Adopted 6 November 2004
Revised 16 September 2016

Download the full constitution as a PDF, or use the links below to jump to a specific article.

Article I: Name and Purpose
Article II: The National Advisory Council
Article III: Officers of the National Advisory Council
Article IV: NEHS Director
Article V: Committees
Article VI: Local Chapter
Article VII: The Principal
Article VIII: Chapter Advisors
Article IX: The Faculty Advisory Council
Article X: Membership
Article XI: Selection of Members
Article XII: Induction
Article XIII: Removal from Membership
Article XIV: Chapter Officers
Article XV: Executive Committee
Article XVI: Meetings
Article XVII: Activities
Article XVIII: Official Insignia
Article XIX: Bylaws
Article XX: Amendments
Article XXI: State/Regional Organizations

Article I: Name and Purpose

Section I. The name of this organization shall be the National English Honor Society, hereafter known as NEHS.

Section II. The mission and purposes of this organization shall be literary and educational. NEHS shall strive to

  1. confer distinction upon secondary school students for high achievement in English language arts;
  2. provide, through its local chapters, cultural stimulation in secondary school environments;
  3. encourage interest in the English language arts;
  4. promote exemplary character and good fellowship among its members; and
  5. serve society by fostering literacy.

Section III. NEHS shall be under the sponsorship and supervision of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.

Article II: The National Advisory Council

Section I. The oversight of this organization shall be vested in the National Advisory Council.

Section II. The National Advisory Council shall consist of up to three members per geographic area, approved by the Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors, the Sigma Tau Delta Executive Director, and the NEHS Director. All shall be selected to represent the corresponding six Sigma Tau Delta Regions. The NEHS Executive Director and the NEHS Director shall be ex officio, voting members of the National Advisory Council.

Section III. Each of the appointed members shall serve a three-year term, renewable once.

Section IV. Each of the appointed members shall be tenured, full-time secondary school teachers or administrators whose primary teaching responsibilities are in the field of English.

Section V. The National Advisory Council shall be constituted in such a way that two of the six members will complete, and two begin, their three-year terms each year, so that in the course of any one academic year at least four members will be in continuing terms of office. This does not apply to the Sigma Tau Delta Executive Director or NEHS Director, who remain as permanent members of the Council.

Section VI. Any National Advisory Council members may be removed for cause by a majority vote of the other Council members, provided the NEHS Director has notified such Council member in writing at least thirty days prior to the removal, specifying cause(s), or charge(s), or both.

Section VII. In the event that a Council member is unable to serve, the NEHS Director, in consultation with the remaining National Advisory Council members, shall identify a replacement to serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

Section VIII. A simple majority of all members shall constitute a quorum of the National Advisory Council. In the absence of a quorum, motions may be made, but any such motion(s) shall then be submitted to a vote of record and, if passed by a majority of Council members, shall be considered binding.

Section IX. National Advisory Council members shall share the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Council, except for those specifically designated otherwise. These obligations shall include, but not be limited to, disseminating information to local chapters in their regions, encouraging and stimulating active chapters, encouraging the formation of new chapters, and serving on committees, task forces. Members of the Council shall agree to meet all expectations of the position as outlined, including completion of an annual National Advisory Council member report.

Section X. National Advisory Council meetings shall be held at least once every year at a time and place selected by the Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors; such meeting will coincide with the international convention of Sigma Tau Delta.

Article III: Officers of the National Advisory Council

Section I. The National Advisory Council shall be led by the NEHS Director, who is employed by Sigma Tau Delta.

Section II. The Executive Committee of the National Advisory Council shall consist of the Executive Director of Sigma Tau Delta, the NEHS Director, and one representative from each of the six geographic regions of NEHS.

Section III. The Executive Committee shall have all executive powers of the Council except those retained by the full Council.

Section IV. The Executive Committee shall have the following duties:

  1. The NEHS Director shall preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee and at any full Council meetings. S/he shall appoint committees, of which s/he shall be an ex officio member. S/he shall report annually to the Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors the activities, developments, financial status, and concerns of NEHS.
  2. The Executive Committee will communicate regularly throughout the school year.

Article IV: NEHS Director

Section I. The NEHS Director shall be appointed by the Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors and shall serve subject to a written contract setting forth the powers and duties of the position.

Section II. The NEHS Director shall serve as the chief liaison between the National Advisory Council and the Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors.

Section III. The NEHS Director’s contract may be renewed at the discretion of the Sigma Tau Delta Board.

Section IV. In the event that the contract with the NEHS Director is breached or is otherwise unfulfilled, the president of the Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors, the Executive Director of Sigma Tau Delta, and the National Advisory Council shall call upon the Board, within one month, to determine the method of selecting a successor.

Section V. The NEHS Director is an ex officio voting member of the National Advisory Council.

Section VI. The NEHS Director reports to and is under the supervision of the Executive Director of Sigma Tau Delta.

Article V: Committees

Section I. NEHS may create committees as necessary to do the work of the Council.

Section II. The NEHS Director shall appoint the members of the committees.

Section III. The NEHS Director shall be an ex officio member of all committees.

Section IV. The committees shall report to the Council regarding the fulfillment of the charges given them by the Council.

Article VI: Local Chapters

Section I. Any high school is eligible to apply for a charter of a local chapter. Each school shall have its own chapter except in situations where a school’s size precludes the formation of a Faculty Advisory Council or if the school’s student population is not large enough to maintain a viable chapter. In such cases a chapter can be shared as long as all other constitutional requirements can be met.

Section II. Each chapter shall complete a charter application, supplied by the Central Office, and pay a chartering fee determined by the National Advisory Council.

Section III. Each chapter shall pay an annual affiliation fee determined by the National Advisory Council.

Section IV. Local-chapter member dues, if any, shall be determined by the local chapter and shall be subject to the approval of the chapter’s Faculty Advisory Council.

Section V. Duly chartered local chapters shall conform to this constitution as set forth by the National Advisory Council. Failure to do so may result in the loss of the charter.

Section VI. Each chapter shall submit annually its new-member list and associated fees.

Section VII. Any chapter that fails to fulfill the provisions of this Constitution and bylaws, or which conducts its affairs and business in such a way as to contradict or impede the progress and purposes of NEHS, shall forfeit its charter. In the event that a charter is to be canceled at the request of the local chapter the Central Office will recognize and register such cancellation.

Section VIII. A chapter that does not submit annually its new-member information, member fees, and its annual affiliation fee shall be deemed inactive. After two years of inactive status, the chapter shall forfeit its charter. The chapter may be reinstated upon submitting reactivation papers and fees, as determined by the National Advisory Council.

Article VII: The Principal

Section I. The principal of a school at which a local chapter has been chartered shall reserve the right to approve all activities and decisions of that chapter.

Section II. Membership.  The principal shall appoint one or more members of the faculty as Chapter Advisor(s), who may serve consecutive terms.

Section III. The principal shall receive appeals in cases of non-selection of member candidates or the dismissal of members.

Article VIII: Chapter Advisors

Section I. Chapter Advisors shall be members of the English faculty, appointed by the principal, and may serve consecutive terms. The NEHS Director shall be consulted if any advisor is not a member of the English faculty.

Section II. The Chapter Advisor shall be responsible for the direct, day-to-day supervision of the chapter and act as liaison among students, faculty, administration, and community.

Section III. The Chapter Advisor shall maintain files on membership, chapter history, activities, financial transactions, and the chapter bylaws.

Section IV. The Chapter Advisor shall regularly review each member for compliance with Society standards and obligations.

Section V. The Chapter Advisor shall help the chapter officers understand and carry out their duties.

Section VI. The Chapter Advisor shall be a voting member of the Faculty Advisory Council.

Section VII. The Chapter Advisor shall be designated a NEHS honorary member, but will not pay the national induction fee.

Section VIII. The Chapter Advisor shall be the major liaison between the local chapter and the Central Office, submitting the membership information and fees, and any other items requested by the National Advisory Council, and receiving for prompt distribution those items, pertaining to membership, sent by the Central Office.

Article IX: The Faculty Advisory Council

Section I. The Faculty Advisory Council shall consist of faculty members identified by, and including, the Chapter Advisor in consultation with the principal.

Section II. The term of the Faculty Advisory Council shall be one year; members may serve consecutive terms.

Section III. The Faculty Advisory Council shall meet at least once a year to review the procedures of the chapter, select members, consider dismissals, and/or for other related matters.

Section IV. The Faculty Advisory Council shall develop and revise, when necessary, all chapter procedures for the selection and dismissal of members.

Article X: Membership

Section I. Membership in local chapters is an honor bestowed on a student. Selection for membership is by a Faculty Advisory Council and is based both on academic accomplishment in English and English-related courses, as well as on overall academic accomplishment. For the purposes of identifying “English,” individual schools may use any courses that use the “English” designation on report cards or in fulfilling “English” requirements.

Section II. Once selected, members have the responsibility to continue to demonstrate high standards, including the maintenance of grades, in English. Failure to do so will result in removal from membership.

Section III. There are three types of membership: active, alumni, and honorary:

  1. Active members are high school students and remain active members while they maintain the required GPA and until graduation, at which time they become alumni members.
  2. Alumni members, in accordance with school policy, may be invited to participate in chapter events, but have no voice or vote in chapter affairs.
  3. Honorary membership may be awarded, by consent of the Faculty Advisory Council, to school officials, principals, teachers, adults and students whose achievements in English or NEHS-related activities merit special recognition. Chapters may induct up to four honorary members per year, and are responsible for induction fees for honorary members. Honorary members shall have no voice or vote in chapter affairs.

Section IV. Any NEHS member who transfers to another school and brings a letter of verification from the former principal or Chapter Advisor to the new school NEHS Chapter Advisor shall be accepted automatically as a member in the new school’s chapter.

Section V. Membership may not be determined, in any way, on the basis of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or physical (dis)ability.

Section VI. Acceptance into NEHS membership does not confer automatic acceptance into Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.

Article XI: Selection of Members

Section I. Candidates for membership must have been in attendance at the school the equivalent of one semester prior to being considered. If special circumstances merit, the Faculty Advisory Council may waive the semester regulation.

Section II. Candidates must have completed the equivalent of two semesters of English prior to induction as members.

Section III. Candidates must have achieved a minimum overall grade point average of a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) prior to induction as members.

Section IV. Candidates must have achieved a minimum English grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) prior to induction as members.

Section V. Candidates achieving the minimal requirements may be invited to apply for membership in NEHS. The application process will require candidates to demonstrate their desire to be a member of NEHS. Application processes developed by Faculty Advisory Councils may include additional criteria (i.e., application essays, letters of recommendation, etc.) but all requirements must be based on demonstrated academic performance, interest in NEHS, and applicant character.

Section VI. Faculty Advisory Councils may raise, but not lower, academic criteria.

Section VII. Any member whose grades in English drop below the chapter’s minimum admission requirement for two consecutive semesters shall be dismissed from NEHS membership. Such members may be readmitted when current minimum membership criteria are met.

Section VIII. The method of selection of eligible students and their election to membership shall be determined by the Faculty Advisory Council and shall be consistent with the rules and regulations of NEHS.

Section IX. A description of the selection procedure and local chapter criteria shall be widely available in a timely fashion to all the school’s students, faculty, and parents.

Section X. The National Advisory Council shall not review the judgment of the Faculty Advisory Council regarding selection of individual members to local chapters as long as selection criteria are based on demonstrated academic achievement and other considerations identified by the Faculty Advisory Council. Opinions solicited from the NEHS Director or National Advisory Council concerning membership decisions shall be advisory only.

Section XI. Final decisions concerning membership shall be the responsibility of the principal or the principal’s designee.

Article XII: Induction

Section I. Each local chapter may institute an appropriate ceremony for the induction of new members. The local chapter and its Faculty Advisory Council shall determine the procedures for and nature of this ceremony. Newly inducted members shall receive their membership certificates and other appropriate materials as their membership is affirmed.

Section II. In the event that an individual qualifies for membership after the date of the induction ceremony, s/he may be inducted at a regular chapter meeting provided the membership forms and fees already have been submitted to the Central Office.

Article XIII: Removal from Membership

Section I. The Faculty Advisory Council, in compliance with the rules and regulations of the National Advisory Council, shall determine the procedure for removal from membership. A written description of the removal process shall be available to interested parties.

Section II. Members who fall below the standards that were the basis for the selection shall be warned promptly in writing by the Chapter Advisor and given a reasonable amount of time to correct the deficiency, except that in the case of flagrant violation of school rules or civil laws a member does not necessarily have to be warned.

Section III. In all cases of impending removal from membership, a member shall have the right to a hearing before the Faculty Advisory Council.

Section IV. A member may be reinstated when the Faculty Advisory Council determines that the member is once again qualified for membership. All reinstatements must be reported promptly to the Central Office.

Section V. The Chapter Advisor shall notify the Central Office promptly of any chapter member dismissals.

Section VI. The NEHS Director, the National Advisory Council, nor Sigma Tau Delta shall hear appeals in cases of removal from membership.

Article XIV: Chapter Officers

Section I. The officers of the chapter, their duties, and the method of their election shall be determined by the members of the chapter, approved by the Faculty Advisory Council and the principal, and described in the chapter bylaws.

Section II. New officers shall be elected in the spring and installed at a special ceremony.

Article XV: Executive Committee

Section I. The chapter’s executive committee shall consist of the chapter’s officers and the Chapter Advisor.

Section II. The chapter’s executive committee shall have general supervision of the affairs of the chapter between its business meetings, make recommendations to the chapter, and determine and perform such other duties as are specified in the chapter bylaws. All actions and recommendations of the executive committee shall be subject to the review of the chapter membership.

Section III. The executive committee shall have the responsibility for ensuring that chapter activities and procedures follow school policy and regulations.

Article XVI: Meetings

Section I. Each chapter shall have regular meetings during the school year, on days designated by the executive committee and in accordance with school policy and regulations.

Section II. The regularity of the meetings (i.e., weekly, monthly, bimonthly) shall be designated in the chapter bylaws, but they shall occur no less than once a semester.

Section III. The chapter president or other designated student leader, in consultation with the Chapter Advisor, may call special meetings of the chapter.

Section IV. Chapters shall, in all points not expressly provided for in this Constitution or the chapter bylaws, conduct meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.

Article XVII: Activities

Section I. Each chapter shall determine, in accordance with the Chapter Advisor, activities appropriate to the purposes of NEHS.

Section II. These activities shall have the following characteristics: fulfill a need within the school or community; have the support of the Faculty Advisory Council; be appropriate and educationally defensible; and be well-planned and executed. These activities may or may not directly pertain to the discipline of English, but should in some ways reflect the activity’s appropriateness to the goals and mission of NEHS.

Section III. Each chapter shall publicize its projects in a positive, responsible, and tasteful manner suitable for representing a national honor society such as NEHS.

Article XVIII: Official Insignia

Section I. NEHS shall have an official emblem selected by the National Advisory Council, who shall have the exclusive control of its use.

Section II. Only active, alumni, and honorary members shall be entitled to wear this emblem.

Section III. Any member who resigns or is removed from membership shall not be entitled to wear this emblem.

Section IV. All Society insignia must be procured from the NEHS Central Office; members and local chapters may not reproduce or substitute any officially designated insignia.

Section V. The motto of NEHS is “Gelast Sceal Mid Are”– Old English for “duty goes with honor.”

Section VI. The official colors of NEHS are royal blue and gold.

Section VII. The official flower of NEHS is the white carnation.

Article XIX: Bylaws

Section I. Each chapter shall write bylaws to amplify sections of the constitution and to clarify the chapter’s operating procedures. Bylaws do not need the approval of the National Advisory Council but must be consistent with this constitution.

Section II. The chapter bylaws shall contain, but not be limited to, information concerning: membership selection criteria; the scheduling of meetings; the election, duties and responsibilities of officers; the Chapter Advisor; criteria for removal from office; filling of officers’ vacancies; chapter dues (if any), and the method and procedure for ratification of the bylaws.

Section III. Each chapter must ensure that a copy of its bylaws is on file with the school.

Article XX: Amendments

Section I. This Constitution may be amended at any meeting of the National Advisory Council or by mail (electronic or otherwise) by a majority affirmative vote of the National Advisory Council and with the approval of the Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors.

Section II. Local chapters may petition the National Advisory Council with recommended amendments to the Constitution.

Article XXI: State/Regional Organizations

Section I. Local chapters may organize district, state, or regional NEHS activities, the purpose of which is to sponsor events for local chapter members and to engender projects at a state or regional level.

Section II. Any district, state, or regional NEHS partnerships shall conform to this Constitution.

Section III. Any district, state, or regional NEHS associations shall not in any way supersede local chapter authority as delegated and defined in this Constitution.

Section IV. Any district, state, or regional associations shall prepare bylaws that conform to all official documents prepared by the NEHS.