Policy Matters Blog

Advocacy in Action During the 2021 Virtual Convention

Last week, NASP held its annual convention in a fully virtual format for the first time! Even though NASP advocates were physically separate, they came out in full force from their homes and workplaces across the country to advocate together. Check out some of the week’s advocacy highlights below. 

Advocacy in Action 

Despite the challenges of engaging in advocacy during a fully virtual convention, 654 advocates sent almost 3,000 letters to their members of Congress using the following action alerts:  

We have tremendous opportunity to make real progress in expanding the role of school psychologists, addressing the shortages, and advancing equity, but we need your help! Can you help us get to 10,000 letters? We need to demonstrate a show of force to the Hill and urge Congress to finally act on these critical issues. These action alerts are still live in our Advocacy Action CenterPlease use your voice to elevate these important issues in Congress! You can find more information about our policy priorities for the 117th Congress in our Federal Public Policy and Legislative platform. We also encourage NASP advocates to take action on the state level and are more than happy to help states load their own template letters.  

Throughout the week, advocates connected with each other on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the NASP convention platform social wall. Thank you for tweeting along during sessions with calls to action using #NASPadvocates. Know that your energy and passion for helping your students, schools, and communities came through even in a virtual format. If you are looking for other ways to connect with advocacy-oriented school psychologists, we encourage you to join the Advocacy and Public Policy Interest Group in the Communities and connect with your state association’s advocacy and government relations committees.   

Government and Professional Relations (GPR) Awards 

We also honored the GPR award winners, who were especially exceptional last year in their advocacy efforts. These award recipients are tireless advocates for children and families and are sincerely appreciated. The contributions they have made to the profession of school psychology will have a long-lasting, positive impact. The award recipients were: 

Special Friend of Children 

  • Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro 

You can watch Congresswoman DeLauro’s thank you video here  

Outstanding Advocates 

  • Sherri Bentley 
  • Linda Young 

Certificate of Appreciation 

  • Michael Rube 

We also want to shout out this year’s School Psychologist of the Year, Dr. Julia Szarko, who has been a steadfast advocate for the success of all children throughout your career. You can learn more about her career and impact as a school psychologist here  

What’s Next 

If you’re feeling fired up after a full week of learning, connection, and advocacy, here are some ways to put that energy to work today.  

Attend the 2021 Virtual Advocacy Academy. Although NASP will not be hosting an in-person Public Policy Institute (PPI) this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still build on your advocacy skills through NASP’s Virtual Advocacy AcademyThis experience will be distinct from PPI, will focus solely on addressing shortages in school psychology, and will provide the fundamentals of grassroots advocacy in order to prepare NASP members and other school psychologists to mount NASP’s advocacy campaign in response to the shortages. Registration details are coming soon!  

Follow us on social media and join our rapid response team list. Whenever we organize action on a piece of legislation, we will typically first post about it on social media. Be sure to follow @nasponline on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date, and like us on FacebookIf you also join our rapid response team list, you'll receive a limited number of emails asking you to amplify NASP's responses to various current events. Your engagement on these issues is vital to our success, and we promise to keep our requests to a minimum. Join now by simply filling outthis form. 

Get involved in state advocacy.Most of the biggest changes to education policy are made at the state or local level. You can learn about how to make a difference in your community through policy using our Policy Playbook. Also, make sure to ask your state association about opportunities to participate in local advocacy. Connect with your state associationhere. 

Bookmark our Policy Matters Blog and Advocacy Action Center. For the latest updates on NASP’s advocacy efforts and opportunities for action, be sure to keep an eye on the Policy Matters blog and Advocacy Action Center