Four Nevada High School students had an extra-special designation on the diploma they received Sunday.

Rowan Huegerich, Jacque Murphy, Jada Stinn and Nathan Tanner were the first Nevada graduates to earn the Seal of Biliteracy as they graduated from high school.

Nevada High School instructor Kimberly Huegerich explained that there are currently 36 states and Washington, D.C., that award the Seal of Biliteracy. “Implementation started in 2011 in California. Iowa just passed legislation about a year ago to begin implementation and start awarding the Seal of Biliteracy this year.”

Huegerich said the effort to award the seal in Iowa has taken seven years, led by the Iowa World Language Association. It was initiated when Huegerich served on this state board.

Nevada High School chose to use the Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) test and the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) test to validate the skills of Spanish and English, respectively.

“Students need to show proficiency on the ISASP test and score ‘Intermediate Mid’ on the STAMP test,” she said. “The proficiency levels and indicators are set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL).”

When it comes to how this Seal will help the students who receive it, Huegerich said she believes the ability to know and use more than one language is a critical skill for the 21st century.

NHS students receiving seal of biliteracy awards“Proficiency is the ability to function in a language at a high degree of competence. The Seal of Biliteracy is a prestigious award from the Iowa State Board of Education that recognizes a student’s high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, listening and writing in English and one or more world languages. High school students who can function in two or more languages are equipped with the knowledge and skills to participate successfully in college, careers and a diverse 21st-century society.”

Earning the Seal of Biliteracy is a nationally recognized honor. All Nevada students taking Spanish IV at Nevada High School will have the opportunity to be assessed for the Seal.

Several junior students have already earned the designation and were recognized during the high school’s recent awards ceremony. Students already guaranteed to have the Seal on their diploma next year are Reagan Chitty, Arthur Hanson and Ben Rima.

Originally posted on the Nevada Journal.