This has certainly been an interesting close to the school year. The last quarter has seen teachers adapting lessons to virtual formats and students watching computer/device screens instead of directly interacting with their teachers and classmates. How far this current situation will extend into the 2020 -2021 school has yet to be resolved. Working in the grey without a definite black and white picture of what what next year will hold has become the norm. My grandson had his senior year profoundly impacted with the loss of his senior season of baseball, no prom and a virtual Commencement. My granddaughter missed the opporunity to be called up to the varsity softball program and spent her first season without sports since elementary school. Summer camps and practices have been suspended, and the start of the fall athletic programs is still in question.
What ever becomes the “new normal” in the fall will look distinctly different than the “old normal”. The role of Student Council and other activity programs in this new normal will probably be significantly different than it was last year. COVID-19 has caused administrators, teachers, students and parents to take a look at what is essential in their schools. These last two weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis would have been profoundly changed the end of the school year even without the virus issue. When schools resume, I am sure there will be carry over social issues schools will be dealing with after the past two weeks of protests. Given these factors, looking at the role Student Councils and other activity groups play in the culture and fabric of your school may be more important than ever.
For the past several years, I have shared the activity “Why Student Council?” at state and national conferences and workshops. This activity, based on a concept developed by Simon Sinek, may be of great value to your group, administrators and school in-general as you start next year in a new normal. A PowerPoint describing this activity and all needed materials can be accessed from the MASC/MAHS website under the Resources >> Advisor Resources tabs. The activity presents 40 valid reasons for why Student Councils exist and take the participants through steps to narrow the 40 down to their Top 5 reasons why their Student Council exist. This can be done using cards made from Avery Business Card sheets or using paper and pencil using a one page array of the 40 reasons. The closing part of this activity is a page that asks the participants to inventory what they are doing currently do to address these Top 5 Why’s or what they could do to address these Top 5 Why’s. For schools that have done this activity previously, there may be difference in the Why’s of the new normal versus the old normal. Having administrators and some respected staff members do this activity to identify what they see as the Top 5 reasons for Student Council to exist in this new normal may be very helpful. It would be very helpful in developing a program vision for 2020-21 that has an expanded focus compared to previous years.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the “Why Student Council?” activity or other issues.
Enjoy your summer!