What is the Student Council? -
What is the Erwin Street Elementary Student Council?
Our Student Council is a group of students who come up with ideas to make our school better. The students at our school elect Council Members who they think will represent them best. Each member of the Student Council gets the opportunity to actively participate in schoolwide activities, make decisions, and see democracy in action.
Who is on the Council?
Each 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom elects a classroom representative (and an alternate as a backup). Also, all grades (PK-5) may vote for the school's President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, who must be 5th graders. Mr. Zwick is the faculty advisor.
Why is this good for students?
Elected student leaders gain responsibility, experience working as a team, increased pride in their school, and a chance to interact with their fellow students in making decisions and debating issues. This is the ultimate chance to become an excellent citizen.
What does the Council do?
The Council chooses its own goals after discussing ideas with the classrooms they represent. The Council might create publicity about school events, promote school pride, start fundraising programs or other school events and activities.
What does the Council President do?
He or she runs the Student Council meetings and represents the council at different events. He or she may also take on other important school duties, such as leading the Pledge of Allegiance and Peace Builder's Pledge, or greeting and accompanying guests when they come to our school. He/she also can break a tie vote among Council Members.
What does the Vice President do?
He or she fills in when the President is absent. The Vice President also participates in the Council meetings and may assist the President, too.
What does the Secretary do?
He or she writes down what goes on at the meetings (taking minutes), reports at each meeting what happened at the previous one, and keeps track of attendance.
What does the Treasurer do?
He or she keeps a written record of money earned and spent by the Student Council.
What do the Classroom Representatives and their alternates do?
The Classroom Representatives attend Student Council meetings. They also bring ideas and suggestions from their class members to the meetings. They report information back to their class and to a kindergarten, 1st grade, or 2nd grade classroom. They also help with projects for the Student Council and the school.
When and where does the Student Council meet?
The Council usually meets on the first Monday of each month at 10:45 in Mr. Zwick's class, room 31. Members may also be called upon to work on various projects or activities, which will usually be outside of class time.
What do I do if I want to run for a Classroom Representative position?
If you are in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade, you may run for a Council Representative position. Your teacher will decide if you need to write a letter or a speech explaining why you would be a good Council Representative, or your teacher may limit who may run for the position based on who he/she thinks deserves it the most. Your teacher will hold an election for Classroom Representative in class on Friday, October 9th.
What do I do if I want to run for President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer?
If you are in 5th grade, you may run for President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer. This year, however, we will only allow one candidate from each 5th grade classroom for each position. Why? Last year, the assembly and speeches just took way too long, and students were confused by all the choices. So on Friday, September 25th, your teacher (5th grade only) will have your classroom nominate four people - one for President, one for Vice President, one for Secretary, and one for Treasurer. You will then have all weekend (plus Monday) to do three things: create a poster (normal size), write a 30-second speech about why you should be elected, and bring the permission form back, signed by your teacher and parent. You will turn all three things in on Tuesday, September 29th, to Mr. Zwick. If they are not both turned in by the end of the school day that Tuesday, you will no longer be eligible and your class will not be able to nominate someone else for that position. You will get your speech back so you can practice, and then you will speak at the Monday Morning Assembly, October 5th. The schoolwide election will be Friday, October 9th.
Can a person lose his/her position?
It is up to your teacher and Mr. Zwick to decide if you are able to keep your position. If you are disruptive in class or during Council Meetings or are falling behind in your work, for example, you may lose your position.
If I am elected but I don't like the job, can I quit?
When you decide to be on the School Council, you are making a commitment. It is for the entire school year. Make sure before you run for the position that you are sure it's something you'll want to do all year long.
What do I do when I miss classwork?
That is up to your teacher. However, most teachers will require that you find out whatever work or lesson you missed and turn it in the following day. If you don't think you can keep up with the extra workload, this job is not for you.
What about the primary grades?
Most elementary schools do not include the primary grades directly in the Student Council. However, all Erwin students are important to the process. Each elected Council Representative will be assigned a kindergarten, 1st grade, or 2nd grade class. He/she will go to that class and explain (in primary-friendly language) what the Council talked about, and will also get feedback from those students to pass on at the next meeting. Additionally, even students in primary grades can vote for the school's President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Did the Student Council even do anything last year?
First of all, a lot of the fun of the Student Council experience is learning to share ideas, to think critically, and to work through problems, even if no huge event happens. However, last year the Student Council raised $100 through its recycling program (with your help) and decided to save that money for this year. They also proposed and discussed many ideas that they ended up deciding not to move forward with. They got the chance to meet with our school principal, plant manager, and to include the whole school in the process.
Teachers Only -
This is exciting, but how much time will this take up?
That's great that you're so excited, and thanks for sharing. Don't worry. You can make this as small or as big a part of your curriculum as you wish.
For the classroom elections, if you want to develop it into some sort of project that might even cross over into Social Studies, great. This whole process has a ton of potential for extension activities. But if that's not for you, you can easily have the kids nominate and elect a student for the Council in less than five minutes.
When your Representative returns to the classroom to report on the Council Meeting, you can decide to have your students take notes, ask questions, etc. Or, you can give the Representative two minutes to sum up what happened. And again, this is only once a month anyway.
The elected members will be absent from your classroom for an hour each month for the meeting, and possibly more for other activities. They will also need to report back to a Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade class. If you have students running for office that will not be able to keep up with classwork and make up what they missed, you might decide this is not right for them. However, we will try to limit any activities besides the monthly meeting and reporting session to recess, lunch, and before/after school.
Election Rules -
1. If a student wishes to run for any position, including classroom representative, he must have teacher approval.
2. The student must be a good citizen, as judged by his/her teacher.
3. The student must complete any additional activity that their teacher may require for running in the election.
4. Students must make up all work that they miss in their class while participating in Council activities.
5. If a candidate misses a deadline or breaks an election rule, they may be disqualified from running for an office.
Additional Rules for President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer
1. The President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer must be in 5th grade.
2. Candidates for President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer must submit their name on the attached sheet with parent and teacher signature, a speech (maximum 30 seconds long), and a poster by the due date. Don't attach pieces of paper together to make a larger than normal poster, as that would not be fair. The posters will be hung up in a fair way so that no one gets a better spot than another.
3. Candidates must run their campaign in a fair and honest manner. They may not put down other candidates. If a candidate has a question about whether he/she can do something, check with Mr. Zwick.
4. Candidates may not have buttons, extra posters, flyers, etc. They may not promise things that cost money, or give out candy, gum, etc.
5. Candidates may be disqualified from running if they break a rule.
Election Schedule -
Friday, September 25th
Fifth Grade Nominations
Classes nominate one person for each of the following positions: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Those nominees get a Permission Form to take home.
Tuesday, September 29th
Fifth Grade Speeches, Posters, and Permission Forms Due
Candidates for President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary must turn in their speeches, posters, and permission forms with parent and teacher signature to Mr. Zwick, Room 31, by 2:19. No late submissions will be accepted. Speeches will be screened, and then returned later in the week.
Monday, October 5th
Fifth Grade Speeches
Fifth Grade candidates for President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary will have no more than 30 seconds to deliver their speech at today's Monday Morning assembly.
Friday, October 9th
Council Representatives and Alternate Representatives
Classrooms in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades elect a Council Representative and an Alternate Representative. The teacher may decide what students can run for the position based upon work habits, behavior, etc. The teacher may want to have students give speeches, write essays, debate school issues, etc. before conducting a classroom vote. The runner up is the Alternate and will attend meetings only when the Representative is absent. Send the Council Representatives sheet to Mr. Zwick in Room 31 by 2:19.
Also, a voting booth will be set up in the quad at recess, where all Erwin students may vote for President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Provided there is enough time, results will be announced over the P.A. in the afternoon.
Monday, October 12th
The new members of Erwin Street Student Council officially begin their duty. At 10:45, Classroom Representatives, President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, meet with Mr. Zwick in Room 31.