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IDOE to develop guidance on civics designations for students, schools

A student collects pots and utensils as another student wearing an apron blends something red in a blender.
FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks
IPB News
Students who volunteer, engage with their communities and take courses like constitutional government or civil society may be eligible for a new civics engagement designation on their high school transcripts.

Indiana schools could award students a new excellence in civic engagement designation on their high school transcripts in coming years. SEA 211, which passed this year, requires the Indiana Department of Education to develop guidelines to determine how students can qualify.

The recognition was proposed by the IDOE as part of Indiana’s new graduation requirements.

The department could consider whether individual students volunteer and engage in their communities and complete coursework that covers topics like constitutional government, civil society and the democratic process.

State lawmakers emphasized the importance of a strong civics education this year during the legislative session. However, Rep. Vernon Smith (D-Gary) said the state could go further.

“I think that we should even add into here the teaching of patriotism again so that we become one nation as we should be, rather than a divided nation,” he said.

READ MORE: IDOE reveals first draft of high school graduation overhaul, set to take effect 2029

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The civic engagement designation will appear on transcripts starting with the class of 2029.

Schools could earn their own designation for excellence in civics education if a certain number of students qualify for the civic engagement designation on their high school diplomas. IDOE will have recommendations for the civics education designation by Dec. 1, 2024.

Kirsten is our education reporter. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.

Kirsten the Indiana Public Broadcasting education reporter. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.