Why apply to be a National Council of Excellence?

All National Councils of Excellence have demonstrated a proficiency and quality in their programs that were measured against standards developed by the National Student Council, which is a program of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

A Student Council recognized as a National Council of Excellence receives national recognition, including an official letter and certificate from National Student Council and NASSP. NASSP also provides a press template that schools can use with local media to announce and explain the recognition that has been bestowed on their student councils. We also encourage you to announce and celebrate this achievement with your student body, faculty, administration, school board, and community. NatStuCo even provides tips for public relations, which can be found on our website at www.NatStuCo.org.

NatStuCo has created specially designed recognition items to publicly honor your student council, its members, and adviser. Among the items are pins and school banners that are designed to attach a special National Council of Excellence banner strip each year that your council earns the award. Just as you honor your sports teams and others, NatStuCo encourages you to give your student council the recognition it deserves for providing your school with outstanding student leadership.

We wish you all the best as your student council accepts the challenge to become a National Student Council National Council of Excellence!

What is the National Student Council National Council of Excellence Award?

The National Council of Excellence is national award program created by NatStuCo to recognize student councils that maintain strong year-round programs and work to improve their schools and communities through their leadership activities. The award is founded on the principles of NatStuCo and provides broad recognition for the most worthy efforts of NatStuCo member councils. Unlike scholarships and other recognitions that have limited numbers of winners, all councils meeting the determined criteria in this application will receive the appropriate award.

Why does National Student Council Sponsor a National Council of Excellence Award?

In different schools, student councils look different. They have different purposes and are structured in ways that best serve their students and fit into the curriculum and schedule of each school. Despite their differences, the core role of student councils in schools continues to be that of serving the student body as a conduit for the expression of their ideas and catalyst for engaging students in student-led projects and activities.

When can we expect to hear whether or not we earned the award?

Those applying for a National Council of Excellence Award can expect to receive word from National Student Council between late March and early April. The full list of winners is posted on the NatStuCo website during National Student Leadership Week. This notification allows sufficient time for winners’ schools and school districts to formally recognize their student councils before or during end of year celebrations.

Who can apply and how much does it cost?

All middle and high school student councils that are current members of National Student Council and that were members the previous year may apply for the award. The only cost to the school is the cost of NatStuCo membership.

What happens to our application once it is received by National Student Council?

The NCOE award includes site-based evaluation to engage principals in a thorough, annual review of their student council organizations. The on-site evaluation is the primary assessment of the portfolio; the award indicators create a comprehensive picture of the council’s activities, successes, strengths, and weaknesses.

The NCOE online application automatically checks for active NatStuCo membership status and will alert the user of inactive or nonmember status during the application process.

Once an application is received at NatStuCo, it is processed in the following ways:

  1. Award Level Earned is determined via checked indicators and signatures.
  2. Projects listed on applications are verified for their approval in the National Student Project Database.
  3. Successful applications are entered into the winners’ database to receive notification and recognition materials.

What is the role of the principal in the National Council of Excellence application process?

The principal has two direct responsibilities in the application process. The first happens when the student council has completed its portfolio of evidence for the award. Council members will need to schedule a meeting with the principal for the purpose of presenting and reviewing the portfolio for principal evaluation. Following that meeting, the council will complete the online application which includes an email invitation to the principal to add their validation of the council’s achieving recognition.

Sample Principal Letter of Recommendation