Legislative Updates

Legislative Alert: HB 933 Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure
Posted on May 17, 2018 by Digital Media Committee Chair
Name of Legislative Issue/Topic: HB 933 Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure The House will go in session at 11:00 this morning. One bill that is proposed and will be presented on the floor is HB 933, which allows for school psychologists moving in from out of state AND who have NCSP designation to be licensed within NC based on that. Adding this option for school psychologists will help us to recruit highly qualified individuals from out of state to help us fill our vacancies in NC. Action steps: CONTACT your representative as soon as possible (preferably this morning) and ask that they vote in support of this bill.

Text of the bill can be found here.

Find out who represents you here.

You may wish to say something like the following:

Phone:   We are asking that you support HB 933 which grants licensure for out of state school psychologists with national certification to be licensed by DPI. We are asking for your support of this bill as it will help school districts in our state to recruit highly qualified school psychologists from out of state to help fill the numerous vacancies in NC. Email: Dear (Insert Legislator here), Thank you for your time and service for the people of North Carolina. At this time, there are over 70 vacancies for school psychologists in North Carolina. This drastically impacts our ability to provide comprehensive services to the students in our school buildings. We are asking that you support HB 933 which grants licensure for out of state school psychologists with national certification to be licensed by DPI quickly and efficiently. It does not cost the taxpayers of North Carolina any money. We are asking for your support of this bill as it will help school districts in our state to recruit highly qualified school psychologists from out of state to help fill the numerous vacancies in NC. Sincerely, (Your Name here)
NCSPA Advocacy Challenge!
Posted on April 26, 2018 by Digital Media Committee Chair

Here are specific advocacy actions that School Psychologists across NC have bravely done and now NCSPA needs you to be involved to push our advocacy even more as the NC General Assembly short session begins May 16. Choose 1-2 of these ideas and if you need help, reach out to fellow School Psychologists:

  • Meet with your House or Senate representatives in your community. They want to hear from you. You are their constituents and represent a vote for them.

  • Talk to superintendents in your district.

  • When you meet with these individuals, take a buddy (teacher, school psychologist, parent, administrator, neighbor, etc.).

  • Make a video or podcast to tell your story of how you serve your schools. This can be delivered via Twitter or Facebook or provided to your representative if you cannot get to their office in your community.

  • Talk to your PTA at your child’s school or the school you work at and get them to present our Infographic in their newsletter or bulletin.

  • Call your local newspaper and work with a reporter to tell your/our story.

  • Call your local radio station to provide information about the shortages. If they want to interview you and you’re nervous, take a friend and just do it.

  • Talk about how School Psychologists ‘team with and collaborate with’ others in school to support mental health for all students.

  • Remember, you don’t have to spend time thinking of what to say. Use the talking points along with the NCSPA Infographic, NCSPA 2018 Fact Sheet, and NCSPA Legislative Agenda, and the talking points which are all found on the NCSPA website.

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 Watchhttp://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2018/03/14/the-troubling-shortage-of-school-psychologists/
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: http://www.ncchild.org/north-carolinas-school-psychologist-shortage-leaves-many-students-without-mental-health-resources/?platform=hootsuite
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See previous “Lobbyist Loft” posts from recent monthly issues of the NCSPA Newsletter: