Policy Matters Blog

2023’s Public Policy Institute Is All About Students’ Civil Rights

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month! We are about 2 months away from this year's Public Policy Institute (PPI), which will occur July 19-21 at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, DC, and the GPR Committee has been hard at work preparing. We will be back in person, where we will have 3 days jam-packed with speakers, conversations, and practical strategies culminating in a day on Capitol Hill advocating for policy and practice that support the civil rights of all students.

Since 2007, NASP has been offering a PPI to build the advocacy capacity for NASP members and state school psychology associations. School psychologists are uniquely qualified to advocate for children and their families, because of their understanding of school systems, academic supports, social and emotional skills, youth mental health, and how the school context impacts development.

This year's PPI will focus on the theme "Advocate as if Public Education Depends on It: Supporting Civil Rights for All Students." With growing efforts to roll back students' rights in schools, including the right to seek out a school-based mental health professional, this year's training will be focused on helping school psychologists advocate for investments in education, protect the civil rights of students and school community members, and educate others about the importance of comprehensive school-based mental health supports at the local, state, and federal levels.

PPI participants will learn through collaborative activities and dialogue on topics such as understanding federal education budgets, strategies to ensure safe and supportive schools, and policies and practices to uphold the rights of minoritized students. All content will be presented through the lens of effective communication, grassroots advocacy, and the importance of networking, and several prerecorded modules will add context to the institute.

There have been several notable speakers announced so far, and there are more to come! Featured speakers include: Ellen Kahn, the Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign, alongside Amy Cannava, Chair of NASP's LGBTQI2-S+ Committee; Renee Bradley, Education Program Specialist in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education; Lakeisha Steele, Vice President of Policy at CASEL; and Sarah Abernathy, Executive Director of the Committee for Education Funding.

As the first in-person PPI since the start of the pandemic, this year's institute promises a rich experience full of connection and collaboration, including with NASP staff and leaders. For more information about this year's Public Policy Institute, including information about featured speakers and how to register, please visit the PPI webpage or contact Maria Cornell, NASP Manager of Policy and Advocacy (mcornell@naspweb.org).