P-A-R-T-Y! Party! Party! Party! Where is the party? The party’s over here!
Does this chant ring a bell? It does for me. It’s a popular chant at every Student Council event. The kids chant it back and forth across the gym at schools around the country. It slowly gets louder with each volley. Some might find it annoying and headache-inducing, but I love it.
I am a StuCo kid who became a StuCo advisor. I loved planning the events in high school and deciding dance themes, assembly games, and spirit days. So inevitably when I became a teacher, I wanted to be a part of the StuCo action.
This is my second year advising at a school steeped in tradition. Taking over the role of the “traditions director” can be daunting and overwhelming. I believe it’s important to uphold the school’s history while keeping in mind our school’s changing demographics and student needs. This is a tight rope to walk.
How have I tackled this? One word: Inclusion. I actively recruit diverse students to voice the ideas and concerns of as many students as possible. Last year, I analyzed our student population looking at every stat I could get my hands one: socioeconomic, race, religion, ability, gender, and student involvement.
Then I reached out to teachers asking for names of students who would be a positive part of the council. I sent personalized letters to those students asking them to join the group. The results? More students joining our group who may have never thought of joining.
This year we have students from all walks of life. Our amazing council has students on IEPs, part of our English Language Learner program, minority students, students on free and reduced lunch, and much more.
During Homecoming a few weeks ago, I looked around at our campus wondering who would dress up for the much-anticipated spirit days. Much to my amazement, I saw students dressed up who may never have participated if their friends hadn’t created events that were easy to be apart of. My StuCo kids were aware that our student population needs to be able to open their closet and pull out something they can toss on and be apart of the traditions.
They thought with the student body in mind, and they succeeded. We had more students participate and attend events all week due to their efforts. While I was exhausted from basically sleeping at school all week, every time I turned around I saw my diverse council’s planning for our growing population. They voiced the concerns of our kids and it worked.
In August we attended a regional spirit convention (think 1200 StuCo kids hyped up in costumes learning about leadership). For many of my kids, it was the first time they attended a StuCo convention. The first time the PARTY chant started, they looked around confused. By the third time it came back to our side of the gym, they shouted the words with joy. They officially became StuCo kids, a club I proudly claim.
How does your school promote student involvement, maintain traditions, and raise students’ voices? I would love to know! Please comment below!