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Peggy Boynton presented and served as a panelist at the Alabama World Languages Association Workshop. She is assisting school districts with A Seal of Biliteracy. CONTRIBUTED

Boynton champions languages with ‘A Seal of Biliteracy’

MADISON – Peggy Boynton was invited to present and serve as a panelist at the Alabama World Languages Association Workshop.

Boynton teaches German classes at James Clemens High School. A Seal of Biliteracy is both an award and an official certification of skill, not just knowledge.

The workshop, “The New Alabama Seal of Biliteracy: Language Study Rising,” was held on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College in September. Boynton participated in the panel, “Existing Alabama Seal of Biliteracy Programs.”

The panel’s three teachers from across Alabama have been running programs at their respective schools for students to earn a Seal of Biliteracy. The teachers presented for 10 minutes and then answered the audience’s questions.

“I spoke about the importance of engaging support from all community stakeholders (parents, students, administrators, counselors and faculty) in building up a program and about the finer details involved in effectively building a school-based team for running the program,” Boynton said.

An individual can use this certification as evidence of language skills to future employers. “Every day, more and more colleges and universities are awarding college credit to students for evidence of their language skills. Students gain confidence in their abilities because groups are measuring them outside the home and/or classroom,” Boynton said.

“Peggy Boynton helped bring the Seal of Biliteracy program to Madison City Schools,” MCS Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said. “I’m so proud of the work she has done in our district and now the support she is providing to others as they seek to establish a similar program.”

“Both Bob Jones and James Clemens have been graduating seniors with a Seal of Biliteracy since May 2019. We have awarded 213 seals in 15 languages: French, German, Latin, Spanish, Arabic, Dutch, Hindi, Gujarati, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Telugu and Turkish,” Boynton said.

At home, MCS students speak 60 languages.

The governor signed House Bill 46 in April 2022. The MCS Seal of Biliteracy is available to students until the state seal is finalized.

MCS’ pathway to proficiency includes pre-K through fifth-grade students, introduction to Spanish-speaking world; sixth- through eighth-graders, survey classes in French, German, Latin, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish; eighth-graders, level one; and high school, enroll in French, German, Latin or Spanish through level 5.

“By becoming proficient in another language, you become a stronger listener, speaker, reader and writer,” Boynton said. “You also develop empathy for others.”

For more information, visit sealofbiliteracy.org.

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