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.

A Student Council recognized as a National Council of Excellence receives national recognition, including an official email with a dated NCOE Seal 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 publicizing your activities, which can be found in the Adviser Resource Center 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 a 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 four tenets of NatStuCo (Leadership, Service, Engagement and Student Voice) 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 dialogue, student-led projects and activities.

When can we expect to know 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 in early April. The full list of winners is posted on the NatStuCo website as part of the National Student Leadership Week celebration. 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 are eligible to apply for the award. There is no cost to apply.

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

The NCOE award process includes site-based evaluation that engages principals in a thorough, annual review of their student council organizations. The on-site evaluation is the primary assessment of the council’s NCOE portfolio; meeting the award indicators creates 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 when a user begins the application.

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

  1. Award Level Earned is confirmed.
  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 and reflect on the council guided by a short response question.

How do I know if the projects I entered into the National Student Project Database for the NCOE award were approved?

First confirm the email address listed on the project entry form. Search the database using the name of your school as the search filter. Projects that appear in your search list have been approved. If you do not see the project in question, send an email to [email protected] that includes the name of your school, project title and approximate date of entry if known.

Who can view projects listed in the National Student Project Database?

Although the adviser or any member of your student council can enter projects to the database, you must be logged into an account with permission to view projects listed in the database. NatStuCo advisers have access by default, but students can also gain access by creating a NatStuCo student account. The adviser will receive an e-mail and must verify that the student is a member of their school’s student council before the student has access to view projects in the database.

Who can complete the online application for National Council of Excellence?

Student councils can designate one adviser or student with a verified NatStuCo account to complete the application on behalf of their student council. Once started, the application can only be accessed and submitted by the user who started it. The application may be accessed for review and editing at any time prior to submission. The designated adviser or verified student can sign into the online application portal using the same login credentials as for the NatStuCo website.

How often can a student council apply for National Council of Excellence?

Student councils can apply annually for the National Council of Excellence Award. Each application cycle represents a unique one-year period for your student council which is deserving of recognition. Student councils often find that after earning their first award, they are able to identify specific areas of opportunity as a result of self-reflection and open dialogue. The award not only recognizes the accomplishments of the past, but can promote growth, awareness, and student voice as integral element of the student council’s culture.