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Student Council is a curricular or extra-curricular activity for students within grade schools around the world. Present in most public and private K-12 school systems across the United States, Canada and Australia these bodies are alternatively entitled student council, student government, Associated Student Body, Student Activity Council, Student Council Association or S.C.A. Student councils often serve to engage students in learning about democracy and leadership, as originally espoused by John Dewey in Democracy and Education (1917). The first democratically elected student council in the United States was established at the Loomis Chaffee school in Windsor, CT.

Contents

About

The student council helps share students’ ideas, interests, and concerns with teachers and school principals. They often also help raise funds for school-wide activities, including social events, community projects and school reform. For example most schools do food drives.[1][2] Many members learn skills that were an extension of their formal education - a few notables include Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, Marisol Deluna and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

According to Several Schools:

"A Student Council is a representative structure for students only, through which they can become involved in the affairs of the school, working in partnership with school management, staff and parents for the benefit of the school and its students."[3]

Officers

Function

Student councils operate in many forms. There are representative-based and modeled loosely after the U.S. Congress, or based on the Executive Branch of the United States, with a President, Vice-President, secretary, treasurer, and reporter. In this form student representatives and officers are usually elected from and by the student body, although there may be prerequisites for candidacy or suffrage. In elementary schools, there are typically one or two student representatives per classroom and one presiding set of officers. However, many secondary schools have one set of officers per grade level.

An example of the structure of an elementary student council may include a president, a vice president, secretary, treasurer, sergeant of arms, fundraising officer and historian. These roles may be assigned or voted on, either within the student council or by the entire student body. They may also reflect descending grade-levels, with the president in the oldest grade, and so forth.[4] Secondary school governments often have more independence and power than younger governments. Often a student government is overseen by a sponsor, which is usually a teacher at that particular school. Most junior or middle school student councils have a constitution of some sort and usually do not have a judicial branch.[5] Compared to elementary school councils, junior high and high school councils generally have fewer people.

In some schools each class is assigned a class representative who passes on requests, ideas, or complaints to the student council from students in their class.

Student councils usually do not have funding authority and generally must generate their operating funds through fundraisers such as car washes and bake sales.[6] Some student councils have a budget from the school, along with responsibility for funding a variety of student activities within a school.

Regional and national structures

Student councils can join larger associations, and in the United States, the National Association of Student Councils. In Canada, the Canadian Association of Student Activity Advisors coordinates the national scene[7], and in the United Kingdom an organization called Student Councils UK provides training, support and coordination for the nation's student councils[8]

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United States

Finland

Secondary high schools, lukio, and vocational schools in Finland have student councils. They incorporate all the students of the institution but their status is marginal, locally and nationally. Legislation demands that they should be heard in all matters pertaining to the education in the institution, but this is often not done.

Ireland

Since 1998 in Ireland there has been sustained development of student councils in post primary schools. In 2001 the Union of Secondary Students was founded as the National Umbrella body to organize and coordinate the national campaign efforts of the student councils. The Union of Secondary Students has a membership of 13% of post primary students in the Republic of Ireland, and the number is increasing.

Norway

All schools in Norway are required by law to have a student council elected by the students. The aim of student council is usually to improve their school through encouraging social, cultural and other extracurricular events in the local community. The student councils in Norway are governed by a Board of Directors which is either elected directly or by the student council.

Singapore

In Singapore many secondary schools have a student council, which provides a medium for communication between the students and the school administration, a form of student welfare, and an important event-organising body.

Spain

The most of the universities in Spain have a student council, which are regulated by law. Some of the basic points are the 24% of student representation in the board. Each university council is elected by universal suffrage of the students.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Student Council", Mills Lawn School. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  2. ^ Fletcher, A. (2005) Meaningful Student Involvement. SoundOut. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  3. ^ "About the Student Council", Student Council of Ireland. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  4. ^ "A Journey Through the Student Council School Year œ Elementary Focus", Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  5. ^ English, U. (1972) "Organizing a Middle School or Junior High School Student Council." National Association of Middle School Principals. ED103795. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  6. ^ "Fundraising ideas", Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  7. ^ CASAA. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  8. ^ Student Councils UK. Retrieved 11/29/07.

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