Student council is a curricular or extracurricular activity for students within primary and secondary schools around the world. Present in most public and private K-12 school systems across the United States, 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.
The student council helps share students’ ideas, interests, and concerns with teachers and principals. They often also help raise funds for school-wide activities, including social events, community projects, helping people in need and school reform. For example most schools do food drives, fundraisers and parties. Many members learn skills that were an extension of their formal education.
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."
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 primary 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 a primary school 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. 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 middle school student councils have a constitution of some sort and usually do not have a judicial branch. Compared to elementary school councils, middle and high school councils generally have fewer people.
Student councils usually do not have funding authority and generally must generate their operating funds through fundraisers such as car washes and bake sales. Some student councils have a budget from the school, along with responsibility for funding a variety of student activities within a school.
- "Student Council", Mills Lawn School. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- Fletcher, A. (2005) Meaningful Student Involvement. SoundOut. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- "About the Student Council", Student Council of Ireland. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- "A Journey Through the Student Council School Year œ Elementary Focus", Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- English, U. (1972) "Organizing a Middle School or Junior High School Student Council." National Association of Middle School Principals. ED103795. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- "Fundraising ideas", Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. Retrieved 11/29/07.