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PASC News Inside This Issue News & Notes...................... 2 • Staff Applications for Summer Workshop • Council of Excellence Principal-Advisor-Leader Conferences.....................2 Dodgeball Tournaments for the Keep It! Campaign..... 3 Secrets of Successful Legislative Contacts..................... 4 National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Resources................................ 4 Google Voice: A New Approach to the Suggestion Box....................................... 5 Mark Your Calendar for Summer Workshops........ 5 Junior Member to Be Selected for State Board of Education............................ 6 New Governor Brings New Era of Educational Policy................................... 7 Things to Do This Spring.... 7

Volume 35 Issue 6 February 2011

Altoona to Be Site of 75th PASC State Conference The 2011 state conference theme, “With A Little Help From My Friends,” captures the idea of individual help, school help, and community help, all made easier with people working together. Conference sessions during the November 10–12 conference will be held on the campuses of the new Altoona Area Junior HS and across the street at Altoona Area Senior HS. Altoona Student Councils will have The Beatles featured as their decorating and musical theme, and will focus on the 75th anniversary of PASC which was founded in Altoona in 1932. They plan to wow us all as we return to Altoona this November. The registration fee will be $110 per delegate. Registration and welcome activities will be held Thursday afternoon in both buildings. A free dinner for advisors and an evening opening general session will be held at Altoona Area Senior HS. Student delegates will go to host homes for dinner and

will return to the State President Mariam Ahmad, State Conference Cohigh school for the Chairs Jordan Weber and Sarah Arpino, and State Conference Advisor David Aboud.l from Altoona Area HS are general session. looking forward to hosting the 75th PASC Conference. The evening will conclude with a concert/dance be housed in hotels. Please note with a Beatles band in the high however that the number of school gym. hotel rooms for the housing of both advisor and student delOn Friday, an advisor breakegates will be limited and that fast will be held at the Ramada hotels need to be booked early Inn while students eat at host due to a home Penn State foothomes. The general session, ball game versus Nebraska in workshop sessions, and lunch nearby State College the same for students and advisors weekend. This causes Altoona will be held on the combined campus of Altoona Area Junior hotel rooms to be booked quickly. (Note reservation and Senior High Schools. On closing date for each hotel.) Friday night, the banquet and Rooms have been reserved at a separate middle level and high conference rate at the following school dances will take place at hotels: the Blair County Convention • Ramada Inn: 814-946Center. 1631—$99.00; 150 rooms The conference will end on reserved. This is the site of Saturday morning by 11:00 the advisor breakfast and a.m. with delegates having a round table workshop Friday maximum travel time of four morning and get-together hours from this truly central after banquet Friday night. Pennsylvania location. Must book by October 10, In 2011, PASC will return 2011. to the use of host homes for • Comfort Inn, Duncansville: student delegates, but will also 814-693-1800—$99.95; 35 provide an option for schools rooms reserved. Must book that require that their students continued on page 2

News & Notes Staff Applications Available Now for Summer Workshops PASC is seeking students who will graduate in 2011 or have graduated in 2009 or 2010 to serve as group advisors for one of the five PASC Summer Leadership Workshops. Additionally, advisors and other teachers or individuals with experience in leadership development are encouraged to apply for teaching positions at the PASC Blue (7–9 grade) workshops or the PASC Gold (9–12 grade) workshops for the summer of 2011. Applications are now available at or by contacting the PASC Office at or calling 215-280-9299. Deadline for submitting applications is February 25, 2011.

NASC to Hold Lead Conference in Connecticut NASC will sponsor a LEAD Conference at a familiar site to PASC member schools on April 1–3, 2011. Located on I-95 just across the border from New York, the Marriott Hotel in Stamford, CT will serve as the host site. The schedule for the conference runs from registration on Friday at 3:00 until the closing general session on Sunday morning, which ends at 10:30. Keynote speakers Heather Schultz and Alton Jamison will inspire attendees, while opportunities to learn and grow as student leaders and advisors abound. The schedule includes: Friday Registration General Session with Keynote Speaker Interactive Program Saturday Student Reach program Student-Led Workshops Large Group Workshops Dinner On Your Own Stu Shafer’s “Traveling Junk-Show Sunday Closing General Session with Keynote Speaker For program details and to register, go to, choose your site then click on the registration information link. Deadline to register online to receive the member school early-bird rate ($165) is March 2, 2011. 2

PASC News • February 2011 •

Principal-Advisor-Leaders Conferences To Be Held in September 2011 Dates and sites have been set for this fall’s PASC-sponsored one-day conferences for school teams consisting of four student leaders, student council or class government advisors, and a principal. Each PAL Conference will include a keynote speaker; small group “birds-of-a-feather” sessions for administrators, advisors, and student leaders; a luncheon; collaborative time for each school team; and a closing wrap-up to the day which will include ideas to be shared by the school teams. Three sites have been selected for the 2011 conferences (which were last held in the fall of 2008). These sites are: • Tuesday, September 27—Chadwick at Wexford (near the intersection of the PA turnpike and I-79) • Wednesday, September 28—Penn Tech Campus in Williamsport • Thursday, September 29—Holiday Inn-Grantville (on I-78 near the intersection with I-81, near Hershey) Mark your calendars now and watch for complete details about the program and registration forms to be mailed to PASC member advisors in April.

Altoona to Host 75th PASC State Conference (cont’d from page 1) by October 20. • Comfort Suites, Altoona: 814-942-2600—$99.95; 25 rooms reserved. Must book by October 20. • Holiday Inn Express: 814944-9661—$99.95 includes free breakfast; 30 rooms reserved. Must book by October 20. • Super 8: 814-942-5350— $85.00. Must book by October 10. • Quality Inn: 814-9444581—$62.99 includes continental breakfast; 25 rooms reserved. Must book by October 15. • Hampton Inn: 814-9413500 —$159; 30 rooms reserved. Must book by October 10. When you call to reserve your room, mention that you are with the PASC Conference. Conference information will also be available at www. and at the conference website as of February 1. Advisors will have the opportunity to pre-register their schools for the Conference this spring. Details of the registration process will be announced in March. The Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils was founded in 1932 by five schools: Altoona HS, Ebensburg HS, Kane HS, State College HS and York HS. In 1934 Altoona HS hosted the first PASC State Conference, so it is only fitting that PASC delegates will again come to Altoona for the 75th PASC State Conference in November. Circle Your Calendars Now and Join Us in Altoona November 10–12, 2011 for the 75th PASC State Conference!

PASC Introduces a Scalable, Replicable Model Project Dodgeball Tourneys support the “Keep It!” Campaign In January, we invited PASC members to celebrate the progress made in Ivory Park, South Africa through their support of the “Keep It!” Campaign. Since the project’s inception 18 months ago, an expanding network of social entrepreneurs has allowed us to make significant advances toward our goal. A library has been built, books are on the shelves, and we are funding the salaries of several full-time teachers. We have raised half of our fundraising goal. As we look forward to continued progress in 2011, we would like to introduce an exciting yearlong initiative inspired by several of our PASC member schools and organized by our regional representatives. This year, PASC and “Keep It!” are sponsoring a statewide contest to challenge member schools to act locally and reach globally. With this contest, schools are invited to host dodgeball tournaments in support of the Keep It! Campaign. The tournament is based on a scalable, replicable project model first used by students at North Allegheny. With the assistance of NA students and staff, PASC and Keep It! supporters have developed a how-to manual that documents the secrets to planning a successful dodgeball tournament. This manual is now available to all PASC member schools. In addition to presenting students with valuable lessons in leadership, the goal of the dodgeball project is to fund our continuing efforts in Ivory Park AND to support community

Don’t forget to join our community on Facebook and share your story with other PASC schools.

needs in your own hometown. This concept is being modeled by one of our partner schools. At Oak Park Elementary, students have created a sunshine fund. Monies raised throughout the year are shared by the Oak Park and the Ivory Park communities. Support of the sunshine fund allows students and staff to care for their own neighbors while building connections with people thousands of miles away. It is hoped that through Keep It! Dodgeball Tournaments, schools can provide support to their own communities and to Ivory Park. The details for the dodgeball tournament contest are as follows: • Our goal is to recruit sixty schools to sponsor Keep It! Dodgeball Tournaments before October 15, 2011. • Between January 15th and March 15th, PASC will promote the tournament idea and recruit schools to register online at To encourage schools to go the extra mile, PASC is offering the following prizes to the schools and districts that provide the most support. • For the PASC district that registers the greatest percent-

age of their member schools by March 15th (number of schools registered divided by the number of schools in that district), Bob Tryanski has agreed to speak at their District Conference or Leadership Workshop for free (host school will cover travel expenses). • For the school that raises the most money to support the “Keep It!” Campaign (dollars raised divided by the number of students in the school), Bob Tryanski has agreed to offer a free assembly and leadership workshop next fall (host school will cover travel expenses). The winning school will also receive a free registration to the PASC State Conference at Altoona High School. For your convenience, a link has been established that provides easy access to the how-to manual, enrollment form, publicity templates, and everything you need to know about hosting a dodgeball tournament at your school: http:// dodgeball The link also includes a direct connection to the Keep It! Campaign’s Facebook page.

In addition to sharing your story on the Keep It! Facebook page, this year’s PASC regional representatives have also been challenged to make contact with their regional student council presidents via Facebook. This will be a great tool for sharing ideas about running the tournaments, challenging neighboring schools, and establishing bragging rights on who has raised the most funds for Ivory Park. If you haven’t heard from your rep, find out who he or she is and send them a friend request. “Look at the organizations that have had tremendous success mobilizing high school students to support their cause through special programs— organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, or the American Cancer Society—and ask yourself what these organizations have in common. I think the answer is that each of them has an involvement template that any organization can follow,” says Tryanski. “If other schools embrace this idea and implement the strategies outlined by the team at North Allegheny, the Dodgeball Tournament could easily turn out to be our Relay for Life.  The possibilities are exciting!” By working together to build a network of social entrepreneurs, there is no limit to the positive impact that we can create…in our own communities and across the globe in Ivory Park.

PASC News • February 2011 •


Secrets of Successful Legislative Contacts Through participation in the PASC Student Summit in Harrisburg, student leaders often begin to see the possibilities for making a difference on issues beyond their local school or community. Working with state and national legislators is one way to achieve lasting change.

message by relating issues to your own personal experience. Use local examples, statistics, and stories to show the value of programs in your community or the impact of changes on your school. n Know the policymaker. Learn as much as possible about the legislator and where he or she stands on issues. How has he voted in the past?

ence than a 10-page document. In face-to-face meetings, highlight key issues and leave behind a fact sheet as a reminder of essential points you want the legislator to have on hand. n Put thoughts in your own words. If a legislator receives numerous e-mails or letters with nearly identical wording, he or she may discount them as part of an organized pressure campaign.

What’s the best way to approach these policymakers? There are many options available: e-mails, n Be specific about telephone calls, letters, the action you want the and personal visits. If legislator to take, such as you are trying to influvote in a certain manner; ence something about introduce legislation; coto happen, e -mails sponsor a bill; or make a and phone calls are floor statement. the best option. If you n Be constructive. Be need to provide detailed pleasant, polite, and use information and have a a “soft-sell” approach longer period of time in even if a legislator does which to work, a pernot agree to support you sonal visit or letter may If participation in the Student Summit stimulated interest in a specific instance. If in legislative action, keep it going with these tips for working be more appropriate. there are problems with a with legislators. Whether you write, call, particular program or bill, What is her political philosoor visit your legislator, some admit it and identify alternative phy? Legislators who support basic guidelines are applicable solutions. Do not threaten or your position can help you to all methods of contact. make negative comments. You develop your strategy; those are looking for a continuing n Identify yourself as a conwho “don’t know” need lots of relationship and will probably stituent by providing your adyour attention; and those who need the legislator’s support on dress, location of your school, are opposed can sometimes other issues in the future. In and congressional district. be persuaded to change their the meantime, feel confident Identify yourself as a member minds. Never assume you know that you have shared your inof the Pennsylvania Associawhat your legislator thinks— formation in a positive manner. tion of Student Councils and find out. Usually, legislators give your area of expertise. n Follow up and continue the keep a copy of their biography relationship. Follow legislation n Know your issue. Idenand information about their throughout the legislative protify clearly the legislation or philosophical positions on their cess and be prepared to contact program you support and the Web sites. your legislator several times on impact it will have on your n Be concise in your written one issue. You can contact the school, organization, or local or verbal communications. legislator prior to a commitcommunity. Know and use Legislators and their staff have tee vote, before a floor vote, statistics and facts whenever limited time to devote to any or when there is a lot of press possible. Restrict yourself to one issue. A one- or two-page activity on the issue. Keep the one, or at most, two topics. fact sheet can summarize your pressure on him or her through n Make it local. You can be points and is more likely to be your continued contact on the most effective in conveying a read and filed for future referissue. PASC News • February 2011 • 4

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Resources February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. If your Council is sponsoring any projects to help raise awareness of this important issue, here are some resources that might help:

W The Warning Signs of Digital Dating Abuse watch?v=agDzWqt9TZU

W Office on Violence Against Women dating_violence.htm

W Teen Dating Violence information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention html

W Love Is Respect

W Love Is Not Abuse

W Am I in a Healthy Relationship? teen/question/emotions/ healthy_relationship.html

W Guide to Healthy Relationships www.youngwomen shealth. org/healthy_relat.html

W Love Doesn’t Have to Hurt Teens resources/love-teens.pdf

PASC NEWS is published monthly during the school year. To submit announcements, articles, or corrections for newsletters, please email the Executive Director or Assistant Executive Director. Articles or information from PASC NEWS may be reproduced for use, with appropriate credit. Executive Director Jim Finnemeyer North Penn HS 1340 Valley Forge Road Lansdale, PA 19446 215-280-9299 215-855-0632 (Fax) Assistant Executive Director Kathy Ann Coll 174 Link Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15237 412-366-5744 PASC President Mariam Ahmad Altoona Area HS 1400 7th Avenue Altoona, PA 16602 PASC President-Elect To Be Announced PASC News Editor Lyn Fiscus Leadership Logistics PASC Email: PASC Website:

Google Voice

A New Approach to the Suggestion Box By Kyle Kaufman Many student councils utilize suggestion boxes to collect feedback and ideas from the student body. The effectiveness of physical suggestion boxes, often located in libraries or other common areas, can vary greatly. One way to potentially increase the amount and timeliness of feedback collected by a “suggestion box” is to replace the physical box with Google Voice. Google Voice is a powerful tool that blends phone and texting capabilities with voice transcription and message archiving. Your student council could set up a Google Account and then set up Google Voice that will give your council its own telephone number. You

have a lot of choice with this number so that you could potentially create a number that spells out some word or phrase that is easy to market and remember. Once the student body has the number, students can

leave suggestions by calling or texting the number. Google Voice will transcribe the phone calls so that you can scan them quickly and keep a text archive along with text messages. You can collect student’s cell phone numbers via Google Voice and even attempt to provide direct responses to their suggestions

while maintaining a level of anonymity. You will want to check with your school’s administration to make sure they are agreeable with the idea of using Google Voice. Also, you will want to make sure that the Google Account that you use to set up Google Voice is a common account for student council rather than someone’s personal Google account. For more information on Google Voice check out com/voice. Kyle Kauffman ( serves as student council advisor at South Western HS. Follow Kyle’s blog at http:// for more tech articles.

Underclassmen: Mark Your Calendar for a 2011 Summer Camp Experience with PASC The 2011 Summer Leadership Workshop Brochure and Application will be emailed by February 15 to all students and advisors who subscribe to PASC NEWS. It will also be posted on the PASC website at the same time. A hardcopy of the workshop brochure and applications will be mailed to advisors by March 1. Please note the following dates and locations and begin planning now for students to attend in July. Costs & Deadlines: Blue (Grades 7–9) Grove City College July 17–21 Lebanon Valley College July 24–28 Gold (Grades 9–12) Grove City College July 10–15 Susquehanna University July 24–29 Advanced Gold (Grades 11–12) University of Pittsburgh/Johnstown July 17–23

Early Bird (May 13th)

Regular ( June 10th)

$335 $335

$360 $360

$360 $360

$385 $385



PASC News • February 2011 •


Junior Member to be Selected for Pennsylvania State Board of Education Since September 2008, a senior and a junior student have served on the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. The term of Senior SBE member Travis Gilbert, of Big Spring HS, will end with the SBE meeting of May 17–18, 2011. We are happy to announce that Shannon Sullivan, Junior SBE member of North Allegheny HS, will be appointed to serve as the next Senior SBE Member. Thus, PASC has been charged with the responsibility to select the next Junior SBE Member. This student will be named this spring and will begin his or her term as of July 1. However, Shannon and the new Junior Member will attend their first meeting together in mid-May. What Is the State Board of Education? The State Board of Education sets all policies regarding public school education in the Commonwealth. It consists of Councils of Basic and Higher Education. The Board of Education has 17 adult members selected by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The chair and minority leader of the House and Senate Education Committees serve as well. The board meets in Harrisburg on Wednesdays and Thursdays in July, September, November, January, March, and May. A detailed job description is available at or by contacting PASC at 6

What Are the Duties of Students on the Board of Education? The new Junior SBE Member of the Board of Education will join Shannon Sullivan in representing the 1.8 million K–12 public school students in the Commonwealth. Although they can not be an expert on every issue or idea coming before the Board of Education and its committees, they will be

Who May Apply? PASC is seeking to name a present sophomore to the Junior SBE Member as of July 1. It is our hope that, based on a January 2012 evaluation, the Junior Member would become the next Senior SBE Member. The process will be implemented in the spring of 2011 to select the next Junior SBE Member whose term will begin

Advisors: Please share this important information with your student leaders right away! expected to do their “homework” to become knowledgeable about topics of interest to Pennsylvania students including special needs students and vocational and technical school students. Working with PASC, the student members will use the PASC NEWS communications system, the PASC website, and PASC survey tools to communicate with their constituents. The students will report periodically to the PASC Executive Board and attend the state conference and January Executive Board meeting for face-to face reporting and feedback. Being the “student voice” on the Pennsylvania Board of Education is an incredible opportunity for the students involved as well as for all Pennsylvania students. Only 13 states in the nation have student representatives on their State Boards of Education.

PASC News • February 2011 •

on July 1, 2011. Any sophomore in a public high school in Pennsylvania may apply for the position in the 2011–2012 school year. Students do not have to attend a PASC member school to apply. Travel, meals, and lodging in Harrisburg or other meeting sites in the state will be paid for by the State Board of Education. Travel, meals, and lodging for the required meetings of PASC will be paid by PASC. Application Includes • Basic contact information • Student resume • Two essays • Three letters of recommendation • Signatures of approval and support from the student, parent/guardian, school administration Download the information

cover letter, application, requirements and expectations, and overview of the State Board of Education at www. or click on the link in this month’s email version of PASC News.

Selection Timeline February 10: Public Announcement of the positions by the Department of Education to all school superintendents, school boards, the state principals’ association. PASC NEWS announcement made to member advisors and PASC student leaders. March 11: Deadline for application and recommendations by mail or fax March 15–19: Screening of applicants by PASC Ad Hoc Committee April 2: Interviews in Harrisburg with finalists May 17–18: Orientation and first meeting with the State Board of Education. New Junior Member to attend.

Application deadline by mail or fax is Friday, March 11, 2011.

New Governor Brings New Things to Do This Spring Era of Educational Policy Second semester is full of opportunities to plan fun activi-

ties. Consider the following when your Council is looking for something worthwhile to do:

By Travis Gilbert, SBE Senior Representative Tom Corbett, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania was inaugurated as the 46th governor of Pennsylvania on January 18, 2010, ushering in a new era of educational policy for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Governor Corbett appointed Ron Tomalis, former deputy Secretary of Education under former governor Tom Ridge as the next Secretary of Education. Governor Corbett’s educational policy agenda includes reforming school funding, enhancing educational opportunities, and ensuring effective teachers. The new governor supports the creation of a reporting system that better tracks educational funding and ensures that schools and students receive the funding support they deserve, as well as the unbundling of educational dollars, so funding follows students who move to another school because they attend a failing school. Reforming charter schools is at the top of his agenda as well. Charter schools are schools that receive public funding, but are not held liable to certain rules and regulations that public schools are bound to follow. Governor Corbett believes in creating an independent charter school board that streamlines the application process and ensures quality, accountability, and transparency from charter schools already established. Some of Governor Corbett’s

n Slice of Pi. Work with your math department to celebrate National Pi Day, March 14 (or 3.14) with some lunchtime math games. Serve a free piece of pie to any student who participates. n Most Wanted. On March 14, 1950, the Ten Most Wanted List made its debut. Create your own Ten Most Wanted Lists for those who stand out in your school or to recognize students who don’t always get recognition, such as the Top Ten Enthusiastic Students, Top Ten Skaters, Top Ten Students with the Longest Hair, and so forth.

Travis Gilbert, SBE Senior Representative initiatives align with the State Board of Education’s goals for this year. Both the State Board and Governor Corbett want to expand the career and technical centers in Pennsylvania, which are schools that provide training for skilled jobs, without granting college degrees. The State Board and Corbett also want to expand alternative pathways to teaching certificates and are looking at the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ and Teach for America’s programs for guidance. The State Board of Education plans to meet in mid-March to begin work on its three initiatives for this year: teacher effectiveness, student wellness, and implementation of the Keystone Exams along with the Common Core standards. As always, students are encouraged to contact us, Travis Gilbert at or Shannon Sullivan at, with any questions or concerns.

n Helium Balloon Sales. Everybody is a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! Celebrate by selling green helium balloons that can be delivered to students with a message from the sender. n Showcase Student Art. Celebrate Youth Art Month in March by creating a gallery of student art. Have visitors to the gallery vote on their favorite piece, then purchase the one with the most votes to start a permanent gallery of student work or to hang in the main office. Host a reception for the artists and their parents. n Kick Butts Day. Organize a project to raise awareness of the dangers of cigarette smoking for Kick Butts Day, March 23. For activity ideas and resources visit n National TV Turnoff Week. Screen time cuts into family time and is a leading cause of obesity in both adults and children. Help your students reconnect with their families by sponsoring activities for Turnoff Week, April 18-24, in which families turn off the TV and other electronics to focus on more interactive activities. Check for ideas and more information. n Teacher Features. Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week May 3–9 by creating a short video profiling teachers in each of the departments or grade levels in your school. Feature one video each day during the week either on the announcements or on special screens set up in the cafeteria or commons. n Lost and Found Fashion Show. Hold a lunchtime fashion show with the items that have accumulated in the school’s lost and found. n Join Hands Day. Plan a multi-generational project for Join Hands Day, May 7. Refurbish a playground, remove trash from a park, plant some flowers, or check out other ideas and download a free planning guide at n National Youth Traffic Safety Month. Put the brakes on impaired driving during May with a National Youth Traffic Safety Month project. Visit to download a NYTSM planning guide. PASC News • February 2011 •


PASC News Feb 2011  

PA Association of Student Councils monthly newsletter