Lost in Translation

IPS struggles to bridge the gap with language learners and their families

PHOTO: Matt Detrich / Indianapolis Star
Teacher Eddie Rangel at IPS Key Learning Community School.

Eddie Rangel wasn’t about to let 6-year-old Maite duck her real name, although she cowered with embarrassment at his Mexican pronunciation of her name as “My-tay.”

The teacher, who is half Mexican, understood that Maite wanted to Americanize her name to fit in with her peers, but he wouldn’t let up.

Then, suddenly, Maite turned the question back on him: Could she call him by his real name? Mr. “Ron-hel?”

The question forever changed Rangel’s Key Learning Community classroom: All of his students now use the Mexican pronunciation of his name, he’s made his curriculum more culturally sensitive and he’s making a better effort to communicate with his students’ Spanish-speaking parents.

Now, Indianapolis Public Schools is embarking on its own rethinking of the way it assists students who are still learning English. The district plans to train educators to use better strategies in the classroom to help English learners and to improve communication with and support for its growing population of immigrant families. Efforts are also underway to increase the diversity of IPS’ teaching staff.

Jessica Feeser, IPS’ new director of education for English language learners, said the changes are needed to reverse a troubling trend: The students are falling behind their peers.

Data source: Indiana Department of Education
Credits: Sarah Glen/Chalkbeat

Just 43 percent of the district’s English learners passed ISTEP last year — 10 percentage points behind their peers. The graduation rate for English language learners last year was more than 7 percentage points worse than the district’s 71 percent average. And 15 of the 25 IPS schools with the largest gains in enrollment of English learners since 2006 earned a grade of C or lower from the state last year.

“We can’t wait until tomorrow or the next day to make things happen,” Feeser said. “They’re working twice as hard. That means as teachers, we need to work twice as hard.”

But the sharp growth of English language learners at IPS — enrollment has nearly tripled since 2001 to almost 5,000 students this year — has led to challenges that district officials say are hard to overcome.

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PHOTO: Tricia Frye / IPS
This map shows the explosive growth over time of Hispanic students in IPS schools. IPS’s Hispanic population has grown by more than 17 times what it was 23 years ago. Source: Tricia Frye / IPS

 

Few teachers have the kinds of ethnic connections with students that Rangel does, and parents say the district’s communication with non-English-speaking parents is poor. And until now, only English as a new language teachers have explicit training and charge to serve students who are learning English.

Better training for better teaching

That will soon change, Feeser said, and many more teachers will know how to tailor their instruction for students who are learning English.

“Coloring worksheets at the high school level are not going to get our children prepared for college and careers,” Feeser said.

There’s nothing mean-spirited about the way things have worked at IPS, Feeser said. But helping kids learn English was seen as somebody else’s responsibility. Teachers didn’t feel they had the tools to meet the students’ needs.

This summer, IPS will launch its first district-wide effort to train general education teachers in strategies to specifically reach English learners. It’s starting with two high schools — Northwest and George Washington — where teachers will learn about “sheltered” instruction, in which they cover all of the same Indiana standards but use different lessons for language learners. For example, a sheltered lesson on comparing and contrasting text might use a city bus route instead of Shakespeare.

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Javier Barrera, a 2003 Northwest High School graduate and advocate for undocumented youth who came to the U.S. as a teen from Mexico, said the new techniques are desperately needed.

“They assumed that because we were immigrant students and we were not English speakers that it wasn’t even worth it to invest time and resources into us,” Barrera said of his experience in IPS.

Parents say communication is lacking

When Rangel realized the key to helping Logan, a boy learning English, succeed in his class was a frank conversation with his mother, he was determined that their language barrier not hold them back.

“He’s got a bright future,” said Rangel, a Teach Plus fellow who came to IPS through Teach For America. “He’s getting a B and he’s an A student.”

Slowly, they began to work together to keep track of Logan’s needs despite his limited Spanish and her limited English. Recently, she came in for a parent-teacher conference without a translator.

“I had my broken Spanish, and she had her broken English, and we met in the middle,” Rangel said. “It was the truest form of a dialogue, and we were helping each other.”

But some parents say that level of outreach is rare in IPS.

School 88 parent Evelyn Barreuto, a Spanish speaker, said she has struggled to track the progress of her three children — Isaac, Benjamin and Belen. Through an interpreter, she said she is concerned about the lack of resources for Spanish-speaking parents.

Barreuto said there’s little to no translation help. She mainly relies on her children, who are fluent in English, or an interpreter from Stand for Children, a group that advocates for change in IPS, to keep her informed.

“I can understand a little English, not a lot, I know, but I have never let that stop me from communicating with teachers and the principal,” Barreuto said.

School board President Diane Arnold said the district needs to do better.

“You can’t have people be part of the process if they can’t fully participate,” Arnold said.

Feeser said she wants to increase efforts to connect with IPS’s non-English speaking community.

In January she invited English language teachers, translators, community centers, faith-based groups, charter schools, immigration attorneys and local businesses together with the goal of trying to connect IPS families to resources they might not have realized existed.

“I see our schools as the heart and soul of the community,” Feeser said. “If students are in an emotionally happy place — they’ve got their basic health care needs met, they’ve got full bellies and a warm place to sleep — we know they’re going to come back to school and be ready to learn.”

Trying to recruit more diverse educators

The lack of diversity in the district’s workforce has become more glaring as its student population changes.

More than 23 percent of IPS students are Hispanic, but only about 2 percent of the district’s teachers are, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

Data source: Indiana Department of Education
Credits: Sarah Glen/Chalkbeat

And the district had just a single Latino school administrator — until it laid him off last year.

The decision to lay off Joel Muñoz, an assistant principal at George Washington High School,  did not go over well in the Hispanic community. He had just been a finalist for a statewide leadership award but was let go along with 23 others because of the district’s new strategy for letting new principals pick their own assistants.

“That was a bad situation,” Arnold said. “I think he was a good guy and he seemed to be doing good work.”

After Muñoz left the district — he ended up taking a principal job in Pike Township and did not respond to a request for comment  — IPS said it would embark on a variety of initiatives to increase the diversity of its staff, including hiring a district recruiter.

IPS is not alone in struggling to recruit a diverse teaching staff. Bilingual teachers are in demand across Marion County and beyond, Arnold said, because school districts have recognized that students thrive when they have mentors who share their experiences.

Arnold said IPS has a hard time recruiting those candidates because of its low pay.

“They can pretty much write their ticket to any district,” she said.

The benefits of increasing staff diversity in IPS are clear to Rangel.

A shy Latino boy in his class suddenly spoke up one day after Rangel had his class read “Esperanza Rising,” a novel about a girl struggling to adapt to life in America after she moves from Mexico during the Great Depression.

“He … starts telling us his story about coming to America,” Rangel said, “Hiding from scary men and how his mom had to leave him behind with his grandparents in Mexico, and then he came later. He still has an older brother there.”

This was, Rangel realized, a breakthrough moment.

“He said ‘I knew you’re Mexican, so you’d be OK with me sharing,’” Rangel said. “I think (my students) are less afraid to take risks, and as an adult I realize that those are the things that make or break you.”

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Thanks to LUNA for providing the translation for this series.
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IPS (Escuelas Públicas de Indianapolis, por sus siglas en inglés) lucha con problemas para cerrar la brecha entre aprendices de idioma y sus familias

El distrito se está embarcando en esfuerzos para repasar sus servicios para niños que están aprendiendo a hablar Ingles

Eddie Rangel no estaba dispuesto a dejar a Maite, de 6 años de edad, agacharse por su nombre real, aunque se llenaba con vergüenza a la pronunciación mexicana de su nombre, “My-tay.”

El maestro, quien es mitad mexicano, entendió que Maite quería americanizar su nombre para encajar con sus compañeros, pero él no permitiría.

De repente, Maite le regreso la pregunta diciéndole: Puedo llamarlo por su nombre real? Mr. “Ron-hel?”

La pregunta cambió las Claves de Aprendizaje de Comunidad del salón de Rangel: todos sus estudiantes ahora usan la pronunciación mexicana de su nombre, ha cambiado su plan de estudios a ser más sentible culturalmente y está haciendo un mejor esfuerzo para comunicarse con los padres de sus estudiantes que hablan español.

Ahora, las Escuelas Públicas de Indianápolis se están embarcando en su propio replanteamiento de tal forma en que ayuden a los estudiantes que todavía están aprendiendo inglés. El distrito tiene previsto capacitar a los educadores a utilizar mejores estrategias en el aula para ayudar a los estudiantes de inglés y para mejorar la comunicación y el apoyo a su creciente población de las familias inmigrantes. También se está trabajando para aumentar la diversidad del personal docente a IPS.

Jessica Feeser, nueva directora de educación para los estudiantes del idioma Inglés de IPS, dijo que se necesitan los cambios para revertir una tendencia preocupante: Los estudiantes se están quedando atrasado de sus otros compañeros.

El año pasado, solo el 43 por ciento de los estudiantes de inglés del distrito, pasaron el ISTEP – 10 puntos de porcentaje más atrás que sus compañeros. El promedio de graduación de los estudiantes aprendiendo el Ingles fue más de 7 puntos de porcentaje, peor que el promedio de 71% del distrito. Y 15 de las 25 IPS escuelas con la mayor ganancia en inscripciones de los estudiantes que aprenden inglés desde el 2006 obtuvo una calificación de C o menos que el promedio estatal del año pasado.

“No podemos esperar hasta mañana o al día siguiente para hacer que las cosas sucedan”, dijo Feeser. “Están trabajando el doble de duro. Eso significa que como maestros, tenemos que trabajar el doble”.

Pero el fuerte crecimiento de los estudiantes del idioma Inglés a IPS – las inscripciones casi se han triplicado desde el año 2001 a casi 5.000 estudiantes este año – ha llevado a los desafíos que los funcionarios del distrito dicen que son difíciles de superar.

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PHOTO: Tricia Frye / IPS
This map shows the explosive growth over time of Hispanic students in IPS schools. IPS’s Hispanic population has grown by more than 17 times what it was 23 years ago. Source: Tricia Frye / IPS

Pocos maestros tienen los tipos de conexiones étnicas con los estudiantes como la que tiene Rangel, y los padres dicen que la comunicación del distrito con los padres que no hablan inglés, es pobre. Y hasta ahora, sólo profesores de Inglés-como-nuevo-idioma tienen una formación explícita y se encargan de atender a los estudiantes que están aprendiendo inglés.

Mejor entrenamiento para mejor enseñanza

Eso cambiará pronto, Feeser dijo, y muchos más maestros sabrán cómo adaptar su instrucción para los estudiantes que están aprendiendo inglés.

“Colorear hojas de trabajo a nivel de preparatoria no va a hacer que nuestros hijos estén preparados para la universidad ni carreras”, dijo Feeser.

No hay nada mal intencional sobre cómo han trabajado cosas en IPS, dijo Feeser. Pero ayudar a los niños a aprender inglés fue visto como la responsabilidad de otra persona. Los maestros se sintieron que no tenían las herramientas para satisfacer las necesidades de los estudiantes.

Este verano, IPS lanzará su primer esfuerzo en todo el distrito para capacitar a maestros de educación general en las estrategias para llegar específicamente a los estudiantes de inglés. Está empezando con dos escuelas secundarias – Northwest y George Washington – donde los maestros aprenderán acerca de la instrucción “protegida”, en el que se cubren todos los mismos estándares de Indiana, pero utilizan diferentes lecciones para estudiantes de idiomas. Por ejemplo, una lección de texto protegida en comparación y contraste, se podría utilizar una ruta de autobús de la ciudad en vez de Shakespeare.

Javier Barrera, un graduado, en el 2003, de la Secundaria Northwest aboga por jóvenes indocumentados que llegaron a los EE.UU. de México como adolescentes, dijo que se necesitan desesperadamente las nuevas técnicas.

“Ellos asumieron que porque éramos estudiantes inmigrantes y que no hablábamos inglés, que no valía la pena invertir tiempo y recursos en nosotros,” dijo Barrera de su experiencia en IPS.

Los padres dicen que hay falta de comunicación

Cuando Rangel se dio cuenta que la clave para ayudar a Logan, un niño aprendiendo inglés, a triunfar en su clase era una franca conversación con su madre, él se determinó a que su barrera de lenguaje no fuera impedimento para detenerlos.

“Tiene un futuro brillante,” dijo Rangel, un compañero de Tech Plus que vino a IPS a través de Tech por América. “Está recibiendo una B y él es un estudiante de A.”

Poco a poco, comenzaron a trabajar juntos para realizar un seguimiento de las necesidades de Logan a pesar de su limitado español y su limitado Inglés de ella. Recientemente, ella fue a una conferencia de padres y maestros sin un traductor.

“Yo tenía mi mal-español, y ella tenía su mal-ingles, y nos encontramos a la mitad del camino”, dijo Rangel. “Era la forma más interesante de un diálogo, y nos estábamos ayudando el uno a al otro.”

Sin embargo, algunos padres dicen que el nivel de alcance es raro en IPS.

La madre, Evelyn Barreuto, de la Escuela 88 una hispano hablante, dijo que ha tenido problemas para seguir el progreso de sus tres hijos – Isaac, Benjamín y Belén. A través de un intérprete, dijo que está preocupada por la falta de recursos para padres de habla hispana.

Barreuto dijo que hay poca o ninguna ayuda de la traducción. Ella se basa principalmente en sus hijos, que tienen fluidez en Inglés, o un intérprete de ‘Stand for Children’, un grupo que aboga por el cambio en el IPS, para mantenerla informada.

“Puedo entender un poco de Inglés, no mucho, lo sé, pero nunca he dejado que me impida la comunicación con los maestros y el director,” dijo Barreuto.

La presidente de la junta escolar Diane Arnold dijo que el distrito tiene que mejorar.

“No se puede tener a la gente a ser parte del proceso si no pueden participar plenamente”, dijo Arnold.
Feeser dijo que quiere aumentar los esfuerzos para conectarse con la comunidad de habla no-Inglés de IPS.

En enero invitó a profesores del idioma Inglés, traductores, centros comunitarios, grupos religiosos, escuelas privilegiadas, abogados de inmigración y las empresas locales, junto con el objetivo de tratar de conectar a las familias de IPS a los recursos que tal vez no se han dado cuenta que existían.

“Veo a nuestras escuelas como el corazón y el alma de la comunidad”, dijo Feeser. “Si los estudiantes están en un lugar emocionalmente feliz – tienen sus necesidades básicas de atención medica reunidas, ellos tienen el estómago lleno y un lugar cálido para dormir – sabemos que van a volver a la escuela y estarán dispuestos a aprender”.

Intentando reclutar más educadores diversos

La falta de diversidad en la fuerza laboral del distrito se ha vuelto más evidente ya que la población estudiantil ha cambiado.

Más del 23 por ciento de los estudiantes de IPS son hispanos, pero sólo alrededor del 2 por ciento de los maestros del distrito son hispanos, según el Departamento de Educación de Indiana.

Y el distrito tenía un solo latino como administrador de escuela – hasta que lo despidieron el año pasado

La decisión de despedir a Joel Muñoz, subdirector de la Secundaria George Washington, no le cayó bien a la comunidad hispana. Acababa de ser finalista para un premio de liderazgo en todo el estado, pero fue despedido junto con otros 23 debido a la nueva estrategia del distrito por permitirme a nuevos directores escogen sus propios asistentes.

“Esa fue una mala situación”, dijo Arnold. “Creo que era un buen chico y él parecía estar haciendo un buen trabajo.”

Después de que Muñoz dejara el distrito – terminó teniendo un trabajo como director en el Municipio de Pike y no respondió a una solicitud de comentarios – IPS dijo que se embarcaría en una variedad de iniciativas para aumentar la diversidad de su personal, incluyendo la contratación de un reclutador de distrito.

IPS no es el único que lucha por contratar a un personal docente diverso. Los maestros bilingües están en demanda en todo el condado de Marion y más allá, Arnold dijo, porque los distritos escolares han reconocido que los estudiantes prosperan cuando tienen mentores que comparten sus experiencias.

Arnold dijo que IPS tiene dificultades para reclutar a esos candidatos debido a su baja remuneración.

“Ellos pueden más o menos escribir su boleto a cualquier distrito,” dijo ella.

Los beneficios de la creciente diversidad del personal en IPS son claras para Rangel.

Un niño latino tímido en su clase, de repente habló un día, después de que Rangel tuviera a su clase leyendo “Esperanza Rising”, una novela sobre una niña que lucha por adaptarse a la vida en Estados Unidos después de que ella se mudó de México durante la Gran Depresión.

“Él… comienza a decirnos su historia acerca de venir a Estados Unidos”, dijo Rangel, “Ocultándose de los hombres que dan terror y de cómo su madre tuvo que dejarlo en México con sus abuelos, y luego él vino después. Él todavía tiene un hermano mayor allá”.

Este fue, Rangel se dio cuenta, un momento de gran avance.

“Él dijo ‘yo sabía que eres mexicano, por lo que, está bien si compartes conmigo'”, dijo Rangel. “Creo que (mis estudiantes) tienen menos miedo a tomar riesgos, y como adulto me doy cuenta de que esas son las cosas que te hacen o te rompen.”

Language barriers

Aurora school district expands translation and interpretation in response to parent demands

Patricia Shaw, an interpreter for Aurora Public Schools, left, shows Indonesia Maye how to use the transmitters during a back-to-school event at Aurora West College Preparatory Academy on August 6. Maye was hired by the district to interpret to Somali students and their families at the event. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

Hsa Mlu, a mother of four children, recently started receiving communications from her sons’ Aurora schools in her native Southeast Asian language, Karen.

“I am so excited,” Mlu, who has two sons in Aurora schools, said through an interpreter. “I am sure it’s going to be better for parents.”

In the past Mlu said that when she received communications in English from her children’s schools, she would rush it over to a friend’s house — even in the rain or snow — to ask for help.

“I didn’t understand what I had to do or what it was for,” Mlu said.

Mlu is one of the parent leaders who has been working with the nonprofit organization RISE Colorado for more than a year to ask Aurora Public Schools to improve language services. Parents, like Mlu, have shared stories with the district and the school board, about how their language barriers have prevented them from being more involved in their children’s education. Teachers also said it was a problem for them.

Top 10 languages in APS by number of parents who have listed it as a preference for communication

  • English, 26,617
  • Spanish, 11,316
  • Amharic, 386
  • Nepali, 268
  • Somali, 241
  • Burmese, 205
  • Vietnamese, 174
  • Arabic, 171
  • Karen, 157
  • French, 119

Source: Aurora Public Schools

In response, the district last year started working on translating some documents, and training secretaries and school staff to use the district’s system to send out automated calls in various languages. Board members responded by passing a resolution to prohibit educators from relying on children to translate official or formal discussions with parents. And this summer, the district included $200,000 in its 2018-19 budget to centralize language services under the communications office.

“Our families are feeling really excited that their voices were heard,” said RISE Colorado’s co-founder and CEO Veronica Crespin-Palmer.

Now Aurora educators, such as principals and teachers, can use a simplified, common form online to ask the district for help with translations or interpretations for their students’ families.

It’s a change from years past when language help was scattered among various district departments with each department available for only particular purposes. It was a process educators and families said wasn’t easy to understand.

Having all of the district’s expertise in one office now should help in coordinating and filling language requests, said Patti Moon, the district’s chief communication officer.

District officials expect that the simplified process will increase demand for translation or interpretation services this school year, and so the district is preparing to expand its abilities with the allocated money.

In part, that means adding services in more languages. Right now, Aurora has in-house language services for Spanish, but in a district where families have listed 143 different languages as their preferred language, there’s a need for more.

In one step to make more interpreters available, the district has been certifying its own bilingual staff in translation, so they can be available after work to pick up assignments translating or interpreting for school or district events. Currently, district officials say there are more than 120 district-approved interpreters, and officials want to recruit more. District interpreters and other staff can provide interpretation in 14 languages.

The district also has a partnership with interpreters-in-training from the Community College of Aurora.

Aurora also plans to use some of the money to improve quality by providing professional training to language services staff.

But the parents’ work will continue, said the mother, Mlu. Parents requested to continue monthly meetings with the district’s language staff to provide feedback about how the schools are rolling out the changes. The district agreed to continue the collaboration.

In addition to streamlining its internal communications, the district is providing one service designed for parents and the community: the introduction of language identification cards.

RISE parents designed the business-size cards that the district printed in the top 10 languages, with a blank space for people to fill in their name to show school attendants what language they speak. Accompanying one-sheet forms include translations of common requests such as excusing a child from school, requesting a meeting with a teacher, or asking for an interpreter. (See a copy of both below)

The cards will be made available in schools for parents to use and have an easier time communicating simple requests, or asking for an interpreter.

Crespin-Palmer said she hopes the cards, the process, and the changes the district is making can be a model for other districts.

Mlu said she appreciates the significant changes she’s seen so far. But, she said, she’s still wants the district to know she’s watching.

“We are parent leaders, and we keep watching the for the interpretation and translation to improve,” she said. “We’re working toward it too.”





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In Aurora, a math teacher led the way to offer students a seal of biliteracy

Picture of recipients of the seal of biliteracy at their 2018 graduation from Aurora Central High School. (Photo courtesy of Aurora Public Schools)

Aurora math teacher Susan Holloway was fired up when Colorado last year created a new recognition for multilingual students.

But few new districts have taken on the work. Aurora isn’t yet offering the new seal of biliteracy. So Holloway took it upon herself to help 15 seniors at her school win the recognition.

The point was to “acknowledge those scholars” at Aurora Central High School, Holloway said. “We knew we had them, we just had to find them.”

Officials from three districts that pioneered the work to recognize biliteracy before the state passed the law touted one of the big benefits of a seal of biliteracy was its potential to transform a perception of students who speak English as a second language. Rather than being seen as deficient or lagging, they can be recognized for possessing an additional asset — and in becoming literate in English and another language, they actually have more to offer.

Districts that have been doing the work the longest, in Denver, Adams 14 and Eagle, worked to create pathways to prepare students from a young age to reach a high level of fluency in two languages. Holloway said she knows that even if her school lacks those pathways, it had more than 15 students who are biliterate.

By the numbers: 2018 graduates with seal of biliteracy:
  • Aurora, 15
  • Denver, 893
  • Eagle, 36 (another 178 fifth and eighth graders earned a district biliteracy certificate)
  • Adams 14, 68

But for last school year she set out to find those who were closest to already meeting the requirements of the seal.

Holloway set up criteria and took a day off from class to dig through student data among those students who were high performing in reading and writing. One of the requirements to earn the seal as an addition to the high school diploma is demonstration of proficiency in English.

Holloway worked with an assistant principal and a district administrator to find a test for literacy and fluency in Spanish, which the school was able to purchase. Every one of the students who took the Spanish test passed it.

“I was really fired up to make it happen,” said Holloway. “It just took someone who kind of had the big picture of what was required. I just pushed on until it happened.”

As a board member for the Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Holloway had also helped push for the seal of biliteracy through the Legislature.

Holloway’s district, Aurora Public Schools, is one of the most diverse in the state, serving students with a background in more than 160 languages.

A district official who helped Holloway’s work at Aurora Central did not respond to requests for comment, but a spokesman said in writing that it was too soon to talk about district level plans.

“Changing direction — that just takes a while,” Holloway said. “The next step for all schools would be to make sure their language departments are whole and strong. For people who are already native speakers, the counselors need to be educated to say you should take that class. We have to have the systems in place.”

For now Holloway said all she can do in Aurora is to continue providing information to students and to other educators who might be interested.

Elsewhere, just a handful of other educators are moving ahead. Officials in the Greeley-Evans school district are in the early stages of plans to offer the seal, but Brian Lemos, the director of instruction and English language development talked about why his district is interested, and how he hoped they might be able to start.

“We have multiple students that are bilingual and we really feel that that’s an asset, so we need to be able to honor that asset,” Lemos said.

Lemos said that changes in district leadership and other priorities have caused delays, but he’s expecting arrangements will start coming together more this year.

“Now we’re really thinking about what does it mean and how do we start getting students on that track,” Lemos said. He is analyzing which students are taking what classes to see how many could already meet the minimum requirements.

If Greeley does move forward, Lemos also wants to make sure students and families understand early on the requirements and the benefits of pursuing the credential.

In Eagle County Schools, one of the three districts that began offering the seal in 2015, officials say they are hearing anecdotally that students who have already earned the seal have seen benefits.

“Students have said that the seal has been a huge part of helping them to stand out in applications and getting interviews (for many different things),” said Jessica Martinez, the district’s Director of Multilingual Education. “We have had students comment that they thought that having the seal was one of the biggest reasons they got a job, and that employers are very interested in the seal when they interview.”

Some of the other benefits have been slow to materialize. Officials had hoped colleges might recognize the seal to help place students higher in language courses, or that students might be able to use it to fulfill language requirements.

“Our understanding is that there are so few districts who are using this so far, that it hasn’t yet gained the attention of colleges yet,” said a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Holloway’s hopes for her students are simpler.

“I hope, No. 1, that it allows them to know just how good they are, she said. “This is above the high school level. It’s an advanced level of proficiency. I hope it invites them to participate in our world and I hope it helps to get them a job and that they take that whole understanding of their global citizenship with them.”