Effecting Change Step By Step
The NASP Practice Model is also an important tool for creating the capacity to make the best, most cost-effective use of school psychologists' skills and expertise. Service provision varies dramatically across states and districts throughout the country. Therefore, the distance between "what is" and "what can be" will similarly vary, depending on where you work. That distance can be defined by, among other things:
- the traditions within your district
- the level of awareness of school psychologists' training among decision-makers
- the number of schools served
- setting (e.g., rural, urban, suburban)
- current student-to-practitioner ratios
- breadth and intensity of student needs
Closing this distance will take time and a multifaceted effort that involves strategic thinking, effective practice, consistent advocacy, collegial support, and patience. In most districts, this level of change is more likely a marathon, not a sprint. The good news is that every step you take toward implementing the NASP Practice Model will help improve your ability to serve students as you go. More importantly, you have the ability to take steps forward, however small.
The NASP Practice Model
- Delineates skills and services available from school psychologists across 10 domains of practice.
- Describes the general framework and organizational principles within which services should be provided.
- Promotes the connection between school psychologists' training, standards, and actual practice.
- Recommends a ratio for schools implementing this comprehensive model of one school psychologist to 500 students (1:500) depending on the level of need within the student population.
- Creates the capacity to make the best, most cost-effective use of school psychologists' skills and expertise, which are an existing but sometimes underutilized resource in schools.
- Allows flexibility for agencies and professionals to develop policies and procedures that meet local needs, while also providing sufficient specificity to ensure appropriate, comprehensive service provision.
- Provides a reference for assessing continuing professional development needs.
- Provides an organized and coherent framework to advocate for and communicate about school psychological services.