The following glossary will assist chapters in understanding the terminology found throughout the websites and in the National Handbook. This glossary is not formal policy for the Honor Societies. Chapters are encouraged to adopt this language for use in all official documents for their chapters.

Member of the school faculty assigned to manage and administer all aspects of the Honor Society chapter. Principals and assistant principals cannot serve as chapter advisers, but are responsible for the appointment of a faculty member or members to serve in this capacity. Point(s) of contact for all official communications from the national office. Multiple advisers can be appointed to serve each year. May also be known as chapter adviser, sponsor, facilitator, moderator.

Term used by the national office (NASSP) to identify the formal, required relationship between the local chapter and the national office, fulfilled by the payment of the annual affiliation fee due June 30 each year. Invoices for this affiliation are mailed from NASSP to school principals each spring; email reminders to advisers are sent simultaneously.

Operating procedures and guidelines, including member obligations, for a group. A formal document. Required for all Honor Society chapters to have, to make available for all chapter members, and to otherwise provide upon request. Distinguished from the “Constitution,” which is the organizational framework from the national office. The National Handbook has sample bylaws.

In the selection process, the term used to describe students who have been deemed academically eligible for consideration of membership. Not yet full members of the chapter.

The local unit of the Honor Society, affiliated with the national office, which selects student members and conducts chapter activities for the school and/or the community.

One of the essential criteria for the Honor Societies. NHS and NJHS refer to the definition of character provided by Character Counts!, namely a person of character demonstrates trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. See also

The document containing the fundamental laws/principles/guidelines of an organization. Each Honor Society operates under a single National Constitution.

Standards or rules by which something can be judged. The elements reviewed when considering a student for selection to the Honor Society. Described in the local selection procedure guidelines and based on standards set by the national office.

The process of formally removing a member of the chapter from active status.  A permanent status once completed. Specific guidelines (i.e., due process) are delineated in Article IX of the National Constitution. Note: Dismissal from NEHS has no bearing on future consideration for NJHS or NHS membership.

Due Process
Legal principle: “Write what you do; then do what you write.” Most applicable for chapter selection and disciplinary procedures. Fair procedures and rules that are applied equally to all and do not deprive students of their rights.

Fundamental, essential. In education, used to describe institutions that include some or all of grades K-6. Distinguished from middle level schools (grades 5-9 or a combination of grades within that range) and high school (grades 9-12) (See also, Secondary) Resources:,

Faculty Council
The faculty council is made up of two faculty members appointed by the principal; charged with member selection and discipline and the creation and administration of official chapter guidelines. The faculty council is facilitated by the chapter adviser who serves as the third nonvoting member. No principal or assistant principal can serve as a member of the faculty council.

Activities conducted by the chapter to raise monies for use by the chapter or for making charitable donations as an act of service; governed by state and local school system policies.

Good Standing
As in, “He is a member in good standing.” Indicates an active member who continues to meet the standards by which he was selected and is fulfilling or has fulfilled all obligations to the chapter (dues, meeting attendance, service hours, etc.). Members who are not in good standing can have privileges revoked until such time that they return to being in good standing.

Honorary Membership
A classification of Honor Society membership, distinguished from active or alumni membership. Awarded to those who, in the opinion of the faculty council, are supporting the purposes of the Honor Society at school or in the community. From the student body, only students with disabilities or foreign exchange students are eligible for honorary membership.

Ceremony for becoming a member of a group; the formal ceremony where all successful candidates become members of the Honor Society. Preferred term for this ceremony in place of the less commonly used “initiation,” which implies hazing and other secretive or unacceptable practices for schools.

A position of being in charge, guiding, or otherwise directing a group of individuals or an organization; a collective set of skills that can be taught to make one a leader; one of the core principles of the Honor Societies, reviewed for selection, skills taught through chapter activities during the year.

Majority Vote
Next integer above half or a simple majority; applied when faculty councils vote for candidates or to take disciplinary actions calling for 3 votes to carry the decision. Distinguished from consensus, plurality, unanimous, or other majority votes defined as being other than “simple.”

Belonging to a group, as in “She has earned membership in the National Elementary Honor Society.” Established by meeting or exceeding a set of selection criteria, with which comes a variety of obligations to the chapter and to oneself. Active members.

Middle Level
Term of the art in education for those grades found between elementary and high school, most commonly grades 5-9. Used to reference middle schools, junior highs, intermediate schools and the relevant grades in K-12 or K-8 schools. See also

National Association of Elementary School Principals, which in partnership with NASSP (see below), administers the National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS, see below).

National Student Council (NatStuCo)
National Student Council, a program of NASSP that promotes student councils and leadership development in middle level and high schools. Established 1931.

National Association of Secondary School Principals. Parent organization for NHS and NJHS. Also, in partnership with NAESP, operates NEHS. The nation’s foremost association of educational leaders.

National Elementary Honor Society. A program of NASSP administered in partnership with the NAESP Foundation, recognizing outstanding elementary school students in grades 4, 5, and 6. Established in 2008.

National Junior Honor Society. A program of NASSP that operates in middle level schools with members in grades 6 through 9. Established in 1929.

National Honor Society. A program of NASSP that operates in high schools with members in grades 10 through 12. Established in 1921.

Term used to identify the point when a candidate does not receive a majority vote of the faculty council when being considered for membership in the chapter.

Designated leaders of a group, most often elected by the general membership to serve a defined term. Duties are described in the local chapter bylaws.

Lead administrator of a school. Often has help from an assistant principal or vice principal. Final authority on all actions and decisions of the chapter at the local level. Appoints chapter adviser and faculty council members annually.

One of the core principles of the Honor Societies, used as a criterion for selection to assess level of academic performance of a candidate. A cumulative standard of scholarship is defined by the local chapter as the performance indicator of this criterion. The National Constitution establishes the minimum standards for this criterion.

In education, used to describe schools found between elementary and college (postsecondary). Generally used to include middle level and high school. (See also, Elementary.)

The process of choosing members of a group, in this case as members of the Honor Society. A process for selecting members is based on the National Constitution and the recommended selection procedure provided by the national office. All chapters must publish their local selection procedures.

One of the core principles of the Honor Societies, namely referring to actions done for or on behalf of others without any compensation provided to the individual performing the actions. Each chapter is required to chapter service projects each year, per the National Constitution.

Student Activities
The functions of groups of students at a school, such as a chapter of the Honor Society or the school’s student council or other clubs and organizations, established with a faculty member who serves as adviser or coach. Most student activities groups function outside of but in support of regular classroom activity, hence their being referred to as cocurricular in nature. When these groups function outside of the school, they are often referred to as extracurricular activities, e.g., Boy or Girl Scouts, religious youth groups, etc. See also