One of the exciting aspects of School Advisory Councils is that all school stakeholders have an opportunity to learn about and discuss school wide issues. In schools with grades 7-12, at least one student is required to sit on the SAC, allowing for another important voice and perspective to have a seat at the table.
Is your school still in need of a student representative for the SAC? Here are some tips on finding student leaders in your school:
- Identify the students who have leadership roles at school already—they may be student government leaders, student council board members, or presidents of extracurricular activities. Those who like to lead existing groups may be willing to be a student leader on your SAC as well.
- Compile suggestions from teachers about students who take initiative and display leadership qualities within the classroom. Teachers can provide insight from seeing students respond to a variety of situations every day.
- Notice students who point out issues they see at school or in their community. There may be students who are already speaking up about problems they pinpoint and solutions they desire. These observant and opinionated students may be great school SAC representatives.
- Ask students who have strong organizational skills. Whether it be in the classroom or at home, certain students stand out who love organizing materials and taking notes, and this type of student may be just what your SAC needs!
- Give students the opportunity to nominate other student leaders who they see at school. Empowering students to nominate one another—friends, classmates, and peers—can give students increased knowledge and ownership of their school’s SAC. Students may also be further motivated to join the SAC because their friends noticed and nominated them, which is a meaningful and confidence-boosting push.
Students may want to know how sitting on the School Advisory Council can help them in their academic careers. Here are some potential benefits of participating:
- The student representatives can advocate for their peers’ voices and opinions about their school. They can talk about issues that really matter to their peers and things that students think about, which a student may be able to represent better than anyone else.
- Being a part of their SAC can help build leadership skills. Being a part of their SAC can help students learn organizational skills, how to express themselves, how to share their opinions with others, and what effective voting and decision-making look like within a team.
- As students take part in their SAC, they may make further connections with parents, community members, and teachers who can open up future opportunities for leadership. The adults who students network with through the SAC may be able to help students connect to other projects or volunteer opportunities beyond the school.
- On a practical level, because of the commitment required and the knowledge that is gained through being a part of a SAC, students can add that to their resumes and future college or job applications.
- One of the greatest benefits of being a part of their SAC is that students can be a part of influencing real changes around their school. Students can suggest and help implement initiatives that can positively change their schools or communities.