Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

State Seal of Civic Engagement

Information and resources regarding the State Seal of Civic Engagement.

In October 2017, Assembly Bill 24 External link opens in new window or tab. was signed into law by Governor Brown. The bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), on or before January 1, 2020, to recommend to the State Board of Education (SBE) criteria for awarding a State Seal of Civic Engagement (SSCE) to pupils who have demonstrated excellence in civics education and participation and an understanding of the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, and the democratic system of government. The bill also requires the SSPI to consider, among other criteria, the successful completion of history, government, and civics courses, including courses that incorporate character education and voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities.

The SBE adopted the SSCE criteria at its September 10, 2020 meeting. Below you will find the criteria, guidance for local implementation, resources to support student civic engagement, and information regarding the development of the criteria.

State Seal of Civic Engagement Criteria

The five criteria presented below are meant to provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with a framework for making determinations of student qualifications required to earn the SSCE, based on their own local contexts. The criteria are written to ensure that no student is excluded from an opportunity to earn the SSCE based on academic ability, alternative school settings, or unique or unconventional expressions of civic engagement.

The student must:

  1. Be engaged in academic work in a productive way;
  2. Demonstrate a competent understanding of United States and California constitutions; functions and governance of local governments; tribal government structures and organizations; the role of the citizen in a constitutional democracy; and democratic principles, concepts, and processes;
  3. Participate in one or more informed civic engagement project(s) that address real-world problems and require students to identify and inquire into civic needs or problems, consider varied responses, take action, and reflect on efforts;
  4. Demonstrate civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions through self-reflection; and
  5. Exhibit character traits that reflect civic-mindedness and a commitment to positively impact the classroom, school, community and/or society.

State Seal of Civic Engagement Implementation Guidance

As part of the authorizing legislation (AB 24 External link opens in new window or tab., 2017), the California Department of Education (CDE) has primarily an administrative role as it pertains to implementation of the SSCE. In addition to developing the criteria and guidance, the CDE is also responsible for fulfilling LEA orders of the SSCE insignia. Additional information on ordering the SSCE insignia will be available on this web page soon.

The SSCE Implementation Guidance for each criterion offers ideas and considerations to structure local requirements to award the SSCE, using the criteria set forward by the CDE as a foundation. Each LEA should develop criteria considering its own local context to ensure maximum accessibility for all students, at all grade levels, including those in alternative school settings. Local governing boards are encouraged to approve or adopt their own policies regarding implementation of the SSCE criteria.

The CDE will create a technical assistance webinar to support development of local criteria and provide specific instructions for ordering the insignia. When ordering the insignia, districts will self-certify that students earned the SSCE based on locally-created criteria.

Resources to Support Student Civic Engagement

Guidance and resources for student civic engagement are available on the CDE Resources to Support Student Civic Engagement web page.

State Seal of Civic Engagement Criteria Development

To learn about the development of the criteria, please visit the SSCE Criteria Development web page. (new page included in package)

Per the SBE adoption of the criteria, the CDE is currently exploring ways to integrate the SSCE into the College and Career Indicator of the California School Dashboard. Information regarding these developments will be shared on this web page as it becomes available.

Questions:   Educator Excellence and Equity Division | SSCE@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-6440
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Recently Posted in Curriculum Areas
  • SSCE Implementation Guidance (added 23-Sep-2020)
    Considerations to structure local State Seal of Civic Engagement (SSCE) implementation.
  • SSCE Criteria Development (added 23-Sep-2020)
    Information regarding the development of the State Seal of Civic Engagement (SSCE) criteria.