Requirements and Application for Recognition
An ethnic language school is a part-time private program that teaches the foreign language of a particular ethnic group as well as the culture, geography, history, and other aspects of the culture of that ethnic group.
Applications for the 2023-2024 school year will be accepted from
August 1 until November 1. Additionally, please ensure that a current email address is included on your application. Applications should be sent to Karen Skinner at
An ethnic language school may seek approval to show that the language instruction offered is equivalent in content, rigor, etc. to foreign language instruction offered at a public high school. This program provides for that approval under
105 ILCS 5/2-3.44 in the School Code. The School Code has additional references to ethnic language schools under
105 ILCS 5/2-3.45 and
105 ILCS 5/10-22.43a.
Earning the Seal of Biliteracy
High school students who participate in ethnic language schools may become sufficiently skilled in a language so as to be eligible for the Seal of Biliteracy. This Seal is earned solely through the demonstration of language proficiency via standardized testing or portfolio assessment and is not dependent upon the student having any high school foreign language credits. It may be earned by students enrolled only in those public school districts and nonpublic schools participating in the Seal of Biliteracy program. An ethnic language school may provide the necessary instruction, but the student’s school awards the Seal. Please note that a student seeking this Seal will also need to demonstrate English language proficiency by test only, even if the student is a native English speaker.
Learn more about the Seal of Biliteracy here.
Some districts/schools will also offer the State Commendation toward Biliteracy, which is an acknowledgement of significant language skill although that skill is not yet at the level of biliteracy.