Advocacy in Action at the 2018 Convention

By: Christina Koch, NASP Manager, Professional Relations

Advocacy Engagement  

gumbyNASP recently wrapped up another successful annual convention in Chicago, Illinois. This was NASP's best attended convention with over 6,500 school psychologists gathered to engage in professional development, networking, and advocating for some of the many issues that concern school psychologists.  

These issues are fully detailed in the 2018 Public Policy and Legislative Platform, which represents overarching policy goals and recommendations that support the mission and vision of NASP.   The platform includes specific legislative and regulatory goals that:

  • Support safe and supportive school environments for all students
  • Remedy the shortages of school psychologists
  • Support federal investments in comprehensive school psychological services
  • Protect access to comprehensive mental and behavioral health services
  • Promote comprehensive school safety policy and practice  

At the convention, NASP drafted letters and talking points for folks to advocate for these goals by contacting their elected officials at the NASP Government and Professional Relations (GPR) booth and online via NASP's Advocacy Action Center. We had an amazing turnout this year at the booth and online. Over 400 individual advocates took action to send more than 2,500 letters to Congress!   These letters and talking points are still live on NASP's Advocacy Action Center! If you missed out on stopping by the GPR booth at convention or participating virtually last week, I encourage you to still take a minute to make your voice heard. You can also regularly check back throughout the year, as NASP updates the featured letters and talking points when it is urgent and timely to do so. I hope we can continue the momentum displayed at the convention and find simple ways to make advocacy a part of everyday life. School psychologists have such important knowledge and experience that needs to be shared with Congress to implement the best policies and practices for kids!  

In addition, we had hundreds of people tweeting at their elected officials, advocating on social media, and sharing convention experiences during the week with the hashtag #NASPadvocates. Folks that stopped by the GPR booth were especially energized by NASP's infographics, which were created to visually share data and information with stakeholders on social media. Many shared stories about how they have already been using the infographics in their states and districts over the past year.  

Gumby also had a lot to do with this exciting engagement, as we were lucky enough to have Gumby join us at the GPR booth for the second year in a row! Gumby embodies the qualities of school psychologists-he is flexible, caring, and advocates for ALL kids!  

Advocacy-Related Sessions  

There were approximately 30 advocacy-related sessions, meetings, symposia, and events at the convention that were well-attended, and they fostered important discussions focused on NASP's public policy goals.   Some of NASP's sponsored advocacy sessions included:

  • Public Policy and NASP: ESEA Reauthorization, Public Policy Updates, and Priorities of the Trump Administration
  • Advocating for School Psychologists as Mental and Behavioral Health Providers
  • Tweet, Tweet: Using Social Media to Advance Advocacy Efforts
  • Promoting Your Role and Enhancing Your Value With Decision-Makers
  • Building Capacity for Grassroots Advocacy
  • Promoting Social Justice: Nuts, Bolts, and Lessons From the Field  

Government and Professional Relations Awards  

NASP's GPR Committee was proud to honor three school psychology advocates at the NASP awards ceremony, as well as one U.S. Senator who has proven to be a champion for children.  

Special Friend of Children:

  • Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator (D-CT)

Outstanding Advocates:

  • Dr. Susan Coats, School Psychologist/Licensed Educational Psychologist, Baldwin Park Unified School District, CA
  • Dr. Sarah Celestin, Director, Office of Special Services, Red Clay Consolidated School District, DE

Certificate of Appreciation: 

  • Kerri Jean Wheeler, School Psychologist, Baltimore City Public Schools, MD  

These award recipients are tireless advocates for children and families, and the contributions they have made to the profession of school psychology will have a long-lasting, positive impact and are sincerely appreciated.  

2018 Public Policy Institute  

If you are interested in getting more involved with advocacy in your state, consider attending NASP and George Washington University's Public Policy Institute (PPI) held in Washington, DC. The PPI will span over 5 days from July 16-July 20, with 2-day, 3-day, and 5-day options for attendance. You can earn NASP and APA-approved CPD credit as well as graduate semester credit. This year's theme will be, Equitable Policies and Practices That Promote Engagement and Success for Diverse Learners. Registration opens soon!  

Related Resources

Contact Your Elected Officials
Make your voice heard by visiting the NASP Advocacy Action Center to contact your members of Congress and share how Medicaid Matters.

Impact of Proposed American Health Care Act Fact Sheet
Medicaid is a cost-effective and efficient funder of essential health care services for children.

Proposed Changes to Medicaid Would Harm Children and Youth (Infographic)
This infographic depicts how the proposed cuts to Medicaid would adversely impact children and youth and features how to take action by visiting the NASP Advocacy Action Center.

Cuts in Medicaid Funding Will Directly Impact School Psychological Services (Infographic)
This infographic displays how decreased funding in Medicaid would directly impact school psychological services for children and youth.