Two dozen JHS seniors earn Seal of Biliteracy

Johnston recipients of the 2024 Seal of Biliteracy (Facebook Post) 3JOHNSTON, Ia. (March 28, 2024) — Twenty-four Johnston High School seniors will be honored at graduation this year for earning the Seal of Biliteracy in one of nine languages: Spanish, Japanese, Bosnian, Burmese, Tigrinya, Amharic, Arabic, French or Chin Mizo.

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school district to recognize students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages, one of which is English, by high school graduation. This distinction has been available in the state of Iowa since 2018.

About 177 languages are spoken in Iowa, including 63 within the Johnston Community School District.

JHS seniors receiving this distinction are (first row): Abigail Wharton- Spanish, Afomia Gebremedhin- Tigrinya and Amharic, Audrey Allen- Spanish, Ava Thornton- French, Benjamin Couvillon- Spanish, Courtney Sweet- Spanish.

(Second row) Dima Alqaysi- Arabic, Casper Flaherty- Spanish, Ellen Upper- Spanish, Erika Serrano- Spanish, Fabian Avalos Hernandez- Spanish, Faith Kreps- Spanish.

(Third row) Grace Black- Spanish, Jackson Lansink- Spanish, Laura Thangi- Chin Mizo, Aki Ceradsky- Japanese, Malswm Dawngi- Chin Mizo, Maria Rivera Hurtado- Spanish.

(Fourth row) Megan Ostrander- Spanish, Olivia Verde- Spanish, Sejla Goretic- Bosnian, Susan Par- Burmese, Wendy Escalante-Gomez- Spanish, Yvett Suarez- Spanish.

Because the Seal of Biliteracy is awarded upon graduation, some of these students may have taken the assessment in a previous year, as underclassmen.

This year’s Seal of Biliteracy assessment

In the 2023-2024 school year, 43 Johnston students took the Seal of Biliteracy assessment (STAMP or Alternate Seal of Biiteracy for languages not available via STAMP).

Of those, 29 students (or 67.4%) earned the Seal of Biliteracy in one of nine languages:

    • Bosnian- 3 students
    • Burmese- 1 student
    • Chinese- 2 students
    • Amharic/Tigrinya- 1 student (earned in both languages and is an EL!)
    • French- 2 students
    • Japanese- 1 student
    • Spanish- 17 students
    • Turkish- 1 student