Student Government » PS 17 Student Government

PS 17 Student Government

Our Student Government was created by school counselor Ms. Monica to provide students with a brave space to ask questions and discuss current events all while learning that their voices are vehicles for change.  The program was designed to be as real as possible to our actual government with the appropriate developmental accommodations.  We are comprised of a PS 17 President, (3rd-5th grade students only) a Vice President, (3rd-5th-grade students only), a Community Organizer, (3rd- 5th grade only)  and 2 Senators representing grades 1-5. We invite students who do not have appointed positions in the student government to join our meetings and voice their concerns.  Student Government meets weekly to discuss student concern, implement change, learn about advocacy and basic fundamental aspects of local government.  
  • Student Government welcomed our local council member Tiffany Caban to inaugurate newly elected students to the PS17 Student Government. 
  • Members created an Idea Box and encouraged students to submit any concerns they may have so that the members of government can review.  We met weekly to discuss and met with the principal to create change.  Some major changes we implemented this year were painting soccer lines in the big yard, purchasing a score board/penalty cards, and creating our own PS17 soccer rules.  We invited 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade soccer players to let us know what they feel is needed in order to have a safe and fun space for recess.  
  • Members of student government visited the Museum of The City and learned about Activism in NYC.  We discussed how our listening ears and voices for change make us local student activists and learned about other young leaders as well.  
  • Student Government members wrote letters to Mayor Adams in response to news about budget cuts for 3K and NYC public schools.  We learned about the importance of community, and how our voices are vehicles for change within politics. 
  • Our first year as an active government in 2016, we raised over 1000 dollars for the Karam Foundation- an organization that helps rebuild lost schools in Syria.  We focused on the bombings in Aleppo and wanted to provide knowledge to our community regarding the events, and support for children around the world. Students learned about helping others, fundraising, and empathy.   
  • In 2017, current events often talked about immigration and many students brought questions to our meetings.  We defined immigration, read, and shared stories about immigrant friends, family members, and discussed.  Student Government went on a trip to the National Archives Museum and learned about New York's history with immigration and its importance to our community.  When we returned to our building we talked about inclusivity and helping each other, and we created school events that highlighted the multiculturalism our school is so lucky to have!  We now have dedicated days to these events during Respect for All week and celebrate No One Eats Alone day annually. 
  • In 2018, when the student government reconvened, we talked about what we have learned in the past and what we would like to do to help our PS17 family, even when our President is no longer attending our school.  Members discussed and said they wanted students to always feel happy in school and have positive memories.  Our student government created a social-emotional questionnaire and surveyed our entire student body!  They collected and analyzed the data, noticing areas where students can benefit from more emotional support.  The results were shared and discussed with our student leadership team comprised of administration, teachers, and parents. 
  • In 2019, we were seeking a new President and we continued the discussion of student voices being important and making changes.  We went on a trip to the Nutrition Center where students advocated for water bottle fountains, healthier foods, and more snacks.  Student Government had meetings with the wellness council to advocate for more fun activities students want to participate in, such as having a zen garden, a basketball hoop, and a rock-climbing wall.  With our collaboration we were able to help install a rock climbing wall in our small recess yard!
  • With all the challenges faced in 2020 and 2021, we continued to meet with our student government members and virtually elected new representatives to be part of student government!  Our representatives came up with ideas to stay connected during the pandemic, such as virtual lunch bunches where students could meet weekly to have lunch together, chat, and play fun games.  It was so great to see students visualize an idea and have it come to life!  We also met with a New York Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani  (D36) who spoke with us about being a real-life government official!
  • Student Government President spoke with members of the community who shared their concern for the need to serve halal foods during lunch, we spoke to our principal about this need and our working with the DOE to bring this to our school building. 
  • In 2022 Student Government discussed sustainability and climate change.  We worked with corporations such as MiiR and S'well water bottles to provide every single teacher and student in the school building with a free insulated water bottle to reduce plastic waste!
  • In 2023, Student Government sold water bottles and made over 1,000 dollars!  This money was used to purchase gift cards and clothing for our newest new yorkers.