California State Seal of Civic Engagement


State Seal of Civic Engagement Criteria

To qualify for the State Seal of Civic Engagement, California high school students in their junior and senior year must:

  1. Be engaged in academic work in a productive way;

  2. Demonstrate a competent understanding of U.S. 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.

See the California Department of Education ( for additional implementation guidance for each of the criteria.


All California students, particularly those from historically marginalized communities, will have early and frequent access throughout their PK-12 education to high-quality civic learning opportunities that enable students to learn about civic and political issues, discuss and deliberate issues while considering multiple viewpoints, and to take informed action to work with others to address real world problems.

state seal purpose

  • Recognize young people who are already participating in and knowledgeable about our democracy

  • Encourage, and create pathways for, pupils in elementary and secondary schools to become civically engaged in democratic governmental institutions at the local, state, and national levels

civic learning definition

In a constitutional democracy, productive civic engagement requires knowledge of the history, principles, and foundations of our American democracy, and the ability to participate in civic and democratic processes. People demonstrate civic engagement when they address public problems individually and collaboratively and when they maintain, strengthen, and improve communities and societies. …

Civics is not limited to the study of politics and society; it also encompasses participation in classrooms and schools, neighborhoods, groups, and organizations. …Civics enables students not only to study how others participate, but also to practice participating and taking informed action themselves.

California History–Social Science Framework


Since the CA State Seal of Civic Engagement program is new, the application process is still being developed and varies by county, school district, even school. The portal is community-centered and free "common app" tool for students to manage their application process, find and share information/resources. It's also a tool administrators can use to implement their own program.