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Student Government Day Program

Annual Student Government Day—April 3, 2020

To:Superintendents, Charter School Leaders, High School Principals, Private and Parochial School Leaders, Social Studies Department Chairs, and Student Government Advisors
From:Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:January 10, 2020

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) is honored to sponsor and coordinate the 73rd annual Student Government Day program to be held Friday, April 3, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. This statutory program invites students from all Massachusetts public and private high schools to learn about the structure of state government, to become engaged citizens, and to develop an understanding of the rights and responsibilities we share in a democracy.

I encourage each high school to involve all students in the democratic process of school-wide elections to select one student designee and one student alternate to attend Student Government Day.

The goal of this event is to provide an immersive experience in the state legislative process by allowing students to engage with representatives and empowering them to voice their own informed views on current legislation. Students will assemble at the State House to replicate activities of the General Court (Massachusetts State Legislature) by debating and voting on legislation on the floor of the House or Senate. The two elected students will be assigned roles as senators, representatives, justices, or constitutional officers prior to the event. All students will hear from legislative leaders and have the opportunity to give testimony on two current bills before the General Court. Depending on their assigned roles, students will then continue debating legislation or observe state government from the perspective of a constitutional officer or Supreme Court justice. One student Governor will be selected from the student delegates through a speech competition.

While the method of electing student designees and student alternates for Student Government Day may vary from school to school, we recommend following some standard procedures:

  1. Elections should be school-wide, with candidates limited to juniors and seniors.
  2. Elections should be open to all juniors and seniors, regardless of academic performance or placement in advanced government classes.
  3. To allow more students the opportunity to participate, no student who has been the school's elected student designee or student alternate should run for re-election.
  4. Elections should be conducted in the spirit ofM.G.L Chapter 6, Section 12M, which states, "Such elections shall be conducted under the supervision of the principals…and insofar as possible, shall be conducted as are elections of members of the General Court."

Please register your elected students and the adults who will accompany them by Friday, February 7, 2020.

Administrators, faculty, and parents are also welcome to attend Student Government Day as chaperones. If any student or adult will need reasonable accommodations in order to participate in this event, please indicate that in the registration form. The Department will send all communications regarding this event via email to the school's faculty advisor (identified in the registration form). The faculty advisor will be responsible for sharing all information with the selected students, including the two bills up for debate, and the Student Government Day Handbook. The handbook provides an introduction to the lawmaking process in Massachusetts, special rules of the House and Senate, the schedule and expectations for the day, and a glossary of terms.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) offers contextual materials to support civics education related to this event. The Student Government Day Website also hosts a list of frequently asked questions, guidance for faculty advisors, and resources related to the bills (upon their selection). Guidelines regarding the speech competition to determine the student Governor will be posted on the website once registration closes.

If you have any questions about Student Government Day, please contact Cecelia Spencer, Student Government Day Coordinator, at or visit the Student Government Day Website.

Last Updated: February 5, 2020

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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