The Jose Marti Foundation and the Hispanic Education Coalition have awarded Osceola County School Board Member Kelvin Soto with the Seal of Biliteracy Leadership Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership in strengthening and providing support to the expansions of bilingual skills among students, staff, and the community. Soto brought the Seal of Biliteracy to the state by encouraging Osceola to be the first school district in Florida to adopt the program, which recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of competency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.
Currently the district is in its third year of offering students the Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal is awarded upon graduation to high school students who:
• Complete the English requirements for graduation with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above;
• Pass the statewide standardized assessment in reading administered in high school at Level 4 or above; and
• Successfully complete four credits of sequential high school world language instruction, and attain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and demonstrated competency in one or more languages other than English through one of the following:
--Passed a World Language International Baccalaureate examination
--Passed a World Language Advanced Placement examination.
Over the last two years, the district has awarded 60 Seals of Biliteracy to graduating seniors. The Seal of Biliteracy program provides employers with a method to identify graduates who have languages and biliteracy skills, recognize and promote World Language instruction in public schools, affirm the value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and languages within our Osceola community.
"We live in an exciting time in history, where the world connects like never before," said Kelvin Soto, Osceola County School Board Member. "Information, from many different sources, is at our fingertips for us to learn, utilize and enjoy. International trade has transformed our country into a global economic leader. And that is why we want our children, from an early age, to understand and communicate in a foreign language. Foreign language instruction is a necessary investment for our country's future and we should work towards implementing that in our elementary and secondary schools."