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‘Civic readiness’ gets state O.K. for schools: Students can earn designation on diplomas

Shelter Island graduates in the Class of 2023 will have an opportunity to receive diplomas next June bearing a Seal of Civic Readiness.

The new designation was approved by the New York State Board of Regents for the school just a month after social studies teacher Sean Brennan submitted an application to provide the program for district students.

To earn the Seal, students must amass a minimum of six points — at least two earned for demonstrating civic knowledge and two from civic participation.

Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D., said he anticipates all 2023 graduates and those in the future will be able to secure the designation if they’re willing to put in the work to amass the necessary points.

Many Island students already have three to four points earned for class work in civics and for their participation in community service efforts, Mr. Brennan told the Board of Education in June when he outlined the program.

Those who know they have qualified for the designation on their diplomas will be able to cite that as they file applications for college admission, Mr. Brennan said.

The program is nonpolitical in nature, primarily based on community service and local issues designed to teach students how the levels of government operate. 

Members of the National Honor Society and Junior National Honor Society have raised money for Habitat for Humanity and provided some on-scene assistance to that organization helping to build houses on the East End.

Students have collected food to stock the pantry at the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church and provided extensive volunteer hours at the Shelter Island Historical Society, the Library and other organizations.

Civic readiness is a subject other school districts around the country have explored, with many adopting similar programs.