On the Couch with Dr. Barry

naspadvocatesBy: Dr. Peter Faustino, NASP GPR Committee Member, New York NASP Delegate

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have been invited to spend the weekend with some of the best and brightest in the profession of school psychology. This was the annual planning session of the Government and Professional Relations (GPR) Committee of NASP.

For those of you reading this who are unaware, NASP has a small group of volunteers who spend their spare time analyzing bills, reading state and federal regulations, meeting with elected officials, writing policy papers, planning workshops and generally acting as watchdogs for education, psychology, children's issues and mental health (to name just a few of our focused priorities).

During one portion of the weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting on an old leather couch next to Dr. Barry Barbarasch (from the great state of NJ). Barry has been a member of GPR longer than anyone in NASP.  His experience and wisdom guides us on many a hot topic and his enthusiasm motivates even the newest member.

As Barry and I took a proverbial walk down advocacy lane, I learned about the history of our efforts to grow and protect the profession of school psychology.  Most recently, our conversation turned to the federal passage of ESSA. We discussed how popular the title, "No Child Left Behind" had become and that it directed changes in school over the last decade or more. ESSA, or the Every Student Succeeds Act, now stands to do the very same. Which is why NASP and the GPR Committee have been advocating for professionals to become more involved.

It was at this point in our discussion that I began to share information about the use of social media. While Barry was a wealth of knowledge, it seemed that I had some novel ideas as to how we might spread that knowledge and gain the attention of key stakeholders. Through the use of twitter and Facebook and hashtags (like #NASPAdvocates) we brainstormed new and creative ways to get our message across. It made me think that this afternoon with Barry was much like the work of many state associations. A gathering of school psychologists who come from different backgrounds spanning many years and with different experiences...but all focused on the same goals of growing and protecting the profession of school psychology.

It is certainly my hope that by learning more about the use of social media as a tool for advocacy that NASP members can increase our voice on issues of importance to our schools, children & their families. In February, the GPR committee has several advocacy workshops planned including one titled "Tweet, Tweet" by Christina Koch and myself on using Social Media.  If this blog peaked your interest then consider joining us in person at the convention or virtually by following us on Twitter and using the hashtag #NASPAdvocates.