CONTACT: Erin Robbins
SUCCESS IN HEBREW NOW HAS ANNUAL NATIONAL RECOGNITION CEREMONY
Hebrew at the Center’s Annual HESEG/ Ceremony
Recognizing Student Achievement in Hebrew
(Framingham, MA – February 23, 2022) Hebrew language acquisition now has a global benchmark, and Hebrew at the Center is annually honoring the students who meet it.
Last month, Hebrew at the Center (HATC) held its second annual HESEG/הישג, recognizing extraordinary student achievement in Hebrew by students who have received The Global Seal of Biliteracy™ for Hebrew, a credential that celebrates language skills and expands future opportunities for its recipients. The Global Seal of Biliteracy also enables recipients to showcase their language skills to any school or employer across state lines and national borders, with a unique serial-numbered certificate that is digitally shareable.
With an almost doubling in both the number of schools using the Avant Assessment Tool and the number of students qualifying for the Global Seal of Biliteracy in Hebrew since 2020, Hebrew at the Center hopes to build on the momentum and expand the impact that this acknowledgment can have on motivating more students to aspire to higher levels of proficiency and to compel more educators to use the tools available to contribute to their students’ success.
“Our child loves learning Hebrew, and has worked so hard with her teachers to get to this place,” said Parent Asher Epstein from the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. “The public recognition and the students’ personal reflections were so inspiring and demonstrates how important Hebrew is as a connector for Jews globally.”
More than one hundred and thirty people attended HESEG/, which this year included a presentation in Hebrew by Rabbi Josh Weinberg, Vice President of the URJ for Israel & Reform Zionism & Executive Director of ARZA, who spoke about the ways learning Hebrew as a second language had an extraordinary impact on his life choices. Additionally, there was a Scroll of Honor (LINK) which included videos of students sharing in Hebrew why they believe the language is so important to them.
“The event allowed students and teachers to be recognized for their commitment to Hebrew biliteracy,” said Dr. Marc Kramer, Hebrew at the Center Board Member and former Executive Director of RAVSAK. “With effective teachers and motivation, students are clearly able to graduate from Jewish day schools with the capacity to understand. speak, read and write Hebrew proficiently; we now understand the exceptionally positive ripple effect of meeting this benchmark.”
The newly raised profile of Hebrew biliteracy is a result of Hebrew at the Center’s advocacy efforts. In 2013, Hebrew at the Center entered a strategic partnership with Avant Assessment, leaders in real-world language proficiency assessment, to create the first online, standards-based tool to assess Modern Hebrew language proficiency. Now it is possible for schools to have a data-driven, reliable, scientific approach to assessing Hebrew teaching and learning outcomes to measure what students can do in all four skills of language learning and to guide instructional decision making.
“The Global Seal of Biliteracy in Hebrew provides an objective milestone to recognize students and is a tool for effectively measuring successful teaching and learning of Hebrew,” said Arnee Winshall, Hebrew at the Center Board President and founder. ”Additionally, those schools that are investing in the professional development of their Hebrew educators and seeing the results, can distinguish themselves based on the strength of their Hebrew programs.
Avant’s assessment system was recently accredited by the American Council on Education, which means that high school students – and countless others – may be able to receive advance placement or credit by exam similar to AP language exams. These credits, which are recognized by colleges and universities nationwide, exemplify a student’s diligence and aptitude in that subject area. The ability to have student outcomes in Hebrew recognized in a manner parallel to achievements in math, science, and other core subjects is likely to have a larger impact on the level of seriousness accorded Hebrew language learning and its place within K-12 education.
As more schools embrace assessment to strengthen their Hebrew programs and more students become eligible for the Global Seal of Biliteracy, HATC imagines that HESEG/ will not only set a higher bar but also help to pave the way for Jews in the Diaspora to benefit from the joys and gifts of the Hebrew language.