History and Purpose
The Seal of Biliteracy |ALTA Program at the Bulgarian School of Seattle provides positive recognition of the value of the Bulgarian language and increases students’ pride in and appreciation for their cultural strength. Through this program, students who speak, understand, read, and write Bulgarian language are able to receive up to four high school credits—the equivalent of four years of language study—by passing ALTA language proficiency assessments, administered by the Bulgarian School of Seattle nationwide. This program was initiated by the founder and principal of the Bulgarian School of Seattle – Angela Hasheva, and first recognized by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in 2013.
As off today …
ALTA has been approved by the Seal of Biliteracy Advisory Committees in many of the following states:
The results received from ALTA assessments are used by businesses, government, and the military agencies, providing to the candidates additional monetary benefits in their job placement.
The Seal of Biliteracy | ALTA Program at the Bulgarian School of Seattle includes the following activities:
The Seal of Biliteracy | ALTA Program at the Bulgarian School of Seattle addresses specific needs:
- To honor and validate students’ heritage language and the language of their families
- To provide opportunities for fluent and literate speakers to receive high school credit for their knowledge of Bulgarian language
- To open up opportunities for students to access core subject credits required for graduation
- To prepare bilingual students for future career opportunities in private industry and to meet government needs for skilled bilingual speakers
- To motivate students to take advanced courses in Bulgarian language at their schools, in college or at ethnic community centers
General Preface to ACTFL Proficiency Standards
The American Concil on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines are a description of what individuals can do with language in terms of speaking, writing, listening, and reading in real-world situations in a spontaneous and non-rehearsed context. For each skill, these guidelines identify five major levels of proficiency: Distinguished, Superior, Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice. The major levels Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice are subdivided into High, Mid, and Low sublevels. The levels of the ACTFL Guidelines describe the continuum of proficiency from that of the highly articulate, well-educated language user to a level of little or no functional ability.
These Guidelines present the levels of proficiency as ranges, and describe what an individual can and cannot do with language at each level, regardless of where, when, or how the language was acquired. Together these levels form a hierarchy in which each level subsumes all lower levels. The Guidelines are not based on any particular theory, pedagogical method, or educational curriculum. They neither describe how an individual learns a language nor prescribe how an individual should learn a language, and they should not be used for such purposes. They are an instrument for the evaluation of functional language ability.
Performance Expectations at the Bulgarian School of Seattle
The Common Core State Standards for Bulgarian Language contains four strands: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. These four strands are represented in the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages by the Communication standards (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) and the level of proficiency demonstrated. In addition, the standards of the other four goals areas for learning languages – Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities – also support and are aligned with the Common Core. These standards describe the expectations to ensure all Bulgarian heritage language students are college-, career-, and world-ready.
Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening are captured in the standards for learning languages’ goal area of Communication, by emphasizing the purpose behind the communication:
- Interpersonal (speaking-listening or writing-reading)
- Interpretive (reading, listening, viewing)
- Presentational (writing, speaking, visually representing)
Language is described in proficiency levels that outline three key benchmarks achieved in world language programs given sufficient instruction over time:
- Novice (the beginning level, regardless of age or grade)
Does the Seal of Biliteracy |ALTA Program provide students the opportunity to earn the necessary credits for graduation and college eligibility?
We examine students’ records for the grade 9-12 students who took the ALTA assessments in 2013/2014/2015/2016/2017 & 2018 and determine that students had met their district’s expectations for adequate progress and credit accrual toward graduation requirements and are eligible for a four-year college in the USA.
Will the Bulgarian School of Seattle Sustain the Seal of Biliteracy |ALTA Program?
The school administration is optimistic they could find ways to continue funding the Seal of Biliteracy for Heritage Students |ALTA Program, which they felt was a great benefit to their students and community. However, it would not be possible without support to deliver the great value of this program to our students. If you find yourself as passionate for the Bulgarian language heritage preservation and its place in the New World frontiers, we invite you to join us and contribute on our donation page here. Resources developed as part of this support will be used to expand opportunities for Bulgarian competency-based credits throughout all States in America.
If you have questions, contact the Bulgarian School Administration: firstname.lastname@example.org
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