Ready to Learn, Empowered to Teach: Guiding Principles for Effective Schools & Successful Students

All children and youth must be ready to learn in order to achieve their best in school and graduate prepared for college or their career. This requires establishing a public education infrastructure that empowers teachers to teach and prioritizes the academic, social–emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs of students. Additionally, we must make systemic efforts to ensure equitable access and opportunities for all students to thrive. Such efforts necessitate sustained access to comprehensive and robust curricula, high-quality instruction, social–emotional learning, academic and behavioral supports, and mental health services within safe, respectful, supportive, and inclusive learning environments.

Comprehensive learning supports that integrate academics, behavior, mental health, and social–emotional learning are most effective when provided through a multitiered system of supports (MTSS). Essential to this system are school-employed mental health professionals and other specialized instructional support personnel (SISP) who collaborate with educators, administrators, families, and community providers to identify needs and provide appropriate services at individual, classroom, building, and district-wide levels.


  1. Review, evaluate, and reconstruct or replace existing school structures, policies, and procedures that lead to inequitable outcomes.
  2. Combine high expectations for all students with high-quality instruction across a wellrounded and culturally responsive curriculum for general and special education students.
  3. Create positive school climates that balance physical and psychological safety for all students.
  4. Provide access to comprehensive school-based mental and behavioral health services and ensure adequate staffing levels of appropriately trained school employed mental health professionals.
  5. Increase family and community engagement to support student success.
  6. Create systems that support the recruitment and retention of properly trained and prepared professionals that reflect the diversity of the school community.
  7. Create accountability systems that use a broad set of measures to inform specific actions that improve school quality and provide an understanding of how specific outcomes were achieved.

At its core, education is a civil right, and the federal government can, and should, play a critical role in ensuring equity in access and shaping the national education landscape. Local and state governments must be also empowered to construct educational systems that prepare all students for postsecondary education and/or the workforce. Indeed, providing equitable access to a high-quality public education system is one of America’s greatest responsibilities and wisest investments in the nation’s future. NASP believes that education policies addressing the whole child and grounded in evidence-based practices will empower teachers to teach and ensure that every child is ready and able to learn.

Ready to Learn

Download Ready to Learn, Empowered to Teach to learn more about NASP's policy recommendations necessary to maintaining a high-quality public education system.

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Model for Comprehensive and Integrated School Psychological Services

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School Psychologists: Improving Student and School Outcomes
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