LKSD Seniors to be Awarded Seal of Biliteracy at Graduation

The Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) is pleased to announce that 16 Seniors will be awarded the Seal of Biliteracy during their graduation ceremonies in May. The Seal of Biliteracy is a new LKSD award given to students who meet proficiency standards in the Yup’ik and English languages. Each recipient will be awarded a medallion along with the Seal of Biliteracy stamp on the diploma, as well as a special notation on the transcript.

According to Cingarkaq Sheila Wallace, a secondary Yup’ik language instructor at LKSD, this will be the first time that an Indigenous Alaskan language has been recognized for this award through a rigorous written and oral proficiency assessment. Sheila and her team worked closely with Avant Assessment, a language proficiency testing organization, to develop Avant’s WorldSpeak assessment system for Yup’ik.

Students who score at the proficient level on the WorldSpeak Yugtun (Yup’ik) assessment and also on the English Language component of the Measure of Academic Progress assessment qualify for this prestigious award.

“Avant believes passionately that all multi-lingual students deserve the opportunity to earn the Seal of Biliteracy and showcase their language skills to schools and employers, no matter what their language may be,” said David Bong, CEO of Avant Assessment. “We’re proud to be working with LKSD to implement the first proficiency test for an Alaskan Native American language and to help provide this valuable learning experience for Yup’ik students.”

The Seal of Biliteracy is a growing national movement and has been adopted by 32 states. In most states, the Seal of Biliteracy is awarded for proficiency in high school world languages such as Spanish, German, and Chinese along with English. While Alaska does not yet have a statewide program of recognition, at least two districts in the state provide the Seal of Biliteracy. According to, “The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, district, or state in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.” Employers and college admission officers are increasingly giving recognition to the biliteracy achievement of young scholars across the US.

Dan Walker, LKSD Superintendent, expressed his excitement about the Seal of Biliteracy program that has been initiated in LKSD. “The development of the Seal of Biliteracy in the Yup’ik language is a testament to the on-going commitment of our district to maintaining the local language and the decades of district-developed programs and instructional materials to make this a reality. I am so very proud of our students who have achieved this landmark”.

The Seniors who will be recognized at the 2018 Graduation ceremonies are:

  • Carletta Pavilla, Atmautluak
  • Robert Strunk, Atmautluak
  • Martin Alexie-Leonard, BRHS
  • Martha Andrew, BRHS
  • Ray Daniel, BRHS
  • Alaina Tinker, Kasigluk-Akiuk
  • Kurt Andrew, Kwigillingok
  • Christina Daniel, Kwigillingok
  • Jaylon John, Kwigillingok
  • Dennis Panruk, Chefornak
  • Charity Maxie, Napaskiak
  • Aisha Boyscout, Newtok
  • Jordyn Daniel, Tuntutuliak
  • Krystal Frank, Tuntutuliak
  • Christiana Friendly, Tuntutuliak
  • Jesse Wassilie, Tuntutuliak

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