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Biliteracy award opportunity made available to students

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Instructor Gallegos-Haynes teaches students verb conjugation.

Instructor Gallegos-Haynes teaches students verb conjugation.

Scout Perryman

Scout Perryman

Instructor Gallegos-Haynes teaches students verb conjugation.

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With this fast-paced and highly competitive world, it is advantageous to be looking for all different ways to get a leg up wherever possible.

To give students more advantages for when they start their professional lives, instructor Lora Gallegos-Haynes has been advocating for a biliteracy award and starting a chapter of the Foreign Language National Honor Society.

“Biliteracy is something that the Kansas Department of Education has urged schools to consider for their students,” Gallegos-Haynes said. “I have talked with administration about offering the Biliteracy Seal for graduating students and starting a Foreign Language National Honor Society chapter.”

For students to be eligible for the Biliteracy Seal, they must be considered biliterate in English and another language. Literacy is defined as reading, writing and speaking two languages well, according to Gallegos-Haynes.

If a student is considered biliterate, at graduation they will get a seal on their diploma and a medal to wear with their cap and gown.

The requirements for determining a student biliterate varies from state to state. However, Gallegos-Haynes believes the Kansas Department of Education will use the English portion of the ACT to test for English literacy and the Seal of Biliteracy organization’s test for literacy in Spanish.

“Students must pass both tests with an intermediate to mid-level proficiency,” Gallegos-Haynes said. “This is equivalent to level two and level three language classes.”

In addition to the Biliteracy Seal, Gallegos-Haynes said the Foreign Language National Honor Society would be very similar to our school’s national honor society.

“Members would have some community service and some projects and things they could do to help the community,” Gallegos-Haynes said. “They would just focus more on non-English speaking areas of the community or at offices translating paper work.”

Hays High would be the first school in Kansas to get a FLNHS chapter if it gets approved by administration.

“We are shooting to get this program out before the 2018 graduation,” Gallegos-Haynes said. “I have to have all the information put in by March.”

Gallegos-Haynes encourages any level three or level four students of Spanish, German or Latin or ESL students if they are comfortable enough with the English to look into the Biliteracy Seal and FLNHS.

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