Schüler sitzen gemeinsam im Zimmer

Experiencing Democracy every Day

Student Self-Governance

A solid pillar of Salem education has always been educating to take on responsibility. Student self-governance (SMV) was always a focal point for our school's founders and is still practiced today among all year groups. Students learn – as appropriate to their age – to take responsibility not only for themselves, but on behalf of the entire community of teachers and students.

A decisive element is the education in democratic processes. By electing fellow students to various offices, each Salem student acts democratically. The highest organs at each level of school are:

  • Parliament (Upper School)
  • Council (Middle School)
  • Council (Lower School)

This is where all decisions are taken which influence student life. The procedures and the tasks and competences of the highest offices (e.g., school speaker and deputies) are set out in the constitutions for each of the three levels of school.

Impressions of our Student Self-Governance

From Government to Sport

Taking Positions of Leadership

Elected officers form an important organ in Salem's system of student self-governance.  There are a wide variety of duties and levels of responsibility, ranging from elected political offices to captain of sports teams to organizers of extracurricular student activities. Each of the office-holders share a common goal: to be a good role model and strengthen the Salem community.

Elected Offices Years 8 - 10

Service Activity Captain

In all service activities - as important elements of the Salem education - students also take on considerable responsibility. Together with the pedagogical mentor, the service captain organizes the service's work and helps to integrate all students into an effective group. By being a role model and motivating the group's members, the captain plays a decisive role.

Service Activity Council Speaker

This council made up of all service activity captains elects a chairperson to lead the council meetings, coordinate project actions, and represent the interests of the services in the parliament or council, respectively.


Each dormitory wing is an autonomous residential group within the boarding school and elects a student to be a trustee and representative. Together with the pedagogical mentor, the helper is responsible for running the wing. The helper is an intermediary between students and mentor and has an important function to play as role model and conflict mediator within the wing as well as contributing ideas to the boarding school community.

Helpers' Council Speaker

The Helpers' Council is made up of the elected representatives from each dormitory wing. The council elects a speaker and a deputy speaker. The speaker coordinates the meetings, which serve to facilitate exchange of information and cooperation. Issues related to boarding school life are discussed and larger joint projects are first discussed here. The speaker also acts as a mediator in case of clashes or conflicts between members.

Members of Parliament or Council

For the term of one semester (Upper School) or one school Age eight (Middle School) students are elected to the parliament or council respectively. They take on various topics of responsibility, such as finances, extracurricular activities, environment, etc.

Chairperson of the Parliament or Council

The councils of the Lower School and Middle Schools and the parliament of the Upper School are the most important organs with decision-making powers. Hence the chairman is one of the highest ranking offices and holds considerable authority. The chairperson is elected by the members of the council or parliament and gives up the right to vote. The chairperson organizes each session, approves topics for discussion and moderates the discussion. The chairperson plays an important role as initiator in the political life of the school.

School Representatives

The highest elected office at Salem is that of the school speaker.  The two school speakers act as an intermediary between the school's staff and students. Therefore they work closely together with the administration of Schule Schloss Salem. The speakers are members in all committees in which students are represented and also the leading representatives of the school both on-campus and off-campus. In the Middle School election of the two speakers takes place at the beginning of the school schoolyear. In the Upper School, however, elections take place twice a schoolyear. All members of the Salem community are eligible to vote, including the entire staff.

Elected Offices Years 11 & 12

KVV Chairperson

The chairperson of the College Plenary Session (KVV) is elected by the Upper School's student body to represent their interests and is hence named the Students' Speaker in distinction to the School Speaker. The chairperson calls for plenary sessions as needed and acts as a contact person for all students.

IB Speaker

The IB Speaker is elected by all students Agess 11 & 12 in the International Baccalaureate track and is their representative in all matters related to the IB. The IB Speaker works together with the school administration in the Academic Council.

Abi Speaker

The Abi Speaker is elected by all students Ages 11 & 12 in the Abitur track and is their representative in all matters of academic concern. The Abi Speaker works together with the school administration in the Academic Council.