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PITTSBURGHApril 22, 2022 − Senator Lindsey M. Williams released the following statement today:

“As the Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee, I have had the privilege to work closely with Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Noe Ortega. Secretary Ortega and his staff have been extremely responsive partners to me and my office as we’ve worked together to address the needs of Pennsylvania’s students, parents, teachers, and schools.

I’m proud that one of Secretary Ortega’s last events was celebrating student advocacy at Shaler Area High School here in Senate District 38. Back in December 2021, 14 students from Shaler had written individual letters to me, asking that I advocate for Pennsylvania to introduce the Seal of Biliteracy, which recognizes students who graduate with proficiency in English and one or more world languages. During my next regular meeting with Secretary Ortega, I brought up the Seal of Biliteracy and these student letters, and his team ran with it. Five months later, we stood together in a classroom in Shaler Area High School, congratulating those students on their hard work, and encouraging them to continue their studies and their advocacy.

I wish Secretary Ortega all the best on his future endeavors. I look forward to working with Acting Secretary Hagarty as we face crucial decisions on education here in Pennsylvania in the coming months.