What is the ESPS Program?

The Excellence in School Psychological Services (ESPS) Recognition Program focuses on the 6 organizational principles within the NASP Practice Model, and is designed as a tool for “quantifying” accomplishments while helping to guide continued improvement efforts over time. The goal of this program is to increase the alignment of school psychological practice with the domains and principles outlined in the NASP Practice Model.

Why did NASP develop the ESPS program?

Feedback received over the years indicated that districts that struggled to provide comprehensive school psychological services also noted an absence of many of the system supports articulated in the organizational principles. To remedy this finding, NASP decided in 2018 to more actively promote the organizational principles, which are separate from the 10 domains guiding professional practice, and acknowledge districts that follow them by creating a national recognition program.

What are the benefits of participating in the ESPS program?

Participation in the ESPS Recognition Program will offer a range of benefits, including:

  • A structured self-evaluation tool, with objective feedback provided by peers
  • A method to engage in internal discussion and sharing of  the organizational principles with district administrators
  • A mechanism to raise the profile of school psychologists in the district
  • A tool to advocate for more effective organizational structures and supports, and a comprehensive range of services
  • Formal and public recognition that can be shared in the community and with other stakeholders
  • Benefits and program perks for the district’s that participate and earn levels of distinction
  • Examples of districts successfully moving toward more effective implementation of the comprehensive school psychological services and the impact this shift has on student outcomes
What are the different recognition categories?

Districts that earn an ESPS designation (Emerging, Promising, Proficient, or Exemplary) will receive a variety of perks:

  • An official letter awarding the designation and granting permission for the school district to use the associated program seal in district promotional materials
  • A framed proclamation with the earned designation that can be displayed in the district headquarters
  • Acknowledgment of the awarding of the designation on the NASP website
  • A sample press release for use by the district in communicating with community members and stakeholders
  • A gift card for use in the NASP Online Learning Center (the gift card amount is based on the size of the district and the designation category.)
  • Complimentary NASP convention registration (the number of registrations is based on the size of the district and the designation category) awarded only to districts earning a designation of Promising or higher.
How long does the designation last?

An earned ESPS designation will be applicable for a period of 5 years. All associated recognition perks will be delivered in the first year of the award period. Districts may re-apply by completing a new application and paying a new application fee within the 5-year period and, if they earn a higher status or designation, they will be entitled to a new set of perks. If they earn the same or a lower designation, no new perks will be delivered as the original designation period will still apply.

What is the cost of the program?

The application fee will be determined based on the number of students enrolled in the district.

Size of district (student enrollment)Application Fee
0–2,000 $ 50
2,001–10,000 $100
10,001–50,000 $250
50,001–100,000 $400
100,001–200,000 $550
> 200,000 $700
What should we do if we want to use the ESPS rubric for the purposes of self-evaluation, though don’t think we are ready to apply?

The ESPS program is largely intended for a self-evaluation, though we realize some districts may prefer to do this internally rather than request a review from NASP. Districts can either choose to simply download the application and scoring matrix, or request a full application (no cost). Districts do not necessarily need to submit an application, and the district may find the additional resources helpful if they wish to eventually apply.

What type of information is required to complete the application?

Districts (not individual schools) are required to provide a range of artifacts to document and describe how the district meets the various Organizational Principles. Examples of artifacts may include contracts, district policies, materials describing specific services and anticipated outcomes, notes from meetings, survey results, pictures, etc.

How long does it take to complete the application? What is the proposed annual timeline?

The requirements are comprehensive and will likely require significant time, depending on the number of participants working on the application and the available evidence. As the application will open in April and be due September 30, it is believed that most districts will primarily work during the summer months to compile the artifacts and evidence supporting their application.

Who should complete the application?

It is recommended that at least two or more individuals with knowledge of district resources, policies, and services participate.

How do I submit an application?

Districts interested in applying should submit an Application Request Form available on the website. The lead contact identified on the form will be emailed a link to access a folder using Google Docs where application materials and portfolio artifacts can be submitted. Teams will then submit evidence demonstrating how the district meets the organizational principles. Districts can complete the application process over a period of time rather than completing the submission in one sitting.

When are submissions due?

The entire submission process occurs online, with a single deadline of September 30 each year.

Who will evaluate the submissions?

A team of trained reviewers will review each district application and provide written feedback (including areas of strength, improvement, and overall recommendations) by early winter.

Who should I contact if I have any questions?

Please feel free to contact: