What is the National Student Council Emerging Student Leader program?
The National Student Council Emerging Student Leader program is a recognition program created by National Student Council to identify outstanding individual middle level student council leaders. Students who earn the Emerging Student Leader designation will have demonstrated their personal leadership abilities and met the skills and criteria established by National Student Council. The program is founded on the principles of National Student Council and provides broad recognition for the worthiest middle level student leaders. Unlike scholarships or recognitions that have limited numbers of winners, all student council leaders in National Student Council-affiliated middle level schools who successfully meet the criteria will be recognized by National Student Council and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the parent organization of National Student Council.

What is the history of the Emerging Student Leader program?
National Student Council has historically promoted excellence in student leadership through its conferences, training programs, and resources that advisers can use to help students develop their leadership skills. Today, National Student Council programs feature both student and adult-led workshops on a variety of leadership skills and topics. Schools throughout the country currently use National Student Council materials and content in their leadership curricula and student council activities.

National Student Council currently has standards for student councils and sponsors the Distinguished Student Leader Program, which identifies outstanding individual student leaders at the high school level. Now, the Emerging Student Leaders program will provide an opportunity for middle level students to earn their own recognition for exemplary leadership. Through this program, we aim to define a set of basic skills and knowledge for which middle level students can demonstrate proficiency.

Who can apply for designation?
The National Student Council Emerging Student Leader program is a service to our member schools with active NASC affiliation status. Students eligible to participate must be in middle level schools, schools that include the middle grades, or other schools (home/virtual) in the middle grades and be on student council, enrolled in a leadership class, or have a leadership role in another school club or team.

How long does the application process take?
The length of time needed to meet the criteria will vary from student to student—some of the criteria may be met quickly while other areas will take longer. The point of where a student’s leadership competency is at the start of the program will also factor into how many criteria may already have been met. On average, it is expected that students will take two or more semesters to earn one or both levels of recognition.

What is the deadline?
There is no annual deadline for advisers to submit names to recognize students. However, the Emerging Student Leader program must be completed, and student names submitted before they end their final academic year in the middle grades. Students may begin working on the criteria in one academic year and finish in another.

What is the goal of the National Student Council Emerging Student Leader program?
We created the National Student Council Emerging Student Leader program to give schools a tool that will not only enhance and improve their efforts to introduce leadership concepts and develop middle level student leaders, but one that will motivate students to deepen their interest in growing as leaders while working to earn national recognition.

How do students become Emerging Student Leaders?
Students earn national recognition through a structured application process that is part of the National Student Council Emerging Student Leader program. After downloading the Emerging Student Leader Skills Checklist, advisers will work with their students to track the required number of indicators in each of the core areas defined in the program. Students will also respond to written reflection questions related to each of the core areas. Final assessment of each applicant’s submissions will be completed by the student council adviser. Those found to have met the criteria will be submitted to the national office and declared Emerging Student Leaders. Click here to submit your winners.

The eight categories of skills covered in the Emerging Student Leaders program include:

  1. Governing Documents
  2. Follower Skills
  3. Leader Skills
  4. Listener Skills
  5. Speaker Skills
  6. Writing Skills
  7. Power Skills
  8. Service Skills

Click here for more information about how to earn the Emerging Student Leader designation.

Do individual students work on the Emerging Student Leader program, or must it be done as a group activity?
Advisers have the option to foster their whole councils through the Emerging Leaders program in a more instructional way or challenge students voluntarily work for the recognition and provide encouragement and guidance as necessary.

What are the two tiers of the Emerging Student Leader recognition?
The program features two levels of recognition. The first tier, Emerging Student Leader—Developmental Level, recognizes students who meet the required criteria in any four of the eight core areas. Students recognized at the second tier, Emerging Student Leader, will have met the required criteria in six of the eight core areas. Advisers with leadership classes or councils that meet frequently may choose to raise the criteria requirement for the second tier to be seven or eight core areas. The criteria requirements may not be lowered below the established number for each level.

Can advisers designate the Developmental Level for younger council members and let the older students continue through both levels of the Emerging Leaders program?
Yes. Advisers have the latitude to structure the student progression in ways that best fit their council programs and students.

What will it mean for a student to be recognized as a National Student Council Emerging Student Leader?
Students who successfully earn the designation will not only experience the personal satisfaction of having achieved national recognition, but they will also have taken strides towards advancing their capacity to apply their leadership skills more effectively. For the school and student council, having one or more students recognized is a testament to the commitment and success of the student council program for developing and training student leaders. These middle level students have shown their commitment to personal growth and have developed a foundation that will guide them throughout the next phases of their academic and leadership journeys—including bringing them closer to achieving the NASC Distinguished Student Leader designation during their high school years.

What do Emerging Student Leaders receive from National Student Council?
All Emerging Student Leaders receive an official certificate and official letter of commendation from NASC and NASSP.

We also encourage schools and student councils to announce and celebrate this achievement with the student body, faculty, administration, school board, and community. National Student Council provides tips for public relations in the Adviser Resource Center on the NASC website.

We wish you all the best as your middle level student leaders work hard to become National Student Council Emerging Student Leaders!