Our Stories

Milton Students Awarded Global Seal of Biliteracy in Hebrew

October 31, 2019 by Ronit Greenstein (Faculty and Staff)

29 Milton students in Grades 5-8 have been recognized for reaching the standards of biliteracy in Hebrew. The students obtained scores in Hebrew reading, writing, listening, and speaking that meet the Silver level standards of the Global Seal based on an independent appraisal by language assessment company Avant Assessment. A total of 2,251 students in Grades 5-10 took the language assessment in Hebrew, including participating Jewish day schools from across the country. Milton achieved among the highest number of award recipients nationwide on a proportional basis. Students who graduate high school with the Global Seal of Biliteracy are eligible for college academic credits and scholarship dollars, and enjoy national and international recognition.

“We are delighted to see so many of our students achieve the milestone of the Global Seal of Biliteracy. Hebrew biliteracy has tremendous value within a Jewish context and in today’s global community. It gives our students the tools to engage deeply and meaningfully in prayer, to explore Jewish text with nuance and sophistication, to connect to the land and people of Israel, and literally provides a common language with Jews around the globe. As educators, we also see the ways in which biliteracy contributes to cognitive development and executive function skills, and in increasing multi-cultural understanding,” said Head of School Naomi Reem. In addition to recognition of our award recipients, we are happy to report that the schoolwide AVANT Hebrew assessment administered in the spring of 2019 showed that Hebrew learning at Milton is above national averages for every grade. The achievement of our students is even more notable because our program follows the guidelines of ACTFL (American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages), which rates Hebrew as a level 3 difficulty language because of its separate alphabet system and the structure of the language, meaning that it takes longer to achieve a proficiency level in Hebrew compared to other languages such as Spanish or Italian.

“Hebrew language serves as a ‘connective tissue’ of our people and is at the core of our culture as Jews,” said Arnee Winshall, CEO of Hebrew at the Center (HATC), who coordinated opening up the doors for students of Hebrew to qualify for the Global Seal of Biliteracy. “We hope that the new Global Seal of Biliteracy for Hebrew will encourage students, teachers, administrators, faculty and parents to prioritize and celebrate excellence in Hebrew language study, and thereby ensure the vibrancy of modern Hebrew for years to come.”

In 2019, Milton was designated as a ‘Leading in Hebrew’ model school by Hebrew at the Center. As such, the school serves as a leader and contributor to the field of modern Hebrew language and literacy by modeling best practices to other schools. Milton is committed to providing a first-rate Hebrew education to all our students, to the professional excellence and development of the faculty, and to continually strengthening the school’s Hebrew program.

Kol hakavod to the award recipients and toda raba (thank you) to all the Hebrew teachers on helping our students succeed!