By Pam Mitchell and Kimmie Etheredge

TEPSA Leaders ‘Я’ Us is celebrating two decades of student leadership training across the state of Texas, with more than 43,000 student leaders and 11,500 advisors attending workshops since 1999. Carolyn Solomon developed student leadership on her elementary campus in Lubbock ISD and envisioned learners across the state having that same opportunity. She collaborated with TEPSA to make this dream a reality. After 17 years coaching teams of educators to train students and advisors, and teaching learners how to lead, Carolyn retired from as Director of TEPSA Leaders ‘Я’ Us in 2017. Leaders ‘Я’ Us has continued to evolve to include all student leadership team models to meet the ever-changing needs of individual campuses.

After visiting with principals and advisors of students who have attended Leaders ‘Я’ Us training, it is apparent schools benefit from effective student leadership teams. Empower your learners and move to the next level by strengthening or developing a student leadership team that will improve your campus culture and impact academic achievement. Give students voice as well as promote citizenship, school spirit, responsibility, and teamwork while teaching leadership skills in an authentic setting.

Terry Hamm, Texas Association of Student Councils Director states, “When strong student activity programs are established, achievement follows. Attendance improves, grades go up, and classrooms are blessed with students who understand team building, goal setting, and problem solving. Student activities are a bargain. Student Council (or student leadership)…enhances student voice, builds relationships, and points the way for students in their leadership journey.”

To implement or strengthen a student leadership team, the following should be in place:

  • Volunteer(s) or selected advisor(s) interested in working with student leaders. Possible advisor(s) who relate well to age group: counselor, gifted and talented teacher, upper grade level teachers, other grade level teachers, or paraprofessionals.
  • A leadership team model that is most effective for your campus; student council, ambassadors, character council, Leader in Me, Rachel’s Challenge, leadership team, etc.
  • Officer and representative structure that ensures all learners have a voice.
  • A specific space set aside for meetings. Some campuses have an empty classroom available, but most leadership teams meet in a teacher’s classroom or the library.
  • Stated meeting dates. Typically designated; for example, the “second Tuesday” or the “first and third Wednesday” of the month so learners and advisors do not have to keep up with specific dates. Officers plan the agenda and discuss upcoming events on designated day before the general meeting takes place.
  • A student leadership team constitution that includes the purpose, roles and responsibilities of members, and voting process.
  • A written election process that includes role descriptions, the timeline, criteria to run, campaign rules, length of campaign, and voting procedures.

Empowered students are vehicles for positive change in their school and in their community. There is no doubt leveraging student leadership on your campus will make a difference. Leadership training programs, such as TEPSA Leaders ‘Я’ Us, are essential to allow developing leaders to achieve their full potential.

Learn more and register your student leadership team and advisors for this interactive workshop designed to equip your learners and educators to lead your campus.

Contact Student Leadership Project Directors Pam Mitchell and Kimmie Etheredge for guidance to strengthen or implement your student leadership team.

TEPSA News, August 2019, Vol 76, No 4

Copyright © 2019 by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association. No part of articles in TEPSA publications or on the website may be reproduced in any medium without the permission of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association.

The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA has more than 5,900 members who direct the activities of 3 million PK-8 school children. TEPSA is an affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

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