Final Review of the 2015 GW/NASP Public Policy Institute

Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools: Supportive Policies & Practices for Learning

From July 15–21, 93 school psychologists, teachers, school administrators, graduate students, and others interested in education policy came to Washington, DC to participate in the 2015 GW/NASP Public Policy Institute (PPI). The institute was cosponsored by the George Washington University (GW) Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD). GW brings to the partnership resources, professional expertise, and professional connections that help make the PPI a rich public policy-training experience for all involved.

This year, PPI participants came from 24 states and the District of Columbia, including: South Dakota, Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Delaware, Indiana, Texas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, West Virginia, Arizona, Arkansas, Wisconsin, California, Idaho, and Colorado. PPI participants had the option of taking a 3-day basic training (July 15–17) for NASP Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit or a 5-day advanced training (July 15–17 and 20–21) for NASP Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit or GW Graduate Semester Credit. Additionally, this year was the first time a 2-day Special Topic training was offered to people who have previously attended PPI. This opportunity focused on exploring the theme of the institute in greater depth through participation in Days 4 and 5 of the program. An amazing line up of national experts presented information and engaged in dialogues with PPI participants. Some of the national leaders and scholars who participated in this year's PPI included:

  • Michael Usdan, Senior Fellow and Past President, Institute for Educational Leadership

  • Maria Ferguson, Executive Director, Center on Education Policy

  • David Esquith, Director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, US Department of Education

  • Renee Bradley, Deputy Director of the Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education

  • Marleen Wong, Clinical Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Southern California School of Social Work and Director, Treatment and Services Adaptation Center for Resilience, Hope and Wellness in Schools

  • Stacy Overstreet, Professor and Chair of the Tulane University School Psychology Program and Co-Director of the Trauma Focused School Psychology Specialization

  • Jenee Littrell, Assistant Principal, Chaparral High School Alernative, Grossmont Union High School District, CA and first author on the US Department of Education's Guide, "Human Trafficking in America's Schools"

  • Todd Savage, NASP President and Associate Professor in Counseling and School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

Participants also heard firsthand about the challenges and rewards of implementing trauma-sensitive school programs. A team of experts from the Boston Public Schools presented about their work implementing the Comprehensive School Behavioral Mental Health Model. Additionally, youth and their student learning support providers from VA, DC, and PA spoke about their traumatic experiences navigating homelessness and being a refugee in this country. Members of the NASP Government and Professional Relations Committee, as well as key staff members, led interactive discussions and provided education on the basics of grassroots advocacy. Carol Kochhar-Bryant, GWU Senior Associate Dean of GSHED, also presented, led teamwork sessions, facilitated discussions, and directed the "Communities of Practice" closing activity for GWU credit participants. You can view the full agenda for both the 3-day and 5-day training experiences and see the entire line up of speakers below.

Capitol Hill Day, July 17, 2015

On July 17, 2015 PPI participants traveled to the US Capitol to engage in a productive day of advocacy. The day began in the US Capitol Visitors Center, in a room sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY-20). Participants enjoyed a continental breakfast and got an inside look at life on Capitol Hill through a question-and-answer session with legislative staff members. We thank Vonnie Hampel, Senior Legislative Assistant, Press Secretary; Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA 2); Katherine Cassling, Legislative Assistant; and Senator Joseph Manchin (D-WV) for sharing their experiences working on Capitol Hill. After the morning session, state teams ventured into the halls of Congress to meet their elected officials and/or legislative staff. Nearly 100 visits to the offices of US senators and US representatives were made that day. NASP materials and resources were presented and specific public policy priorities and issues were discussed.

Sample Presentations

PowerPoint presentations are accessible to current NASP members only. Please log in to see the links. PPI sessions included presentations from national experts, school psychology leaders, GWU faculty, and NASP staff. Samples of some of the presentations are included here: