Civic Learning Awards

The Civic Learning Award celebrates public schools' efforts to engage students in civic learning. The award program also identifies models that can be replicated in other schools. Co-sponsored by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, award winners are announced in February.

2016-17 Civic Learning Awards

Award of Excellence:

  • El Camino Creek Elementary School (San Diego County)
  • Oak Grove Middle School (San Diego County)
  • John Marshall Fundamental Secondary School (Los Angeles County)

Award of Distinction:

  • Flora Vista Elementary School (San Diego County)
  • Laurel Street Elementary School (Los Angeles County)
  • South Junior High School (Orange County)
  • Rio Linda Preparatory Academy (Sacramento County)
  • East Palo Alto Academy (San Mateo County)
  • Adolfo Camarillo High School (Ventura County)

In addition, 65 schools received Awards of Merit

2017 Awards

Award of Excellence:

Award of Distinction: 

In addition, 47 schools received Awards of Merit

2016 Awards

Award of Excellence:

Award of Distinction:

Award of Merit: see list 
(Due to the significant increase in award applications this year, Awards of Merit were presented to 78 schools.)

2015 Awards

Award of Excellence:

Award of Distinction:

Award of Merit:

2014 Awards

Award of Excellence:

Award of Distinction:

Award of Merit: 

2013 Awards

News Release: 2013 Civic Learning Award Winners Announced

Award High School School District Highlight


Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Tech Academy

Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

U.S. Government; Civic Action Project (CAP); The Bureau


Golden Valley High School

Kern Union High School District

We The People; Project Citizen; Interact Club


San Marino High School

San Marino Unified School District

Civic Learning - Interdisciplinary Extra Curriculum; Civic Learning - Extra Curriculum; Civic Learning - Within the Curriculum


Albany High School

Albany Unified School District

Renewal Debates; Extra-Curricular Programs; Shared Governance


Brawley Union High School

Brawley Union High School

Bilingual Civics Club; Bilingual Civics Course; Bilingual United States History


Irvington High School

Fremont Unified School District

Benchmark Projects


Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School

Natomas Unified

Law-Themed Curriculum; Senior Project; Peer Sentencing Court


Poway High School

Poway Unified School District

Senior Project Requirement; Government, Politics and Civics Courses; Associated Student Body (Student Govt.)


Beaumont High School

Beaumont Unified School District

Mock Trial; Mock Election; Peer Mediation


Bell Gardens

Montebello Unified School District

Civic Action Project (CAP)/Senior Community Project; Mock-Election Arsalyn Program (Ludwick Family Found.); Deliberating in a Democracy


Buhach Colony High School

Merced Union High School District

Role of Women in Society and U.S. History Class


Carmel High School

Carmel Unified School District

AP U.S. Government and Politics; Mock Trial Club and Team; Student Leadership


Centennial High School

Kern High School District

We The People Program; Government College Prep; Centennial Mock Trial Program


Cesar Chavez Continuation High School

Compton Unified School District

Mock Presidential Election 2012-2013;
Union Rescue Mission: Service Learning; ASB/Student Leadership Class


DaVinci Charter Academy

Davis Joint Unified School District

Rise of Democratic Ideas (Island Project); Senior Project - Hail to the Chief



Oxnard Union High School District

Mock Trial


GW Carver School of Arts and Sciences

Sac-City Unified School District

Student Government Enrichment Club; Re-Thinking Technology Enrichment Club; Economics and Poverty Project


Ivy Academia Entrepreneurial Charter School

Ivy Academia

AP U.S. History; Government; ASB


John Burroughs High School

Burbank Unified School District

Junior State of America


Los Altos High School

Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District

Students for Haiti Solidarity; US History - Muckraking Project; History Week - The Pursuit of Rights


Royal High School

Simi Valley Unified School District

Citizen Scholar Institute and Diploma Seal; Authentic Civic Experiences; Simulations of Democratic Processes


Valley High School

Elk Grove Unified School District

Valley Leadership; Valley Health TECH Academy; Social Sciences Department

Application period is now closed.
  • Letter of Invitation from Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
  • Application Online
  • Application in Word
  • Application Rubric
  • Civic Learning Award Webinar

Civic Learning Award FAQ

1. Can my school submit the Civic Learning Award application on paper?

You may submit the paper version of the Civic Learning Award application, and it must be received by 5 p.m. on January 19, 2018. However you are encouraged to apply online, where you can also save your work and make changes. Should you need technical assistance completing the application online, please contact Cynthia Miranda at 415-865-8909, or

2. What if I lose my password when applying online?

If you lose your password, simply email Ms. Cynthia Miranda ( to reset your account password.

3. If our school won an award last year, can we apply again this year?

If your school won the Award of Merit or Distinction last year, your school is welcome to apply again this year. If your school won an Award of Excellence, your school will be able to apply again after two additional years. For example, a school receiving an Award of Excellence in the 2016-17 school year, may reapply in the 2019-20 school year.

4. Can school districts apply?

While we applaud district-wide efforts to implement civic education, this is currently an award for schools only. There is no limit to how many schools from a district may each apply.

5. What if my school doesn’t fit the age spans provided?

To promote equity and fairness in the application rating process, schools are evaluated only in comparison to other schools serving the same general age span in these categories: elementary, middle, and high school. Please choose the category that best describes the classes/clubs/programs in your total application.

© 2018 Judicial Council of California