Cayuga Heights Elementary Student Council Spreads Student Voice (and Composting Knowledge!)

fifth grade student council member with a flyer she created

In 2021, the Cayuga Heights Elementary School (CHES) Student Council started a discussion using the simplest of tools: a suggestion box.

Comprised of 5th-grade students, the Student Council meets every Monday to turn suggestions from their peers into actionable projects. The team was established to create a loudspeaker for student voice throughout the school, and now in its second year, these student leaders are proudly getting things done. 

Last year, the most common topic in the suggestion box was gender identity and expression. Students wanted to learn and provide more educational tools to staff and students about LGBTQIA+ topics and language, including information on respecting others’ pronouns. In collaboration with students from Belle Sherman Elementary, the CHES Student Council created a slideshow with definitions and helpful tips for honoring gender expression and gender identities.

fifth grade student council members with posters and flyers

This year, the Student Council team conducted a second suggestion box survey, and a new topic emerged: recycling and composting. The Cayuga Heights team began an informational campaign and intends to collaborate with Northeast Elementary students who’ve run similar campaigns in their school.

Fifth graders Eliana Arce, Natalie Uy, Eli Subin, Dylan Earl, Zaiden Flowers, and Sandy Goldberg created flyers and signs to display around the school, reminding students what they can and cannot compost. They hope that their activism leads to increased awareness and less waste across their campus and beyond.

Cayuga Heights Elementary’s work in centering students as partners and leaders is supported by Learning Forward ICSD, our district's approach to academic and social-emotional learning.