Today’s communities demand more than just fulfillment of graduation requirements from their schools. They demand, quite rightly, that schools produce students who are ready—ready for college, citizenship, and whatever career path they choose. That goal calls for a revised skill set of student self-efficacy. Students must be able to advocate for themselves and for others, and they must be skillful and thoughtful questioners, in addition to responsible responders.

School curricula are gradually responding to this new reality. Yet, we know so many of these skills develop as well in a “co-curriculum” of activities and athletics. In this context, NASSP conducted extensive research and a thorough review of our long-standing student council program. Our analysis led to the relaunch (and renaming) of National Student Council—or NatStuCo—which will further empower students to participate actively and constructively in the life of their school to amplify student voice.

As a centerpiece, council members will see a revamped Raising Student Voice & Participation (RSVP) program. This new version provides a template for schoolwide conversation designed to identify and address pressing issues in the school or local community. The relaunch also offers a career exploration webcast series, an updated National Student Project Database, and specialized resources for middle-level students.

We have always known that a strong student council requires an effective, dedicated adviser. A great student council adviser is a national treasure—typically a fully subscribed teacher who voluntarily commits to promoting student leadership and service while amplifying student voice and engagement. NASSP wants to help advisers toward that goal any way we can.

Today’s advisers want a way to connect with each other, our research revealed, and to readily access tools for managing their councils. So, we have vastly enhanced the Adviser Resource Center and created a new adviser starter kit to give novice advisers the best possible start. An adviser leadership webcast series and the Adviser Online Community provide these dedicated professionals a platform to ask questions and share best practices.

With the right support and guidance, there is no limit to what our students can achieve. That belief drives NASSP, and these resources are just our most recent investment in that success. As always, I look forward to seeing how student councils will advance the active school and community participation of these students-the leaders not just of tomorrow, but of today as well.

JoAnn Bartoletti
Executive Director, NASSP