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A Final Review of the 2007 NASP/GWU/IEL Public Policy Institute

From July 15-20, 2007, over 100 school psychologists came to Washington, DC from 36 states and the District of Columbia to participate in the 2007 NASP/GWU/IEL Public Policy Institute. This institute was co-sponsored by George Washington University and the Institute for Educational Leadership.     The George Washington University Graduate School in Education and Human Development is one of the nation’s premiere graduate schools training future leaders in educational public policy. The mission of the Institute for Educational Leadership's (IEL) is to improve education -- and the lives of children and their families -- through positive and visionary change. As one of the nation’s most prominent educational “think tanks”, IEL shares promising practices through print and professional communications, and translates their own and others' research into suggestions for improvement.

State school psychology associations sponsoring PPI teams included: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.     Additional participants came from Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. School psychology participants engaged in intense study and discussion alongside 30 George Washington University graduate students taking the PPI for graduate credit.

Participating school psychologists had the option of taking a “basic” (July 15-18) or a “comprehensive” training (July 15-20). The “basic” training focused on building the foundations of grassroots advocacy and a basic understanding of educational law. The “comprehensive” training expanding participant knowledge by looking more in depth into how policy is formed including participating in a culminating activity  that had both NASP and GWU participants work together to solve a wicked problem of practice through designing a public policy agenda and response.

An amazing line up of national experts presented information and engaged in dialogues with PPI participants. Here are a few of the national leaders that participated:

  • Michael Usdan, Senior Fellow, Institute for Educational Leadership
  • Mary Futrell, Dean of George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development
  • William O’Hare, Senior Fellow, Annie E Casey Foundation
  • Lynn Olson, Executive Project Editor, Quality Counts/Education Week
  • Kevin Dwyer, School Psychologist Consultant, former NASP President and Associate for the American Institutes for Research (AIR)
  • David Egnor, Education Program Specialist, Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
  • Stephanie Robinson, Senior Fellow, The Education Trust
  • Susan Sclafani, Managing Director, Chartwell Education Group (Former Counselor to U.S. Secretary of Ed, and Asst. Sec, Office of Vocational and Adult Education)
  • Joanne Cashman, Director, IDEA Partnership, National Association of State Directors of Special Education
  • Marc Tucker, The National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE)
  • Marty Blank, Director, Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership

Access a copy of the official agenda here.

Access a copy of the speaker bios here.

Capitol Hill Day, July 18, 2007

On July 18, 2007 PPI participants traveled to the U.S. Capitol to engage in a day of hands on advocacy. The day began in a beautiful and stately room in the Russell Senate Building where participants enjoyed a continental breakfast, heard from state leaders on issues relating to Medicaid reimbursements in schools, and got an inside look of NCLB reauthorization issues from legislative staff from Senator Enzi (R, WY), Senator Harkin (D, IA), and Representative Hoyer (D, MD) offices. Thanks to educational staff Lindsay Hunsicker (Enzi), Jill Antonishak (Harkin), and Ivana Alexander (Hoyer) for their participation in this event. NASP is also grateful to Senator Hillary Clinton (D, NY) for sponsoring our room.

After the morning session in the Russell building, state teams ventured into the halls of Capitol Hill to meet their elected officials and/or legislative staff and advocate for NASP’s public policy priorities. Over 80 different offices of Senators and Congressmen were visited that day. NASP materials and resources were presented and specific public policy priorities and issues were discussed.

Sample 2007 NASP/GWU/IEL Presentations

Materials are accessible to current NASP members only. Please log in to see the links.

PPI sessions included presentations from national experts, school psychology leaders, GWU faculty, and NASP staff. A sampling of some of the presentations led by NASP staff are included here:

Introduction to NASP Advocacy. Presented by Stacy Skalski, NASP Director of Public Policy.

This session kicked off the PPI and sought to provide an overview of NASP leadership and staff, public policy initiatives and priorities, advocacy activities and the key federal statutes that impact school psychologists.

Communication and Advocacy Across Settings. Presented by Kathy Cowan, NASP Director of Communications and Marketing; Stacy Skalski, NASP Director of Public Policy; and Fulvia Franco, GPR Committee Member.

This session examined the NASP key policy messages important to school psychologists and helped participants learn how to develop these messages for advocacy use. Participants also broke into small groups and worked on developing a message using the attached activity sheet.

Access the activity sheet here<.

NASP Advocacy Tools. Presented by Stacy Skalski, NASP Director of Public Policy

This session provided an overview of the specific tools that NASP uses to track and influence key legislation. Additionally, tools and resources available to assist states in pursuing public policy initiatives were also reviewed.

School Psychologists and the APA Model Licensing Act. Presented by Joan Bohmann, NASP Director of Professional Standards and Jennifer Kitson, NASP Advocacy Program Manager.

This session provided an overview of the APA Model Licensing Act and discussed how proposed revisions to this act impact school psychologists. Suggestions for how school psychologists could advocate to oppose these changes were discussed.

Crisis as an Opportunity for Change. Presented by Stacy Skalski, NASP Director of Public Policy and Jon Miles, President of Searchlight Consulting and Former Fellow to Sen. Tom Harkin.

This session kicked off the special theme addressed during the Comprehensive PPI. This theme addressed how crises provide public policy opportunities and how policy evolves from these events. This theme was explored from the standpoint of systems changes at the legislative, organizational, administrative, and practitioner levels.

Evaluation of the 2007 NASP/GWU/IEL Public Policy Institute

Three methods were selected for evaluating the PPI: 1) pre-post test knowledge assessment; 2) PPI evaluation survey; and 3) state advocacy action planning process.

Pre-Post Test Knowledge Assessment. All NASP PPI participants were asked to complete a pre-test prior to their participation. This pretest examined participant knowledge of Congress, educational law and grassroots advocacy, as well as, NASP advocacy leadership and priorities. Following the PPI, participants were asked to complete a post test to see how the PPI had contributed to their knowledge of law and advocacy. Thirty PPI participants completed both the pre-test and post-test assessment. Twenty-eight participants demonstrated gains in their overall knowledge of Congress, law, grassroots advocacy and NASP advocacy leadership and programs. On average, PPI participants improved their score on average by getting 5 more questions correct out of a possible 29 correct responses.

Access a copy of the pre/post test results here.

PPI Evaluation Survey. Additionally, participants were asked to evaluate all aspects of the PPI in terms of the organization of the PPI, session and speaker quality, and overall facilities. Generally, the results of this evaluation were overwhelmingly positive with session ratings ranging from 3.2-5.0 (5=very helpful and informative). The average rating of all sessions combined was 4.1, suggesting that participants were generally very pleased with the quality of the presentations and discussion sessions.

Access a summary copy of the evaluation survey results here.

State Advocacy Action Planning Process. In order to determine if state teams actually used the knowledge gained from participation in the PPI, all states were asked to complete a State Advocacy Action Plan. States were given time during the PPI to meet and discuss this plan and each state is required to submit an action plan by September 1, 2007. A mid-term assessment of the progress towards this plan will be due to NASP staff and the GPR chair by February 1, 2008 and a final evaluation will be due June 15, 2008. The final results of the state team planning will then be compiled and shared with Delegate Assembly during the Summer DA conference in July 2008.

Access a copy of the State Advocacy Action Planning Guidelines here.

Access a copy of the State Advocacy Goals Worksheet here.

2007 NASP/GWU/IEL Public Policy Institute Photo Gallery

As with any NASP event, staff, leaders and participants record their favorite moments from an event in pictures to share. The following pictures are posted for your enjoyment and to give you a sense of what PPI participants experienced first hand.

Photo 1: Welcome from NASP Executive Director, Susan Gorin. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 2: Welcome from GWU Associate Dean, Bob Ianacone. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 3: Welcome from IEL Senior Associate, Barbara McCloud. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 4: Opening Session: Intro to NASP Advocacy by Stacy Skalski, Director of Public Policy. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 5: The Importance of Collaboration for Advocacy by NASP President, Rhonda Armistead. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 6: PPI Registration with Gorin, Armistead and Skalski. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 7: GWU professor Carol Kochhar-Bryant shares reflections with the group. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 8: NASP PPI Graduate Student Interns: Alyssa, Erin, and Shira. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 9: PPI participants relaxing during a break. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 10: Susan Gorin welcomes Kevin Dwyer to the PPI. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 11: David Egnor, US Department of Education, OSEP. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 12: Stephanie Robinson, Education Trust. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 13: NASP Director of Research, Jeff Charvat and NASP Graduate Intern, Anna Peña. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 14: Advocacy program manager Jennifer Kitson explains the MLA to PPI participants. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 15: Joan Bohmann, NASP Director of Professional Standards, chimes in on the MLA. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 16: Candis Hogan, GPR member, discusses NCSP parity. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 17: Nick Silvestri, GPR member, talks about NCSP parity in MD. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 18: GPR committee members lead the Grassroots Advocacy breakout session. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 19: Jackie Buckley, US Department of Education, IES discusses research and advocacy. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 20: Kathy Cowan, Director of Communications, discusses crafting advocacy messages. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 21: Susan Sclafani, Chartwell Education Group. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 22: Joann Cashmann, IDEA Partnership. Photo Credit: Jeff Charvat

Photo 23: Gene Cash, NASP President Elect discusses Medicaid Reimbursement in schools during Capitol Hill day. Photo Credit: Michael Johnson

Photo 24: The Georgia Association of School Psychologists PPI team on Capitol Hill. Photo Credit: Michael Johnson

Photo 25: Ivana Alexander, Legislative Aide to Rep. Hoyer (MD) presents to PPI participants. Photo Credit: Stacy Skalski

Photo 26: PPI Participant Michael Johnson meets with Rep. Boyd (FL) and staff. Photo Credit: Stacy Skalski

Photo 27: Jon Miles, former aide to Sen. Harkin and President of Searchlight Consulting offers a unique view of advocacy on Capitol Hill. Photo Credit: Michael Johnson

Photo 28: Melissa Reeves, NASP CPI Chair, talks about the evolution of the PREPaRE Curriculum. Photo Credit: Michael Johnson

Photo 29: Comprehensive PPI participants listen to the perspectives of experts. Photo Credit: Michael Johnson

Photo 30: Professional organization leaders describe how crisis impacts organizational policy. Photo Credit: Michael Johnson

Photo 31: School administrators describe how crisis impacts systems policies and practices. Photo Credit: Stacy Skalski

Photo 32: Ginny Hall from GA participates in her group presentation during the comprehensive training. Photo Credit: Michael Johnson

Photo 33: Group 1 comprehensive PPI participants presents their answer to their “wicked problem of practice”. Photo Credit: Michael Johnson