civicseal headerThe California State Seal of Civic Engagement (SSCE) is a seal to be placed on the diplomas of graduating California high school students who, according to the California Department of Education, 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 five criteria presented below are meant to provide a framework for making determinations of student qualifications required to earn the SSCE.  

 Five Criteria


CRF Resources

 1. Engagement

Be engaged in academic work in a productive way.

 2. Understanding

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.

 blue arrow2


Click here for balanced, interactive, and enriching lessons to supplement learning in U.S. history, world history, and U.S. government courses, as well as current civic issues, to meet Criteria 1 and 2. 

 3. Participation

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.

 blue arrow2

Click here for access to three core lessons to get your students active in planning and executing their civic engaget projemencts to meet Criteria 3.

 4. Demonstration

Demonstrate civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions through self-reflection.

 blue arrow2

Through Civic Action Projec (CAP), students have opportunities to reflect on their civic learning with the CAP Project Report, present their civic actions in multimedia formats, and share their projects in culminating activities to inform and educate others in their community to meet Criteria 4. 

 5. Character Traits

Exhibit character traits that reflect civic-mindedness and a commitment to positively impact the classroom, school, community and/or society.

 blue arrow2

Civic Action Project (CAP) promotes the development of civic character traits

Teachers can assess students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes in civic learning with CAP Assessment rubrics, presentation evaluations, and peer evaluations to meet Criteria 5. 


Earning the Seal

Local school districts are encouraged to create specific, local criteria based on the state’s five criteria. Check with your district or county superintendent’s office on local criteria and deadlines for submitting proof of eligibility of students. 


Additional Resources

California Department of Education State Seal of Civic Engagement page

The State Seal of Civic Engagement Los Angeles County Collaborative

Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework


Contacts for questions and for PD:

Damon Huss (

Gregorio Medina (

Laura Wesley (