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Tell Us Your Story!
Call for Submissions "Communication Matters" Columns 2012–2013

The purpose of the “Communication Matters” column in Communiqué is to highlight what school psychologists are doing to address professional challenges using effective communications and professional advocacy. Many school psychologists regularly work to improve services or bring about change in their school community but don’t always recognize the importance of communications and advocacy in the process. Examples might include convincing your principal to allow you to conduct a school-wide needs assessment, implementing a new mental health program, working with school staff to improve parent engagement, establishing a leadership role in integrating community-based services with school-based services, or protecting school psychologists’ positions during the budget process.

Anything you do to shape the school environment, strengthen relationships, enhance your leadership role, or improve your ability to provide effective services can be the subject of an article. Consider sharing a project or effort that you felt particularly important or timely, even if it wasn’t totally successful. We simply want you to tell us your story and answer a few questions.

Format for the Article

Please answer each question to the extent possible. The recommended word lengths are approximate. The “Consider” questions are merely prompts; do not feel constrained by them. Don’t stress about being a perfect writer. A member of the Communications Workgroup will work with you to clarify points and refine any rough spots, if necessary.

1. Tell Us Your Story. (Approximately 500 words)

Consider: What was the situation that you wanted to address? What did you do? Why? What made that situation unique that required action? Why was this different than what you normally do? Why did this require a different approach? Why at this time?

2. Expand a Bit. (Approximately 1000 words total)

  1. What Were You Hoping to Accomplish? Consider: What were the specific benefits to students, families, and the school at large? How hard did you think this was going to be? Why was this important to your role as a school psychologist?
  1. Who Were the Key Players? Consider: Why were these people important? Were they allies or opponents? How did you work with them to achieve your goal? Were these people traditionally involved in this issue?
  1. What Opportunities Did You See That Made This Possible at This Time? Consider: How did this opportunity or need present itself? What connections did you have or develop with the key players? What else was going on in your district that made your effort likely to succeed? What prompted you to get involved? 
  1. What Strategies Did You Use? Consider: What challenges did you face? What resources did you engage? What, if any, critical points and key messages did you use to convince people?
  1. How Did You Determine Success? Consider: If you did not achieve you entire goal, did you feel there was value in what you did achieve? What, if any, were the secondary outcomes? Was this as hard as you expected? Do you have next steps? Who do you wish knew about this project or effort? Why?)
  1. Include a Related Resource. If you used a tool or resource to help communicate your goals and you can share it with people, we may include it in Communiqué or online with the column. This could be a form, a set of instructions, a brief fact sheet, a sample letter to administrators, key talking points, etc. (OPTIONAL)

3. Be Sure to Let Us Know: Where you work, your role/position, your number of years as a school psychologist, the population served by this effort (urban, rural, suburban, etc.).

Send Us Your Story. E-mail your responses to Communications Workgroup members Tom Daniels tom@thomasedaniels.com and Andrea Cohn-Gonzales angec99@hotmail.com and NASP Communications Director Kathy Cowan kcowan@naspweb.org.