Return to Headlines

Students Gain Global Skills Through Access to World Languages

Yurida LopezWhen Yuridia Lopez received a package in the mail, the last thing she expected to see was a gold Nebraska Seal of Biliteracy medal with her name on it.
“I was honestly shocked,” said Lopez, a Central High senior. “I think it's such a beautiful thing, and it reminds me of what type of student I am.”

Lopez earned the award for proficiency in two languages – English and Spanish. She is among more than 75 students from Omaha Public Schools who earned such recognition this school year.

Nebraska awards the Seal of Biliteracy to students proficient in speaking, reading and writing in English and one or more other world languages. The award is also available to English learners who develop academic proficiency in their home language while also mastering English.
“We’re always trying to promote multilingualism in our schools,” said Hannah Julia Paredes Kilnoski, Omaha Public Schools dual language and world languages teaching and learning consultant. “Knowing and mastering a world language empowers our students to go even further.”
At South High, senior Litzy Ortega Quinonez also received a Nebraska Seal of Biliteracy for proficiency in English and Spanish.
“I was motivated to advance my Spanish so I could be closer to my family and especially my culture,” said Ortega Quinonez. “It is an honor to have received my Seal of Biliteracy. It means that my endeavors for the past four years have paid off, and I now have the ability to communicate in two languages fluently.”

Students who meet the requirements earn a gold seal on their high school diploma, and their transcripts note the achievement. Lopez and Ortega Quinonez say the advanced courses offered at Omaha Public Schools sharpened their overall communication skills, which will help them in college and the workplace.

“I think it’s great exposure, and I think it will benefit me a lot when I become an EMT,” said Lopez.

“The Seal of Biliteracy will help me in the future to widen the opportunities that come my way,” added Ortega Quinonez.

The Nebraska Seal of Biliteracy is one of several advanced academic opportunities available to Omaha Public Schools students. Others include Cambridge International and International Baccalaureate diplomas, Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment.

February 2024

Read more District News