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Family & Community

Annual Student Government Day, April 10, 2015

To:Superintendents, Charter School Leaders, High School Principals,
Social Studies Department Chairs, and Student Government Advisors
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D.
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:October 7, 2014

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The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is honored to sponsor and coordinate the 68th annual Student Government Day program to be held Friday, April 10, 2015 at the State House in Boston. The day will begin with check-in at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude at 1:00 p.m.

This statutory program encourages students from 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 that we share in a democracy. Students will assemble at the State House where most will replicate activities of the General Court (Massachusetts State Legislature), while others will meet as constitutional officers and as members of the Supreme Judicial Court.

The week of Election Day, November 3-7, would be an ideal time to conduct student elections in schools to elect students to attend Student Government Day. I encourage each high school to elect one student designee and one student alternate for Student Government Day. Please register your school's elected students and the adults who will accompany them by Friday January 30, 2015 using the online Student Government Day registration form which is available at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/famcomm/student/sgd_program.html.

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

  1. Elections should be school-wide, with candidates limited to juniors and seniors.
  2. 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.
  3. Elections should be conducted in the spirit of M.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." (See the attachment for a complete text of the law).

Participation in Student Government Day involves all students in the democratic process of elections. The students elected will have the opportunity to give testimony before a legislative committee comprised of their peers, debate legislation on the floor of the House or Senate, or observe state government from the perspective of a constitutional officer or Supreme Court justice. Legislation considered on Student Government Day may be sent to the student Governor for consideration, and the student Governor will have the opportunity to "sign," "return with amendment," or "veto" the bill. The National Conference of State Legislatures offers materials to support civics education in schools at http://www.ncsl.org/documents/public/trust/lessonplans_hs.pdf Download PDF Document.

Administrators, faculty, and parents are also welcome to attend Student Government Day. If any student or adult who plans to come will need reasonable accommodations in order to participate in this event, please indicate that on the registration form.

If you have any questions about Student Government Day, please contact Karen White, Student Government Day Coordinator, at studentgovday@doe.mass.edu.

Attached:

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Student Government Day Program
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Frequently Asked Questions
View External Link
M.G.L. Chapter 6, Section 12M Student Government Day



Last Updated: October 2, 2014
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