Saint James
Saint James School
Montgomery, Alabama

2019 Alum Earns Global Seal of Biliteracy

Saint James School alumna Alisa Chirkova-Holland ’19 and STJ high school Spanish teacher, Rhea Grate, were thrilled to learn in May 2019 that Alisa earned the Global Seal of Biliteracy, a highly distinguished honor that demonstrates her fluency in English and Spanish.

May 2019 graduate from Saint James School, Alisa Chirkova-Holland, earned the Global Seal of Biliteracy through her English and Spanish fluency. The Global Seal of Biliteracy is a very prestigious award that is recognized by national employers, college & universities, and high schools to identify language fluency.

Chirkova-Holland was a Spanish Level 4 student her senior year at Saint James under the instruction of high school Spanish teacher, Rhea Grate. “Alisa was an exceptional student to have in my classroom for four years,” said Grate. “She has worked tirelessly to truly master the language and her efforts to earn this extraordinary designation prove what an exceptional student Alisa is.”

Grate observed, “At this time, there are no other independent schools in the state of Alabama with students who have earned this high achievement.” She said, “In fact, there are only three public schools in the state of Alabama with students who have earned this national designation. I am thrilled Alisa has earned this distinction as so aptly states, ‘An official language certification from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) leads to increased job opportunities, instills confidence, and creates a significant professional advantage in the global marketplace.’”

Applicants are required to earn a score of Intermediate Mid or Advanced Low on all four sections of the ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) and at least an ACT English score of 18 to earn the Global Seal of Biliteracy. Chirkova-Holland’s assessment evaluated her reading, writing, speaking, and listening proficiency in Spanish. Different than achievement tests, this test is based on the applicant’s application of the language. There are no teaching guides for this assessment, no practice tests for students—it truly is an evaluation of the student’s cognitive abilities (including Bloom’s Taxonomy upper level skills of application and synthesis) within the framework of the world language. Alisa scored far above the ACT requirement and she earned Intermediate 5 scores in all four categories of the assessment.                                   

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