valley, Patriot and Rubidoux high schools, were honored April 13 at a Dual Immersion Showcase at Patriot High School.  Seventy-four of the teens received the state seal for proficiency in English and Spanish, and one received the seal for proficiency in English, Spanish and French.  Also honored were 85 sixth-graders and 30 eighth-graders, from myriad JUSD schools, on pace to receive the seal when they are graduating seniors. 

School board members Robert Garcia and Silvia Ortega, along with Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Paula Ford, attended the Saturday showcase to support the honorees, speak to students and families, and commend students and educators for learning without limits.

“I'm so proud that JUSD took the lead in Riverside County 12 years ago with Dual Immersion for our students, recognizing that it enhances the learning process, career opportunities, cross-cultural understanding, and improvement in communication skills," said Mr. Garcia, president of the Board of Education. 

Martha Gomez, Director of Language Services and Student Programs at Jurupa Unified, said of the DI Showcase: “It's a wonderful opportunity to value and highlight the various languages and cultures our district and community have to offer." 

The State Seal of Biliteracy, conferred by the California superintendent of public instruction, honors graduating seniors statewide who speak, read and write English and a second language with a high level of aptitude.

Students can earn the seal, first offered in 2012, by completing four years of coursework in a second language (including a proficiency demonstration) or by showing language expertise through the Scholastic Aptitude, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams.  The teens must also prove fluency in English.

In addition to recognizing recipients of the biliteracy seal, the JUSD Dual Immersion Showcase featured displays of student work, a visit by state Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, and a series of panels – led by students, parents and bilingual professionals – exploring facets of biliteracy. 

 “As the daughter of a first-grade dual immersion teacher, I know the many benefits a bilingual education can provide in expanding the world of opportunities in education, the workplace, and beyond," said Assemblywoman Cervantes.  “I was proud to meet the students, parents, and teachers of Jurupa Unified School District who are actively involved in strengthening these vital programs right here in our community."

At one of the panel discussions, James Marnell, college and career counselor at PHS, shared advice on college planning and explained the value of biliteracy in high-demand industries such as health care, hospitality and law enforcement.

The state biliteracy honor provides a signal to colleges and employers that students have the language skills to thrive in today's global job market, educators said.  Biliterate workers provide employers with versatility, paths around language barriers, and help with understanding a range of cultures. 

“It's a great honor to be part of this work and be able to provide our students the opportunity to be competitive in the global community we live in," Ms. Gomez said.

To the honorees and their families, felicidades por un trabajo bien hecho.