High School Criteria

To earn the National Council of Excellence Award, a high school student council must present evidence of meeting the 23 Required Indicators.

To earn the National Gold Council of Excellence Award, a high school council must present evidence of meeting the 23 Required indicators and a minimum of 26 Additional indicators.

Required Evidence (23 Indicators)

To become a National Council of Excellence at the high school level, the 23 below indicators must be met.

I. Governance

  • Governing Documents
    1. A constitution and/or set of bylaws exist and are used to govern the council.
    2. Each council member receives a copy of the constitution/bylaws and a copy is available on the Web or in the school’s media center where others may review the documents.
    3. Evidence of student-led activities and meetings.
  • Elections
    1. Evidence of annual elections that include activities found in civic elections.
    2. Written election rules and/or campaign procedures.
    3. There is a written process for ballot counting and announcing election results.
  • Meetings
    1. Copy of student council meeting calendar or list of meeting dates.
    2. Evidence that Parliamentary Procedures are regularly used during meetings.

II. Service

  • Participation in Service
    1. Evidence of a council-sponsored service project that promotes full student body participation.
  • Serving the Community
    • Evidence of a community service project.

III. General Activities and Operations

  • Spirit and Social Activities
    1. Examples of two spirit or social activities.
    2. Evidence of an activity that highlights the diversity in the student body, or evidence of an activity that appeals to different student audiences.
  • Council Operations
    1. Copy of student council budget.
    2. Example of council role or membership report.
    3. Evidence of meetings with the principal or designee.
    4. Evidence of student council participation on a school-level committee, or evidence of student council participation on a district-level committee or school board.
  • Fundraising
    1. Evidence of a council-sponsored fundraising project. (A charitable collection project may be substituted if fundraising is not an allowed council activity.)
  • Leadership Training
    1. Evidence of participation in two or more leadership training sessions by all council members.
    2. Evidence of adviser participation in professional development session on student council or leadership.
  • Communications
    1. Example of a student council memo, announcement, or video broadcast.

IV. Civic Engagement and Student Voice

  • Civic Based Activities
    1. Sample of council materials explaining an activity or project’s civic connection, or evidence of classroom instruction explaining the civic connections of council activities.
  • Student Voice
    1. Evidence of student council activities that provide a forum for student opinions and ideas.
    2. Evidence of at-large student participation on student council committees.

Additional Evidence

To earn Gold status, 26 of the following additional indicators must be met.

I. Governance

  • Governing Documents
    1. Evidence of review, changes, or updates to the Constitution or bylaws, or minutes from a meeting of the Officers or a Constitution/Bylaws committee.
  • Elections
    1. Involvement or contribution by local Board of Elections officials through information resources, presentations, or direct assistance.
    2. Use of voting machines or online voting for school elections.
    3. Student council elections include voter registration, voting precincts, or other characteristics of local/state elections.
  • Meetings
    1. Samples of two meeting agendas and a description of how they are shared with the student body and faculty.
    2. Evidence of at-large student participation on student council committees or in other supportive roles.

II. Service

  • Serving the School
    1. Evidence of promoting service to members and others.
    2. Evidence of a service project that benefits the school.
    3. List of school needs identified by the student council that were considered as possibilities for a service project.
  • Serving the Community
    1. Evidence of a student generated list of community needs.
    2. Evidence of involvement by community leaders or groups with a council-sponsored service or service learning project.
  • Service Learning
    1. Evidence of council support for a service learning project in the school.
    2. Evidence of service learning features in a student council service project, including planning, action, reflection, and celebrating success.

III. General Activities and Operations

  • Spirit and Social Activities
    1. Evidence in activity advertisements, goals, or statement of purpose that demonstrates the promotion of positive social behaviors and camaraderie.
    2. Evidence of an activity that aids in the transition of younger students into the middle level grades.
    3. Evidence of an activity designed to engage new students and welcome them to the student body.
  • Council Operations
    1. Copy of student council budget.
    2. Copy of treasurer’s report or meeting minutes showing finance activities.
    3. Copy of council membership roll.
    4. Evidence of a scrap book or similar historical record of council activities.
    5. Evidence of student council participation on a school-level committee.
    6. Evidence of student council participation on a school or district-level committee or school board.
    7. Copy of a student survey given during the current or previous school year.
    8. Copy of a project or activity evaluation used with the student body.
    9. Evidence of active membership with a district, state, or regional student council organization.
  • Fundraising
    1. Copy of project revenues and contributions report.
    2. Evidence of pre-project research on potential charities.
    3. List of reputable charitable groups and organizations considered by the student council.
  • Leadership Training
    1. Evidence of adviser participation in a professional development session on student council or leadership.
    2. Evidence of attendance or participation in officer training.
    3. Sample of a leadership lesson or skill building activity.
  • Communications
    1. Evidence of council members’ writing or oral presentations.
    2. Copy of student council submission for publication or presentation (print or electronic media).
  • Building a Positive School Climate
    1. Evidence of an activity that contributes to the development of a positive school climate.
    2. Evidence of an activity that fosters positive relations between faculty/staff and students.
    3. Evidence of engaging or collaborating with a parent group connected to the school, such as PTA, PTO, boosters, etc.
  • Responsible Social Media Use
    1. Example of using social media in an effective and responsible manner to communicate with council members and the student body.
    2. Evidence of responsibly using social media to promote council activities.

IV. Civic Engagement and Student Voice

  • Civic-Based Activities
    1. Evidence of involvement by community leaders or agencies in a council project or activity.
    2. Evidence of a council officer presentation to a civic board or committee, such as the school board, city or county board/committee, or civic club.

V. Other Council Activities

  • Local and State Involvement
    1. Evidence of introducing or applying skills, knowledge, or ideas that were learned while attending a local or state event.
    2. Student council hosts or participates in a joint activity with another school.
  • Other Leadership Training
    1. Evidence of regular leadership training activities for student council members.
    2. Evidence of leadership training provided to other clubs or to the general population of the student body.
    3. Evidence of council members sharing their leadership skills by leading a training session or activity with younger students from a feeder school.