NAESP’s American Student Council Association Opens Excellence Award Application, Issues Belief Statement

NAESP centers student leadership with student council excellence award and belief statement.

Alexandria, VA—January 10, 2024—The American Student Council Association (ASCA), a student-focused initiative from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), has two announcements leading into the new year:

2024 ASCA Student Council School of Excellence Award

Student councils help teach skills outside of the academic curriculum like leadership, civic responsibility, and organization and planning. ASCA members are positive role models for all students in their school by leading school spirit events, fundraisers, and community engagement—and the annual ASCA Student Council School of Excellence Award is one way to recognize them for their achievements and leadership. The deadline for schools to apply is March 31, 2024.

All ASCA members who meet the elementary and middle school criteria are invited to apply for the award. One unique facet of the award is that it encourages student councils to work all school year to complete two projects (for elementary) and four projects (for middle) to be eligible.

Projects fall under these four categories:

  • Community Service
  • Student Leadership
  • Citizenship
  • School Spirit

New ASCA Belief Statement

The ASCA Advisory Committee, which was established in the fall of 2023, developed a belief statement that captures the goals of ASCA and its members. The belief statement reads:

The American Student Council Association (ASCA) believes inclusive student leadership initiatives benefit all students and communities alike. Members of ASCA commit to creating an environment where:

  • All students are leaders who are able to effect positive change for the betterment of others and the community;
  • Leadership is a collaborative process, rather than a position or title, and there are many vehicles for developing students’ leadership skills; and
  • Leadership development is ongoing and should be taught early and often through direct instruction and nurtured through experiential learning with frequent opportunities to practice skills.

“The ASCA belief statement is important because student leadership can foster a sense of belonging and inclusivity among students,” says Tracy Hilliard, ASCA Advisory Committee member. “It creates opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to shape the future of our society.”

The 2023-2024 ASCA Advisory Committee members are:

  • Tara Falasco, Blue Point Elementary School, New York
  • Liz Garden, Henry P. Clough Elementary School, Massachusetts
  • Tracy Hilliard, Urbana Elementary School, Maryland
  • Debra Houghton, Madison Crossing Elementary School, Mississippi
  • Denise Kelly, Sterling Elementary School, Alaska
  • Matt Moyer, Rupert Elementary School, Pennsylvania
  • David Naylor, Model Laboratory School, Kentucky
  • Jon Wennstrom, Riley Upper Elementary School, Michigan
  • Heather Wolf, George Washington Elementary School, Tennessee

For more information about ASCA or the ASCA Advisory Committee or to connect with any of the ASCA Advisory Committee or student council members, email Nikki Sparks, NAESP Assistant Executive Director, Executive Services and Recognition Programs, at, or visit