North plans to implement two new Seals for students to pursue

North+plans+to+implement+two+new+Seals+for+students+to+pursue

Maxwell Lu

From climate change protests to Black Lives Matter (BLM) marches, students are finding many ways to make a positive change in our world. To commemorate these achievements, members of North’s administration and the school council plan to award a Seal of Social Justice and Seal of Civic Engagement at graduation this year. 

According to principal Henry Turner, the new seals serve as an opportunity for students to receive credit for their work in the community. 

“I think that our students are so involved with a lot of different activities––they are able to collaborate, to problem solve, to think critically, and to organize events,” said Turner. “There is a lot of learning that happens here, and we want to honor this learning by using these seals as an asset when applying to colleges.”

North already offers a seal of biliteracy, which demonstrates proficiency in more than one language.

“In this case, the general idea is that students who demonstrate depth of knowledge in social justice or civic action can apply for one of these new seals,” said Turner. 

Despite the benefits of the seals, senior Coral Lin said that they could be obtained for the wrong reasons. “It’s a good thing that North is trying to recognize people who are involved civically and socially,” said Lin. “But, I find it a bit weird that it is on the transcript. I get that they are trying to make it official, but there might be a better way to do that.”

Senior Shivani Shah said that although the seal is a great idea, the individuals who solely do it for the title will not reap any true benefits. “It’s definitely a step forward in the right direction,” said Shivani. “However, if a seal does require a good deal of work to receive one, those who chase it for the ‘name’ will realize eventually that it’s going to be a rough ride for them as opposed to those who are actually passionate about all of it.”

Turner, English teacher Michelle Leong, and co-presidents of the Center for Civic Engagement and Service (CCES) Claudia Wu and Terry Yoffie are creating rubrics to evaluate students who are interested in pursuing one of the new seals. 

“There are many different ways to demonstrate that commitment, dedication, and reflection to these topics,” said Leong, who helped create the Seal of Social Justice. “The rubric lays out the different types of action you can take. They can be big endeavors such as organizing events like the ‘Infinity March,’ or it can be something on a much smaller scale.”

Leong added that the seals are meant to encourage students to stay active in their communities. “I hope that these seals will encourage more students to engage in specific work and I hope that this serves as another way for students to develop their voices, knowing that they have the power and agency to affect change,” said Leong

The administration has released announcements to families, and is planning to finalize the implementation process soon. “We are moving along faster than we anticipated,” said Turner. “We want to get it done this month because it’s a nice way for students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, to be involved in things.”