Sara Nilles and the Oregon Association of Student Councils are doing their part to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. Here’s how you can get started:

  • Listen to students and have an open dialogue to pinpoint key mental health issues and possible solutions.
  • Raise awareness in school by talking with administrators, holding assemblies, or bringing in therapy dogs.
  • Raise awareness outside of school by joining mental health walks, reaching out to local organizations or hospitals, and advocating in your state for government support.


Assistant Principal Tami Skillingstad of Westwood Middle School in Spokane, WA, shared four ways her middle level students (and yours) can improve student attendance:

  1. Communicate attendance facts to all school families.
  2. Share monthly student and staff attendance data with the school community.
  3. Recognize each student and staff member with perfect attendance each month.
  4. Celebrate students as a group with a special school day event.


#ICANHELP is a nonprofit group whose mission is to empower students to use social media in a positive way. According to Executive Director Matt Soeth, you can get a robust social media campaign started at your school by:

  • Checking your school policy on social media
  • Working with students closely on messaging and branding
  • Surveying students to see which social media platforms they are most comfortable using


Adviser Linda Pickett told us that the Raising Student Voice & Participation (RSVP) program and improving school climate go hand in hand at Columbia High School in Illinois. The three summits associated with this program are:

  • Summit 1: Voice. Students convene in small groups to discuss and prioritize the community issues they feel need attention.
  • Summit 2: Recommendations for Action. All students are presented with the top three issues that were identified from the first summit and are asked to recommend actions to address them (formulating a Civic Action Plan).
  • Summit 3: Response and Implementation. Students perfect the Civic Action Plan and assign required roles. Then, the student leadership team works to bring the plan to fruition.