NCSPA is a professional organization that supports and advocates for school psychologists across North Carolina to provide comprehensive services that reflect best practices in the field of school psychology.

Welcome parents, educators, leaders, and student support specialists!

We hope that you will find this resource helpful as you fulfill your role in ensuring positive educational outcomes and wellness for all our children and youth. As School Psychologists across North Carolina, we can be part of the solution, no matter the problem!

Special Announcements

School Safety Update
Posted on March 20, 2018 by Digital Media Committee Chair

Our board has been hard at work with state and local advocacy efforts in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that has brought school safety and mental health to the forefront of many conversations in the media and legislature.

NCSPA has been invited to share at the first NC House Select Committee on School Safety meeting tomorrowMarch 21.  Dr. Jim Deni will be providing a 20 minute presentation to state stakeholders to provide the committee with an understanding of the accessibility and barriers within our current school mental health system, as well as the prevalence of mental health and substance abuse problems facing our students. Several NCSPA board members local to the Raleigh area will also be in attendance.  You can tune in to the presentation LIVE from wherever you are in NC!  At 9:00am tomorrow, visit the NC General Assembly website and click on the audio button next to “Select Committee on School Safety” under the Legislative Calendar section on the lower right-hand side.

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you already know about much of our great advocacy work in recent weeks.  Here’s a recap:

  • NCSPA Past President Jim Deni discussed the need for more school psychologists in order to provide comprehensive school psychological services, including school-based mental health, on the weekly television program Education Matters on March 10.
  • NASP Past President Melissa Reeves discussed school safety on the Charlotte Talks radio show on March 12, and will return to do another interview focused on school mental health along with Charlotte-area school psychologists on March 28.  If you are in the Charlotte area, be sure to tune in to WFAE 90.7 at 9:00am, or access the audio later.
  • NCSPA President Heather Lynch Boling discussed the impacts of school psychologist shortages in NC on our abilities to provide comprehensive services within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) with Wilmington-area Star News.
  • In their March 2018 newsletter, President of the NC Parent Teacher Association (NCPTA) Virginia Jicha specifically mentioned school psychologist ratios in NC (as well as counselors, social workers, and nurses) and calls upon our state to “discuss fully funding and staffing these important jobs in our schools [because] our children deserve it.”

Be on the lookout for another advocacy video soon to hear from some of NCSPA’s regional representatives and their experiences meeting with local legislators.  Across North Carolina, school psychologists are talking with their local legislators, superintendents, and local boards of education—and we encourage you to do the same!  Please share your advocacy work with us and keep the momentum going—small steps lead to positive and lasting change!

Sara Ryan

NCSPA Communications Chair

NC Policy Watch: The Troubling Shortage of School Psychologists
Posted on March 16, 2018 by Digital Media Committee Chair
Please see the link below for a radio commentary on the shortage of school psychologists in North Carolina by Rob Schofield, director of NC Policy Watch
Interview segment with Jim Deni on school safety for Public School Forum of North Carolina.
Posted on March 07, 2018 by Digital Media Committee Chair
Dr. Deni taped an interview segment on school safety for Public School Forum of North Carolina.  The episode airs this weekend. The program first airs on WRAL-TV on Saturday night at 7:30 PM. Then FOX 50 at 8:00 AM on Sunday and UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel statewide at 6:30 AM on Sunday and 9:30 AMWednesday. The North Carolina Channel can be found on TWC/Spectrum Channel 1277. The full program each week is also available online at The sho is typically posted on Saturday.
NCSPA authored article on the NC Child Blog about School Psychology Shortages in NC
Posted on March 01, 2018 by Digital Media Committee Chair

North Carolina’s School Psychologist Shortage Leaves Many Students Without Mental Health Resources

By the North Carolina School Psychology Association (NCSPA)

Matthew was struggling to keep up with his 2nd grade classmates in reading, was sleeping in class, missing school, and getting into conflicts with peers. Matthew had some unique behaviors that his teachers had difficulty managing, and repeating second grade was becoming a possibility. He even talked of hurting himself. Matthew’s school psychologist reached out to his parents, and then attended a parent conference with his teacher. After a thorough review and assessment, the school psychologist recognized that Matthew had symptoms of a genetic condition known as Tourette Syndrome.  A parent interview also revealed that his family was experiencing some challenging life events that were further affecting him.

The school psychologist collaborated with a student support team at Matthew’s school, connected him with a psychologist to address the social impact of Tourette Syndrome, worked with his mother to link her to resources, and helped Matthew learn some better ways to deal with stress and conflict. Years later in high school, Matthew once again met with his school psychologist and worked on building his leadership skills while learning about colleges. Matthew now attends a community college where he is completing a certificate program with plans to transfer to NC State. His future goal is to start his own business. His school psychologist made a difference in Matthew’s life at some crucial times.

school psychologist graphicJust 740 school psychologists serve the NC public school child population of about 1.6 million children across the state. That’s a school psychologist to student ratio of 1 psychologist for every 2,162 students. While the traditional role of school psychologists has been that of evaluators, they provide students with comprehensive psychological services in school. They play other important roles too: School psychologists are educators who are deeply knowledgeable about public policy surrounding the rights for students with disabilities. School psychologists provide interventions for students who are struggling academically, emotionally, or behaviorally. They can help to identify students with thoughts of harm to self or others. School psychologists also play a critical role in our schools with prevention, response and recovery from traumatic events by providing emotional support and connecting students and families with resources for psychological and physical safety.

While there is consensus among parents, school administrators, school boards, and lawmakers that mental health issues in NC in 2018 are growing, as well as a rising student population and rising poverty rate, the number of school psychologists per student in NC is actually shrinking. There are currently 65 vacancies across the state for qualified school psychologists. Unfortunately, in 12 NC public school districts, struggling children do not have even one full-time employed school psychologist to reach out to.

Further, the current pay scale makes it even harder for the profession to recruit highly qualified and trained school psychologists at a time when NC children need us more than ever. While the licensing requirements for school psychologists are the highest for any employee licensed by the NC Department of Public Instruction, the current pay scale for school psychologists doesn’t reflect this licensing requirement, making it a challenge for NC to recruit.  Stepping over the state line can yield a significant boost in pay, and NC school districts near state lines have lost highly trained professionals who can make a higher salary in SC and VA.

The recent announcement of a new House Select Committee on School Safety is a hopeful sign that the NC General Assembly recognizes the need for safety in schools. Fortunately in NC, school psychologists have the skills to help prevent traumatic events at school. In NC, just 740 dedicated school psychologists are helping 1.6 million children overcome stress, trauma, grief, mental illness and other challenges to stay focused in school and become productive members of society. When the next child in Matthew’s school needs support, let’s work together to make sure there’s a school psychologist ready to help.

For the original post, please click the following link:
NASP Adopts Resolution Supporting Efforts to Prevent Gun Violence
Posted on February 20, 2018 by Digital Media Committee Chair
Bethesda, MD—As part of the National Association of School Psychologists’ (NASP) commitment to ensure all children’s safety, well-being, and ability to thrive in school, at home, and throughout life, NASP has adopted the “Resolution to Support Efforts to Prevent Gun Violence”. The work of NASP is grounded in its mission, professional standards, position statements, resolutions, policies, and advocacy platforms, all of which are guided by research.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 34,000 people die as a result of gun violence each year, approximately two thirds of which are the result of suicide, and for every person who dies, two more are injured. NASP aspires to protect children from gun violence by encouraging and supporting solutions that create safer, healthier schools, homes, and communities.

School psychologists use their expertise in psychology and education to promote school, family, and community environments that are safe and healthy for children. They have specific expertise in mental and behavioral health, the complex causes of violence, effects of exposure to violence and traumatic events on learning and well-being, and risks and interventions for suicide. Like pediatricians and other mental health practitioners, school psychologists routinely screen for access to guns in the home when doing a suicide or threat assessment as a best practice for intervening with at-risk youth.

“Access to firearms is highly associated with increased risk of injury and death among youth,” notes NASP President John Kelly. “And research is clear that exposure to gun violence is highly associated with diminished social, emotional, and academic well-being among youth. It is our responsibility to advocate for the policies and practices that will reduce gun violence.”

The principles articulated in this resolution guide the work of the Association and our advocacy regarding public policy and school safety practices. NASP supports public policies that: support rigorous enforcement of existing gun laws; promotes efforts to improve awareness of gun safety practices; ensures comprehensive background checks; enhances efforts to ensure only appropriate access to guns, including keeping them out of the hands of individuals deemed at risk of hurting themselves and others; elimination of the Dickey Amendment and increased investment in research on gun violence.

NASP is committed to working with policy makers and allied stakeholders to enact effective laws and policies that reduce gun violence and fatalities, and NASP believes that doing so is necessary to helping all children thrive at home, in school, and throughout life.

NASP represents 25,000 school psychologists throughout the United States and abroad. NASP empowers school psychologists by advancing effective practices to improve students’ learning, behavior, and mental health.


For further information, contact: Katherine Cowan, Director of Communications, 301-347-1665, or visit


To download this post as a PDF, click the following link: NASP Adopts Resolution Supporting Efforts to Prevent Gun Violence

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NCSPA on Social Media

7 hours ago

North Carolina School Psychology Association

NASP has long been advocating for increased funding for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. This morning, Congresswoman Clark defended, and got Education Secretary DeVos to agree, that Congress must “revisit” these cuts and restore funding for these vital grants. We thank the Congresswoman for being an advocate for the children and youth we serve, each and every day.

Watch this short video clip to learn more:

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8 hours ago

North Carolina School Psychology Association

Hey School Psychologists and School Psyched Community members! I am wishing you all a peaceful move out of March Madness into.... whatever you are into! You've got this!

I continue to be grateful for this community and for all of the conversations and inspiration we share. Happy Spring!

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