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California Serves

Information about and resources regarding the California Serves Program.

Program Authorization

The 2022 California State Budget established the California Serves Program (California Education Code [EC] Section 51475 External link opens in new window or tab. ), a collaboration between the California Department of Education (CDE) and CaliforniaVolunteers External link opens in new window or tab.. The California Serves Program will promote access to effective service learning for students in grade twelve, with the goal of expanding access for high school graduates in obtaining a State Seal of Civic Engagement (SSCE) through service learning.

Program Outline

The CDE, in partnership with California Volunteers, will:

  • Review the available evidence on ways to incorporate effective service learning for students in grades nine through twelve.
  • Provide recommendations to the Legislature on evidence-based strategies to expand access to high-quality service learning programs in California high schools, and promote equitable access to these programs.
  • Develop and post information on evidence-based strategies for expanding access to high-quality service learning programs that may be used by teachers and local educational agencies (LEAs).
  • Develop model uniform metrics, based on the recommended criteria for the SSCE, for the measurement of student progress toward academic, civic engagement, and other learning objectives, including awarding the SSCE.
  • Use the evidence, recommendations, and metrics identified to administer the California Serves Grants Program.

California Serves Grants

Beginning with the 2022–23 fiscal year, $5 million will be appropriated annually to the CDE to award in grants to eligible LEAs participating in the California Serves Grant Program. The CDE will develop and administer this grant program in collaboration with California Volunteers, including developing criteria for the awarding of grants, developing an application process, requesting data from participating LEAs, and awarding grants.

Under this program, eligible LEAs may receive up to $500,000 annually in grants, which may be used for:

  • Paid planning time for teachers to increase the use of service learning in instruction.
  • Professional development on service learning for administrators and teachers.
  • Purchase of instructional materials to help integrate service learning in instruction.
  • Participation costs, including materials or travel expenses related to service learning activities.
  • Personnel costs for coordinating service learning at the LEA or a school site.
  • Participation costs associated with grant program evaluation.

Per EC Section 51475(d), in order to be eligible to apply for this grant, at least 55 percent of the pupils enrolled in the applicant LEA shall be unduplicated pupils as defined in EC Section 2574 or 42238.02, as applicable. Please review the California Serves Eligibility spreadsheet to determine your LEA’s unduplicated pupil rate and eligibility to apply for this grant:

California Serves Grant 2023-24 Eligibility (XLSX)

This program is under development, and additional information will be posted as it becomes available.

Grant Web Pages and Timelines

Activity Date
Request for Application (RFA) Release Week of January 22, 2024*
Application Workshop Webinar February 8, 2024*
Application due to the CDE March 11, 2024, by 4 p.m.*
Intent to Award April 29, 2024*
Last day for California Serves Grant appeals to be received by the CDE May 7, 2024, by 4 p.m.*
Final Awards posted Week of May 27, 2024*
*Timeline subject to change.

California Serves Grant 2022-23

In the 2022–23 school year, the CDE began the pilot year of this program. In May of 2023, the CDE posted the final awards for the initial year of funding. For more information, please visit the California Serves Grant Program Funding Results web page.

California Serves Grant 2022–23 Eligibility (XLSX)

Questions:   Professional Learning Innovations Office |
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 30, 2024