Sealing the Deal: The Ultimate Guide to Diploma Seals

Mortarboard and Diploma

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Mortarboard and Diploma

Kaylee Powell, Staff Writer

Whenever it’s time for students to choose their classes for the next school year, the topic of diploma seals are usually presented by counseloring for a minute or two and then they’re onto the next topic. Students know that they are important, but what is a diploma seal?

“Diploma seals are seals students earn as a distinguishment for an accomplishment,” said Chamblee counselor Wylene Claudman. But what does that mean? What are they?

The four main diploma seals students can aim towards are college prep, career technology, honors/distinction, and civil engagement. On top of these diploma seals, there is a fine arts diploma seal and bi-literacy seal, as well as others. Each seal is broken down below to help students plan their high school career. Students can also receive multiple diploma seals, so long as they don’t overlap.

College Preparatory Seal

Career Technology Seal

  • 1 unit of same foreign language
  • 3 units/years or career tech electives in the same pathway (CTAE Department)
  • No minimum GPA

Honors/Distinction Seal

  • 3 units/years of the same foreign language
  • 3.5 cumulative GPA
  • 3.0 Core GPA

Civil Engagement Seal

This seal is new to Chamblee.

    • Finish 4 units/years of social studies (Social Studies Department)
    • Take and pass the American Government Basic Skills Test. This test is taken at the end of the school year by all students taking civics and/or AP U.S. Government
  • Complete 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities
    • Students can start counting volunteer hours the summer prior to their 9th grade year. You can accumulate hours through other Chamblee volunteer clubs.
    • A minimum of 15 hours must be obtained participating in civic engagement activities. This link includes some civic engagement activities.
    • Any student who enlists the United States Military prior to graduation will have to complete 50 volunteer hours.
  •  Students must present a capstone portfolio on the knowledge gained in social studies and/or civics/government related courses and activities listed above
  • Seniors must have all steps completed before February 17, 2022
  • Extra Forms:

Bi-Literacy Seal

“Students can [also] earn a biliteracy seal. That is [for]  students passing an AP course and proficient in the AP level of their world language,” said Claudman.

  • At least three years of language credits
  • A score of three or higher on the matching language AP test

Fine Arts Diploma Seal

“The fine arts diploma seal covers visual arts, performing arts and musical arts. So [the music department] process is largely identical to a visual arts process,” said Chamblee band teacher Colleen Marin.

The process for receiving this seal is the same as many other pathways.

  • At least three years of credits in the student’s pathway (performing arts, musical arts, or visual arts)
  • 20 hours of artistic service hours
  • For the music specific seal, a musical performance is also required
  • Final essay and presentation

“You start with actually taking the classes. Then in senior year, you fill out this form that says, I’m interested, I’ve done 20 hours of musical service basically, which for music can extend from concerts, to peer tutoring, to playing at a nursing home,” said Marin. “Then, you have a performance.”

“After the performance you write an essay about to accompany that performance. [Essays are about] what has that music class meant to you? Why is it pertinent to your life? What has it affected in your life? What has it taught you outside of music, all that kind of stuff,” continued Marin.

After students write their essay, they have one more step and that’s the presentation. Students who are interested in receiving this seal are encouraged to join Marin’s Google Classroom.

“I made a Google Classroom for [the information] so that all the students who want to get it have access to all the information. Lots of students are interested this year,” said Marin.

What Should You Know?

The pathways listed above aren’t the only diploma seals though, there’s one for just about every pathway, so talk to your pathway teacher or counselor if you’re unsure. If you are ever unsure of which diploma seal path you’re on, you can easily check on Infinite Campus by clicking the “Academic Plan” on the left side of the screen.

“On Infinite Campus it will say what diploma track [you’re] on. You will see if it’s a college prep, CTAE [Career Tech], or if they see college prep with humanities, that means their elective courses are in the humanities areas: fine arts,” said Claudman.

To find this information, log into Infinite Campus, then click academic plan (Kaylee Powell’s diploma seal)

With all the talk about diploma seals, it’s important to remember they are not the end all be all of diplomas and aren’t required for graduation.

“Diploma seals are not required to graduate, however the elective credits [you get from taking a pathway] are required to graduate,” said Claudman.

Even though they’re not required to graduate, it’s a nice addition to the diploma, especially when students are already involved in a pathway or foreign language.

“The benefits of completing a pathway [is that it shows the] accomplishment [of] getting to a proficient level in their respective pathway,” said Claudman.

Students who took classes at Fernbank and Cross Keys are able to get their pathway seals through these programs as well.

“[Cross Keys and Fernbank classes are] part of their pathway seal, so for Cross Keys because of the different courses that they take there, they’re able to earn their area[‘s seal] earlier, because [they will earn] one full credit per semester,” said Claudman.

In order to receive the pathway seal, it’s important that students follow three years of one CTAE path, so choosing a career you’re interested in early on is important. It’s also possible to earn multiple diploma seals.

“I would encourage [students choosing their next classes] to select the pathway that they really are interested in and work towards completing that. Now we have had students that actually complete two pathways, because the options for electives are more open after freshman year. I would encourage them to pick their pathway early,” said Claudman.

The most critical thing to remember when selecting your next classes is to stay on path.

“Make sure that they are working towards […] staying on track for graduation. Because if not, then they’ll end up having to retake courses which limit the number of electives that they could take,” said Claudman.

More information on diploma seals can be found on the chamblee counselor’s website and about 7:15 into their video.