Over the past three years, Trumbull High’s World Language Department has steadily expanded its curriculum, now offering advanced level classes in Latin, Italian, French and Spanish. As a result, the school’s seniors have a 75% pass rate on the demanding Seal of Biliteracy test, which doubles as a state certification of fluency in a language.
On Friday, the state officially recognized the program through an official statement from Gov. Ned Lamont congratulating the staff for their curriculum expansions and implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy standards.
“Your commitment, enthusiasm and drive are an inspiration to the people of Connecticut,” Lamont wrote. “You have expanded educational opportunities for generations of high school students and have ensured access to a more enriching, engaging, and fulfilling curriculum.”
The statement specifically referenced Trumbull High’s inaugural year of biliteracy testing, which allowed students to be certified in their foreign language of choice.
“This is a very challenging exam,” saidWorld Language Department chairman and Italian teacher Susanna Lavorgna-Lye.
The interactive test, which examines a student’s ability to speak, write, listen and read a foreign language, is an academic achievement that can pay dividends in a student’s future, she said.
“Being certified as fluent can definitely make a student more marketable to colleges, and in their careers,” she said.
Spanish teacher Pablo Sevilla agreed.
“Being biliterate, fluency, shows an ability to engage with native speakers,” he said. “It’s one thing to be able to pass a standardized test, but can you actually communicate? Can you hold a job?”
Lamont’s recognition came in response to a communication from Michael Cerulli (’19), who was impressed by the teachers he had in his world language classes.
“During my four years at Trumbull High, I’ve had many amazing teachers in every academic discipline,” said Cerulli, who also served as student Board of Education representative, was youth director for Democrat Ashley Gaudiano’s state House campaign, and is an occasional contributing writer for the Trumbull Times. “In particular, one group of teachers I was always fond of has been the world language teachers. They bring incredible energy and passion to their work, and students really respond to that.”
Cerulli said he thought it would be a nice senior year sendoff for the governor to recognize some of the teachers who have had a positive impact.
“Teachers don’t get the credit they deserve,” he said. “Any recognition, big or small, is important because we need to change that.”