Antioch Unified awarded $500K California Serves Grant

To promote access to effective civic engagement and service learning for 12th graders

AUSD is pleased to announce that we have been awarded the California Serves Grant, a total of $499,911.00 in grant monies. The 2022 California State Budget established the California Serves Program (California Education Code [EC] Section 51475), a collaboration between the California Department of Education (CDE) and CaliforniaVolunteers. 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 through service learning.

According to the CDA website, “On September 10, 2020, the State Board of Education adopted criteria and guidance to award a State Seal of Civic Engagement to California students who demonstrate excellence in civics education and participation, and an understanding of the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, and the democratic system of government.” (Note: California has a Republican Form of Government, as required of all states to be admitted to the Union, and is guaranteed by the U.S. as written in Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution).

AUSD California Serves Grant Plan

The Learning through Serving project will implement a new two-course sequence to engage all AUSD students in meaningful civics education that incorporates high-quality democratic education, civic-mindedness, community engagement, and experiential learning through an evidence-based approach. The initiative will expand access and promote equity by allowing all AUSD 12th-grade students to complete the State Seal of Civics Education – a credential to which AUSD students currently do not have access.

With Learning through Serving, AUSD will finalize implementing a new course sequence for the senior year of high school, starting in the 2024-2025 school year. This sequence includes a newly approved Ethnic Studies course that pushes students to think more deeply about the world around them, including race, culture, interaction, civic engagement, and inspirational action to improve society. We will also create a new capstone project course to build onto the Ethnic Studies course, creating a year-long sequence for all Antioch seniors.

This new course sequence would become a required component of the program of study, with all AUSD 12th grade students completing the courses. Over the three-year project, an estimated 2,788 students will complete the courses across three high schools. Through increased engagement and opportunities for meaningful reflection, AUSD will indirectly address student connectedness, motivation, and participation. Additionally, the combination of professional development, education, training, and expanded course delivery will increase district-wide capacity to support long-term improvements in student academic, personal, and social-emotional outcomes.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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