PASC PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
At the 2019 State Conference, each member school will be asked to vote on two amendments to the PASC Constitution. Please read the below letters from PASC State President, Ben Sinrod, and PASC Assistant Executive Director, Felix Yerace.
A LETTER FROM BEN SINROD
Dear PASC Members,
My name is Ben Sinrod, and I have the pleasure of serving as President of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils (PASC) for the 2019 term. Over the last year, our executive board went through a rigorous strategic planning process which reviewed all aspects of our organization and made recommendations about how best to move ourselves forward. I am writing to you to highlight two of the recommendations in particular, the transformation and renaming of PASC.
At the November state conference, each member school will be asked to vote on two amendments to the PASC Constitution:
The rebranding of our organization as the Pennsylvania Association of Student Leaders (PASL).
Our becoming the state affiliate for National Honor Society / National Junior Honor Society
PASC is a long standing student leadership organization which was formed in 1932. As our mission statement promises, PASC ”develops and elevates leaders by providing opportunities, training, networking, civic engagement, recognition, and resources necessary for students and advisors to engage in their schools, communities, and world.” While our mission is broad, our strategic planning process determined that PASC was seen by many as being limited only to those student leaders who were members of Student Councils. The reality is that our member schools have many Student Leaders who are extremely important to their schools, communities, and the world but are not members of their student councils. These individuals, who hold a variety of leadership positions, would greatly benefit from our programs if we expanded our focus and welcomed them into our organization. The change that the board is recommending, to change the name from PASC to PASL would be one of the ways that we can demonstrate our commitment to all of Pennsylvania’s student leaders.
Changing our organizational name and broadening our focus is a big shift and we are taking it very seriously. Most importantly, we want you to know that if this change is approved, we will still provide all of the programming and support we currently do for student councils, their members, advisors, and schools. We will continue to offer summer leadership camps, the state conference, regional conference, PAL conference, the Student Summit, and other programs. As you know, PASC just hosted the 2019 NatStuCo conference, and we will remain just as involved with student council affairs as we have for the last 85 years. However, when we saw the unmet gap in student leadership education that we can fill, and we reviewed what many other state student councils have done to embrace a wider student leader pool, the PASC Executive Board decided to recommend this change as an important next step for all of us.
When this issue comes to a vote during the caucuses at Westmont HIlltop during our 2019 State Conference, I hope you will carefully consider this opportunity, listen to the work that the strategic planning committee has completed, and help us decide if this is the right next step for our organization. Advisors, please share this with your student leaders and discuss whether your council feels this is the right direction for us as an organization. Students, please share this with your advisor(s) and let them know if you support this change.
Feel free to reach out to me, or anyone on the executive board with any questions. You can reach me at email@example.com. Our strategic planning committee was chaired by our Assistant Executive Director, Dr. Felix Yerace, and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Either he or I would be happy to discuss this proposal with you further.
PASC President 2019-2020
Dear PASC members,
Recently, you received a message from Ben Sinrod, our PASC President, with information about two amendments to the PASC Constitution schools will be voting on at our state conference at Westmont Hilltop next month. On behalf of our board, we wanted to provide you with some more information on these proposed changes.
To begin, as is required, below is the current wording of our constitution for the two sections we are recommending being amended, as well as the proposed wording that will be voted on in November. Both of these amendments were approved by the full PASC Executive Board at our August meeting, after being proposed by our strategic planning committee and recommended by our Constitution and Policy Committee:
Article I. Name and Affiliation:
Section 1. The name of this organization shall be the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils. The short form of the name shall be PASC.
Section 2. PASC shall establish and maintain affiliation with the National Association of Student Councils and Region 2, the Northeast Leaders.
Article I. Name and Affiliation:
Section 1. The name of this organization shall be the Pennsylvania Association of Student Leaders. The short form of the name shall be PASL.
Section 2. PASL shall establish and maintain affiliation with National Student Council, NatStuCo Region 2, and National Honor Society/National Junior Honor Society.
Article III. Membership.
Section 1. Membership shall include schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enrolling students no older than the twelfth grade.
Article III. Membership.
Section 1. Membership shall include schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enrolling students no older than the twelfth grade that sponsor a student council, class council, honor society chapter, interclub council, or similar organization.
Reasons for the Proposed Changes:
As you all know, since 1932 PASC has attempted to improve schools and influence the lives of students through our programs. This takes many forms: our annual state conference, regional conferences, summer camps, the Student Summit. PAL Conference, and other programs. PASC also provides development opportunities for advisors through Act 48 programs and provides networking and growth opportunities for both students and adults at hundreds of schools across Pennsylvania.
Recently, our Executive Board has committed to expanding our efforts. This has led to a partnership with Four Diamonds as our official PASC state charity partner, with the Pennsylvania Principals Association that has led to two principal members on our Board, and with other organizations, such as the Pennsylvania Department of State. This is in addition to our existing relationships with NASSP and NatStuCo, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the US Senate Youth Program, and other organizations we affiliate with.
Our board has also looked at ways to amplify our impact, which is part of the reason the PASC Executive Board has endorsed these changes, and hope you will as well. Our goal is to reach all student leaders, and be more inclusive in doing so. Several state affiliates of NatStuCo, including California, Delaware, New York, Washington, and others, have moved to a model of developing, engaging, and celebrating all leaders, and we would like to do the same. At the national level, NASSP, NatStuCo’s parent organization, has also recently begun expanding to provide services to students and adults regardless of their specific organization affiliation. This is in part reflected on the national level by the creation of their Student Leadership Advisory Committee with members from both NatStuCo as well as Honor Societies, as well as opening programs to both NHS and NatStuCo chapters.
I believe Ben, our President, said it best in his letter to you when he wrote:
“As our mission statement promises, PASC “develops and elevates leaders by providing opportunities, training, networking, civic engagement, recognition, and resources necessary for students and advisors to engage in their schools, communities, and world.” While our mission is broad, our strategic planning process determined that PASC was seen by many as being limited only to those student leaders who were members of Student Councils. The reality is that our member schools have many Student Leaders who are extremely important to their schools, communities, and the world but are not members of their student councils. These individuals, who hold a variety of leadership positions, would greatly benefit from our programs if we expanded our focus and welcomed them into our organization. The change that the board is recommending, to change the name from PASC to PASL would be one of the ways that we can demonstrate our commitment to all of Pennsylvania’s student leaders.”
As part of these recommendations, we are also recommending that our organization not just rebrand, but also become the official state affiliate for National Honor Society/National Junior Honor Society, in addition to NatStuCo. Currently, Pennsylvania does not have a state affiliate for NHS/NJHS chapters, and we would like to be able to start supporting these student leaders in a more direct way, as they are perhaps the largest student group in Pennsylvania that currently does not have a state affiliated organization. By doing this, it would allow us to formalize what is already an informal relationship we maintain with NHS/NJHS, and would provide us the opportunity to do some direct marketing to those student leaders. It would also allow us to promote programming such as the NHS State Summit Series and help our partner, the Pennsylvania Principals Association, and their members provide more support for the advisors and students in those chapters. As you know, both NatStuCo and NHS/NJHS are programs of NASSP, and due to our existing connection to NASSP through both the Pennsylvania Principals Association as well as NatStuCo, we feel this is a natural move to make and one that would be seamless if approved. We have discussed these changes with the NASSP office and are prepared to implement them with their help, which would allow us to enhance in other ways the programming we are already offering.
Currently, there are eight states that have NHS state affiliates, and two of them, Michigan and Minnesota, utilize a model we are proposing here, where their “student leader” organization houses both affiliates (NatStuCo and NHS/NJHS) under one unified umbrella. We are confident that since these states have made this model work successfully, we can as well here in Pennsylvania, and we believe that it will make us a leader in a model we believe other states will adopt in coming years. If approved, membership will continue to be by school and there will not be an increase in dues; but we would start to offer expanded opportunities to others in your schools if you vote in favor of these changes, and we are excited about these new possibilities.
Finally, I would like to close with a personal note: I have been affiliated with PASC for over twenty years, first as a student, then as an advisor, regional board member, and now, as the Assistant Executive Director and Advanced Summer Leadership Camp Codirector. I have been fortunate to represent student councils across the US on the NASSP Student Leadership Advisory Committee, and served as the host advisor for the 2019 NatStuCo conference in June, in what was a highlight of my career in education. I deeply believe in student council; their mission, purpose, and impact on schools. However, I believe even more in student leadership, and during my career have done what I can to support it, not just in PASC, but also in working with the University of Pittsburgh to establish a College in High School (CHS) course in leadership for students. These changes, if approved, will not take away from what PASC has always been: an organization for student councils. We will continue to belong to and support NatStuCo and student councils, and we are excited about some of the new civic engagement initiatives we are working on. However, we would also like to expand our tent to reach other student leaders in our schools, specifically in NHS/NJHS and more broadly, anyone who wants to improve themselves and make an impact in their community. Our organization has always been one of inclusivity and will continue to be so, continuing to give you the support we always have, while welcoming new opportunities to positively impact students and schools. As a history teacher, I am well aware of the over 85 years of history of service of our organization, and feel these changes only enhance that legacy. We hope you will support these changes as a way to ensure our continued relevance for the next 85 years of student leadership.
If you are attending state conference next month, each school will receive one vote on each of these two amendments. We ask that councils carefully consider these changes, discuss this, and come to the state conference prepared to vote on them. You will obviously have the chance to discuss these changes in your caucus meetings prior to voting, however, if you have any questions you would like addressed prior to the state conference, please feel free to reach out to your Region Director or Representative, or to me directly at email@example.com.
Thank you for your work and what you do to support your communities, it does make a difference. We are excited to welcome you to the state conference in November and look forward to seeing you there!
Assistant Executive Director