Seal of Biliteracy New York opens opportunities for Rochester high school students


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — One school in the city of Rochester is preparing their students for further academic, economic and social opportunities by offering a certificate of biliteracy.

Illianis Cornier earned her seal of biliteracy this past June at James Monroe High School in Rochester. Cornier said obtaining the seal has prepared her for what’s next in her life.She is now earning a nursing degree at St. John Fisher College.

“Just to be better at my job.  Because having two languages and just helping other people that might not know speak English or may not speak Spanish, and I can just help them,” said Cornier. 

The seal of biliteracy is earned by students who reach the highest proficiency level in two languages. Since 2018, James High School has been navigating and implementing the program.

“Having the right people in the right place. Everyone creates that culture that every student who wants in that place. programming definitely is and consistency,” said Sandra Chevalier-Blackman, Principal. 

“We project to continue to have more and more graduates,” said Anthony Rodriguez, Assistant Principal. “If you come to Monroe in 9th grade, and you want this, we’re going to make sure you get the classes built into your schedule that will prepare you to graduate with the seal of biliteracy.” 

Recent Valedictorian Chane’l Giddens, also earned her seal before graduating in June. Giddens is the first non-Spanish speaking student to earn it. She is now studying biomedical science at rit.

“When I began to go through my high school years, I realized, hey, I could use this to my advantage. Obtain my seal of biliteracy from this still be able to engage with my teammates, my friends and everyone around me,” said Giddens. 

Giddens said she is proof, you can do anything you set your mind to. 

The Rochester City School District said, in addition to Monroe’s 16 students who graduated with the seal of biliteracy in June, there were five students at East High, three at Integrated Arts and Technology high school and three at the School of the Arts. 

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