Student council is a curricular or extra-curricular activity for students within grade schools around the world. Present in most public and private K-12 school systems across the United States, Canada and Australia these bodies are alternatively entitled student council, student government, Associated Student Body, Student Activity Council, Student Council Association or S.C.A. Student councils often serve to engage students in learning about democracy and leadership, as originally espoused by John Dewey in Democracy and Education (1917). The first democratically elected student council in the United States was established at the Loomis Chaffee school in Windsor, CT. This curricular activity has been around since the 1920's.
Student councils operate in many forms. There are representative-based and modeled loosely after the U.S. Congress, or based on the Executive Branch of the United States, with a President, Vice-President, secretary, treasurer, and reporter. In this form student representatives and officers are usually elected from and by the student body, although there may be prerequisites for candidacy or suffrage. In elementary schools, there are typically one or two student representatives per classroom and one presiding set of officers. However, many secondary schools have one set of officers per grade level.
An example of the structure of an elementary student council may include a president, a vice president, secretary, treasurer, sergeant of arms, fundraising officer and historian. These roles may be assigned or voted on, either within the student council or by the entire student body. They may also reflect descending grade-levels, with the president in the oldest grade, and so forth. Secondary school governments often have more independence and power than younger governments. Often a student government is overseen by a sponsor, which is usually a teacher at that particular school. Most junior or middle school student councils have a...
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