Supporting Diverse Populations Policy Priority

Our nation's schools and individual classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse and are comprised of all types of students, including English Language Learners, Indigenous children and youth, and students with disabilities. NASP is committed to advancing policies and practices that meet the needs of all students. This includes supporting students with diverse backgrounds by using culturally and linguistically appropriate methods, including delivery in the language that best meets the students' needs. Schools are expected to provide effective and comprehensive supports and services to help these students succeed in all domains: academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.

Supporting Students with Disabilities

NASP has a long history of pursuing public policies that support students with disabilities. Advocacy for comprehensive mental health services has dominated the policy landscape in recent years. This advocacy has emphasized the critical role that school psychologists play in the identification and support of students with emotional disabilities, as well as the importance of states recognizing school psychologists as eligible providers of Medicaid services. NASP’s recent advocacy efforts target the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization efforts currently being considered in the Congress.

Culturally Competent Practice

Through partnerships, recruitment efforts, bilingual publications, training, online resources, and advocacy, NASP promotes cultural competence in every area of school psychological service delivery. Culturally competent practice benefits children in many ways. In addition to improved cross-cultural communication, school psychologists who are culturally competent ensure that consultation, intervention, and assessments are appropriately designed to meet student, staff, and parental needs.

Sexual Minority Youth

NASP believes that all children have the right to a safe learning environment that is free from harassment, bullying, and violence. Negative attitudes toward students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning often contribute to higher rates of bullying and harassment and poorer student outcomes for these youth. NASP has actively supported federal safe schools legislation and public policies that seek to prevent bullying and harassment in schools including protections for sexual minority youth.

Supporting Indigeneous Children and Youth

NASP supports equal access to education and mental health services for Indigenous children and youth, and recognizes that their families are partners in the provision of these services. NASP is actively working to strengthen policies and practices supporting native youth. This includes advocating for graduate education programs that train school psychologists for work with these populations.