Educational Guidance. JSA’s student leaders benefit from the educational guidance of adults at all levels of the organization. At the chapter level, the teacher/advisor helps the chapter’s student leaders by suggesting debate and discussion topics, directing students to sources for research, and helping the chapter remain non-partisan by ensuring that all sides of the issues discussed are represented. In particular, Social Studies faculty members who serve as advisors can help the chapter deal with political issues from the current day’s news as well as offer ideas and resources for connecting with the political establishment in their area.
Mentoring Leaders. One of JSA’s goals is to train students to be active leaders in our democratic society. Raising the level of political discourse is a key component of the Junior State; although teachers/advisors allow the students run their own meetings, debates and other undertakings, coaching from the teacher/advisor before activities and offering suggestions after helps the students keep discussions orderly while still allowing for a robust exchange of opinions. Political leaders are often skilled organization builders – from articulating a message or vision to handling the details of planning meetings and recruiting members; teachers/advisors help JSA leaders fulfill their leadership potential.
Working with school administrators. Teachers/advisors help the chapter’s student leaders gain the understanding and the enthusiastic backing of the school administration. As faculty members, the teachers/advisors are effective in making administrators and other faculty members aware of the educational benefits of the Junior Statesmen program. Students often need help and guidance in complying with school regulations on chapter finances, meeting times and locations, preparation for trips to JSA events, the inviting of outside speakers, and other issues. By working closely with the chapter’s student leadership, the teacher/advisor can be an effective and powerful advocate for the chapter.
Keeping Informed. The teacher/advisor will receive copies of all major student publications and should read them as they contain important information on upcoming activities. Above all, the teacher/advisor should carefully read the Junior State of America Handbook and the longer Junior State Chapter Binder. These resources provide suggestions for chapter programs, membership recruitment, fund-raising, publicity, service club support, and joint meetings with other chapters. The JSA Handbook is available to download from the Virtual Library and a copy of the Chapter Binder is sent to all chapter presidents and teachers/advisors once their chapter becomes official.
Conventions. JSA conventions are exciting, stimulating major student events and real highlights for the chapters that attend. The opportunity to discuss and debate issues with a diverse group of students from many different high schools adds tremendously to students’ understanding of issues and the opinions of others. Teachers/advisors are very active in helping the chapter prepare for the convention, obtain the proper approval from the school and/or school district, send registration materials to the Junior State offices, and supervise students on the trip.