Regional & National Programs
NJASC is the official New Jersey state affiliate of the National Association of Student Councils (NASC). A program sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), NASC has been instrumental in student leadership development at the national level since 1931.
Conferences & Award Programs
Click on one of the links below to learn more about participation by NJASC member schools, as well as their student leaders and advisors, in various national and regional leadership programs...
Each year NASC conducts three Leadership Experience and Development (LEAD) Conferences, with one usually in the northeastern United States. LEAD conferences offer students and advisers exciting opportunities to develop their skills and grow as leaders. These rewarding weekend meetings are designed to encourage interstate communication among student leaders and advisers, strengthen leadership skills, and prepare those attending for leadership roles on the local, state, and regional levels.
You can learn more about LEAD Conferences at www.leadconferences.org.
2016 National Conference
The 2016 State Officers will lead our New Jersey delegation to the NASC National Conference, which will be at Century High School in Portland, Oregon. Our trip will be from Thursday June 23 to Tuesday June 28, with the National Conference serving as the centerpiece of our Oregon experience.
If you (or your students) are interested in becoming part of our delegation to this special event, please contact Lou at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Please note that any student who is not a 2016 State Officer MUST have their advisor with them in order to become part of our delegation.
We hope you will consider joining us and the 2016 State Officers as we prepare for our trip to Oregon!
NASC initiated the National Council of Excellence Program in 2006 to recognize outstanding middle level and high school Student Councils that consistently provide quality leadership activities and service to their schools and communities while introducing young students to leadership roles.
Schools that meet a certain number of required criteria and standards, and whom have been active members of NASC for the current and prior year, receive this award. Schools that meet a number of additional standards that demonstrate an even higher level of leadership and activities are designated as National Gold Councils of Excellence.
To learn much more about the NASC National Council of Excellence program and obtain links to their online application, please visit their website at www.nasc.us/national-councils-of-excellence. Please note that membership in NASC - which is separate from that in NJASC - is required to apply for this award.
Since its' inception, several active Student Councils from New Jersey have applied for and received the National Gold Council of Excellence award from NASC. We are proud to recognize the following New Jersey schools that have been recognized with this award for excellence on the National level:
- Bergen County Academies - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- Bordentown Regional High School - 2008, 2009
- Brooklawn Middle School - 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- Cherokee High School - 2009
- Glassboro Intermediate School - 2015
- Hilltop Country Day School - 2013, 2014, 2015
- Hunterdon Central Regional High School - 2013
- Neptune High School - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- Ocean City High School - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
We congratulate each of these schools for achieving this national honor and recognition, and look forward to their continued active participation at the state and national levels through NJASC and NASC!
At the 2014 NASC National Conference at Ocoee High School in Florida, NJASC was named the 2014 winner of the national Ardis Kyker State Service Project Award by the National Association of Student Councils. This award, presented annually, recognizes a State Student Council Association for its successful sponsorship of an outstanding service project that engages its members in support of a common charity or cause. The 2014 State Officers are shown below with this prestigious national award.
In "The NJASC Year of the Hero", New Jersey student leaders worked together with the 2013-2014 State Charity "The HERO Campaign" to raise funds and awareness while seeking to end drunk driving tragedies by promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers. Over 60 percent of NJASC member schools engaged in this project, generating more than 48,000 hours of service while raising nearly $120,000 and registering nearly 10,000 designated driver pledges. Awareness for the need of designated drivers was greatly heightened, with thousands of middle and high school students who planned, organized and participated in various programs to support the "NJASC Year of the Hero" partnership as well as their communities through engagement, education, and publicity. CLICK HERE to learn more about The HERO Campaign, our 2013-2014 State Charity.
To be chosen as an Ardis Kyker Award winner, state associations must clearly articulate their project goals, planning processes, implementation methods and evaluation methods. Project outcomes and the levels to which member student councils participate are also major deciding factors during the judging process.
The award is named for Mrs. Ardis Kyker, who coordinated the state Student Council and National Honor Society associations in Minnesota for more than 20 years and served as a loyal and hard working supporter of the purposes of these student programs. We are proud of our State Charity program, which for over thirty years has raised nearly four million dollars to support a wide variety of worthy causes, and to be the 2014 recipient of this national award!
The New Jersey Association of Student Councils (NJASC) is proud to participate in the “Raising Student Voice & Participation” (RSVP) program. This program enables a process to help encourage more students in your school to build a personal connection with the school community and to participate more effectively in service and learning inside and outside of the school. RSVP training requires the participation of the student council adviser (or other appropriate adviser) and at least two student leaders (sophomores or juniors). Because the RSVP process is intended to reach every student in your school, and because RSVP is a component of comprehensive reform initiatives sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), please review the program with your principal.
We attempt to provide a summary of the RSVP program and process below. If you have more general questions, please visit the RSVP web site at https://www.nasc.us/raising-student-voice-and-participation.
“Engaged student councils can be a principal’s best ally. They can help push reforms that will benefit students; they can develop strategies in answer to student concerns that will help improve school climate. Let them be one of your partners.” - NASSP
What is RSVP?
- Student engagement program sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the National Association of Student Councils (NASC).
- It is easily integrated into existing student council programs. Student council leaders plan and facilitate a series of summits that engage the student body in dialogues and assemble student action teams to carry out plans for resolving concerns identified in the summits.
- RSVP asks students what they care about, what proposals they have for community and school improvement, and what actions can be taken, in cooperation with adults, to implement their ideas for positive change.
Challenges Addressed by RSVP
- Provides principals with a way to utilize the leadership of their student councils to engage students more and personalize their school experience.
- Involves all students and student populations—specifically giving those students who are typically not involved an opportunity to share their voices and participate in civic-based activities.
- Establishes a process and framework for developing and implementing student-directed projects.
- Brings abstract learning to life: “Students who learn about democracy in social studies courses but who fail to see it practiced in the classroom or school are given the message that democracy is a lofty ideal, but it is not for the real world. What is needed then is an approach to citizenship education that will not only prepare students for democratic participation but help them to appreciate the value of democratic institutions”. (Power 1993, p. 190)
- Extends opportunities for leadership and involvement to non-elected students
RSVP Supports School Reform
In the widely recognized high school reform publication, Breaking Ranks II: Strategies for Leading High School Reform, six of the thirty-one recommendations relate to student voice and leadership. RSVP provides your school with a systematic and comprehensive way to begin to address each:
- Promote service programs and student activities as integral to education, providing opportunities for all students that support and extend academic learning.
- Accord meaningful roles in decision making to students…in order to promote student learning and an atmosphere of participation, responsibility and ownership (One specific strategy mentioned to accomplish this: “Provide student government…with opportunities to be included in decisions of substantive issues.”)
- Advocate and model a set of core values essential in a democratic and civil society.
- Connect the curriculum to real-life applications of knowledge and skills to help students link their education to the future
- Promote policies and practices that recognize diversity in accord with the core values of a democratic and civil society
- Develop political and financial relationships with individuals, organization, and businesses to support and supplement educational programs and policies.
How is the Principal Involved in RSVP?
Principal support is crucial. As with most school-based activities programs, NASSP believes that principals have the responsibility to review and approve activities. The principal can also help influence and guide the RSVP process as well as get buy-in from the faculty for the project. In addition, the principal can:
- Be a resource for students by helping students understand community resources available to them.
- Check in regularly with the RSVP Leadership team to hear how the process is working and to learn about any potential issues
- Help sustain the support of local policy-makers and community leaders for the student initiatives as well as invite various community leaders in to serve as consultants to the students.
- Encourage parents to get involved.
- Help students celebrate successful initiatives.
How is the Student Council Adviser Involved in RSVP?
The role of the student council adviser is vitally important. The student council adviser (or another interested faculty member, e.g., a government teacher) oversees all of RSVP’s processes and products and serves as the primary point of contact in the school. The student council or RSVP adviser is also the individual who sets the tone for youth-adult partnerships at the heart of this initiative. Since the project is student-focused and driven, it is important that this individual be prepared to guide the work, not direct it. She or he is wonderfully positioned to ensure that the process gives students both the confidence and skills to develop effective decision-making. The adviser will be the person most able to ensure the contributions of all students, not just a subset of student council or some other segment of the student body.
The student council or RSVP advisers’ responsibilities include:
- Attending a state or regional training and helping familiarize the school community with the resources, training, and information received there
- Working with the Leadership Team to launch RSVP and introduce it to the school and community
- Guiding the work of the school’s RSVP Leadership Team
- Assisting students on the Leadership Team with the Student Facilitator training
- Keeping the rest of the faculty informed about the project and arranging the necessary space and time for student summits.
- Organizing—with the Leadership Team—the presentation of the Civic Action Plan and any end-of-year celebration conducted in the school.
About Region 2
For administrative purposes the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), which sponsors both the National Association of Student Councils (NASC) and National Honor Society (NHS) divides the United States into eight regions. "Region 2" consists of the Mid-Atlantic states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
The New Jersey Association of Student Councils is a proud member of Region 2, which includes the following five state Student Council associations:
- Delaware Association of Student Councils (DASC)
- Maryland Association of Student Councils (MASC)
- New Jersey Association of Student Councils (NJASC)
- New York State Council on Leadership & Student Activities (NYS CLSA)
- Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils (PASC)
Northeastern Leaders Conference
Each Spring the student leaders, advisors, and State Executive Directors from throughout Region 2 come together for an annual conference. At this event there is valuable leadership training, workshops, energizers, roundtables, and social activities that all contribute to a great experience for all.
CLICK HERE to view more information about this year's Northeastern Leaders Conference. The 2010 and 2014 Conferences were hosted by Ocean City High School; this Conference will come to New Jersey again in 2018.
CLICK HERE to visit www.nasc.us, the web site of the National Association of Student Councils.
Region 2 Website
CLICK HERE to visit www.northeastleaders.org, the web site of NASC Region 2.