MCPASD to offer Wisconsin Seal of Biliteracy, Community Interpreter Certificate to eligible high school students

During Monday night's school board meeting, Director of Bilingual Services Mandi Sersch-Morstad and Director of High School Education Laura Love shared two new ways our district honors and affirms multilingualism in our schools. 

Associate Principal of Middleton High Carmen Klassy was not in attendance, but we want to acknowledge her hard work on this project. 

"We are fortunate to have a strong multilingual community in the MCPASD," said Serch-Morstad. "Eighteen percent of students in our school district come to us speaking 56 home languages other than English; their multilingualism adds to the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of our learning communities."


Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, MCPASD will join 14 other Wisconsin school districts in offering the opportunity for qualifying seniors to earn a Wisconsin Seal of Biliteracy. 

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction recently approved the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District to be able to award a Wisconsin Seal of Biliteracy to graduating high school students who demonstrate advanced achievement in bilingualism, biliteracy, and sociocultural competence in two or more languages, beginning with the class of 2023.

Students earning a Wisconsin Seal of Biliteracy shall demonstrate high levels of bilingualism and biliteracy in English and a partner language as demonstrated through DPI-approved measures. Students are not limited to the partner languages that are offered in our school district; partner languages may be languages students have learned in their homes, in their communities, at other language schools or centers, and/or through time spent abroad. In addition to world languages, American Sign Language is also an eligible partner language.

Students earning a Wisconsin Seal of Biliteracy shall also demonstrate socio-cultural competency in English and the partner language. People who are socio-culturally competent do not only have technical abilities to communicate in multiple languages; they also have deep understandings of and respect for varying cultural perspectives and norms, and they are able to fluently and successfully navigate cross-cultural spaces. This competency aligns well with our MCPASD Portrait of a Graduate, where we specify the need to develop cultural competence. For the Seal of Biliteracy, students will demonstrate their socio-cultural competency through the submission of artifacts including reflections on experiences in cross-cultural spaces and cross-cultural service learning.

Students may begin gathering artifacts toward their Seal as soon as they enter high school; however, qualifying students are not awarded a Seal until the spring of their senior year. Seal recipients will be recognized with an award; they will have their own recognition event and will also receive recognition at the high school honors and awards night. They will be able to share this distinct honor with prospective post-secondary institutions and employers.

A team of high school faculty will be finalizing details for the Seal application and student support process this spring, and more specific information about this process will be distributed to students and families this fall.


Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, we are partnering with Viterbo University to offer qualifying high school students the opportunity to take college-level courses in Viterbo’s Community Interpreter Certificate program.  Our district will be 1 of 3 school districts in the state to offer this certificate. 

The Community Interpreter Certificate (CIC) is a college-level course sequence at Viterbo University that trains bilingual individuals to interpret in the community and professionally. This certificate cost $5,000 and will be free for our students.

Viterbo University’s Community Interpreter Certificate program accepts applications from high school juniors and seniors through the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) as well as other interested Viterbo University students and other interested adults who meet the application requirements. Therefore, high school students participate in the courses alongside college students and other adults. The program is open to students of all immigration statuses and works diligently to create wrap-around support and equitable opportunities for all those who enroll in Viterbo courses.

Acceptance into the CIC program is based on a successful application, interview, and an entrance exam.

For eligible high school students in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, the CIC is a Dual Credit program. This means that participating students will earn high school and college credit at the same time. Students who successfully complete the four online courses and the internship/practicum will earn 2.5 high school elective credits (.5 credit for each completed CIC course and the internship/practicum) and 13 total college credits.

The CIC program takes two academic years to complete; students take one course each semester and also participate in an internship/practicum during the fourth (last) semester.

Board Members Sheila Hibner and Minza Karim thanked our team for all their hard work.

"My kids don't want me speaking my language outside my house, they feel embarrassed, but this program is going to encourage kids like mine to know that it's a power to know more than one language," said Karim.

Here are some other ways our district honors and supports multilingualism :

  •  Fifteen Bilingual Resource Teachers and eight Bilingual Paraeducators provide English as a Second Language and Transitional Bilingual services to roughly 400 English learners and their families.
  • Two-Way Immersion (TWI; also known as Dual Language) is offered K-4 at Sauk Trail Elementary and will expand to 5th grade at Kromrey Middle School in 2022-2023. Students in the TWI program are working toward high levels of bilingualism and biliteracy, academic achievement, and sociocultural competency in Spanish and English. Dual Language programming is planned to continue in 6th grade and beyond, with the specific course sequence for grades 6-12 to be determined.
  •  Our Spanish Language Arts (SLA) courses for students in grades 7-12 are designed to build on the linguistic resources of our students who already speak Spanish at home, in their communities, and/or with their families. SLA courses leverage students’ already-existing Spanish language skills in the development of their literacy in Spanish.
  • Our World Language Department offers French, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish language course sequences to students in grades 5-12. In the 2021-22 school year, our total world language enrollment in grades 6-12 was approximately 2,750.
  • Three Bilingual Student and Family Engagement Specialists design student and family engagement opportunities that are responsive to the specific needs of our Latinx community.
  • Our bilingual Director of Information and Public Relations and our District Translator/Interpreter collaborate to ensure our communication efforts are culturally and linguistically attentive to the needs of our District families. Individuals within and outside of the District assist with our translation/interpretation efforts.
  • We are grateful to all of the staff across our system who affirm students’ multilingualism in big and small ways every day.
  • We are proud to add two new ways to honor and affirm multilingualism in the MCPASD beginning in the 2022-23 school year.