I really hope I’m not the only one who reads the acronym “SPAW” for School Psychology Awareness Week and can’t help crowing “SPAW! SPAW!”
But I digress.
SPAW 2019 is coming up November 11th-15th!
Here are three resources I’ve pulled together for you in case there are school psychs (and friends of school psychs!) who want to make folks AWARE of what we do!
1. Free SPAW Powerpoint
Every school year, I welcome in a new cohort of fabulous Thriving School Psychologists in my online course. Together, we support one another AND create resources that we share with the larger school psych community. Last year’s cohort helped me create this Power Point presentation where we surveyed over 1100 school psychologists to raise awareness of what we do and what we could really do with the right support.
Feel free to download the powerpoint, share it out, and make it your own by adding your own slides specific to your school sites. It could be a very cool jumping off point for discussion about how to better utilize school psychologists to have a bigger positive impact in your school district.
When school psychologists thrive, students thrive!
Check out the slide deck and share it far and wide for School Psychology Awareness Week! Download the Power Point slide deck here.
2. Resources for SPAW on 2019’s Theme: “Find Your Focus”
This year’s theme is “Find Your Focus,” which can have a variety of meanings such as paying attention, being able to see an idea more clearly, identifying an area of interest, or being persistent and determined in one’s effort. NASP has some activities and resources you can download here.
There’s posters, bookmarks, and a bunch of fun stuff you can check out!
3. Free PDF: 9 Ways to Support School Psychologists
Have you ever had the experience as a school psychologist where someone has no idea what you do, even when you work in the same school building or district? In the current reality that our average caseload size is double or triple the NASP-recommended ratio of 1:700, we are often at multiple schools. Sometimes because we are stretched so thin with high caseloads and multiple sites, we may be that mystery blur in the hallway on the way to an IEP meeting.
I mean, let’s get real. There’s a reason we have an awareness week, not an appreciation week (though I hope we are appreciated too!).
The first step in building awareness and support for us (so we can support our schools) is to help others to get to know us, what we do, and understand our value.
We can’t advocate for more time and resources to provide quality mental health and learning support services in our schools alone. The more voices advocating for school psychologists to have more manageable caseloads, the better!
If you have a colleague–a principal, special education director, teacher-leaders, superintendent–who is interested in helping supporting school psychologists, here are 9 ways to get started.
School Psychology Awareness…and Advocacy
One of the unexpected byproducts of creating The Thriving School Psychologist online course and community has been the advocacy that has organically grown out of us coming together online and talking about our experiences.
I’ve been blown away at the grassroots movement of school psychologists in the Thriving School Psychologist course taking on leadership positions in their schools to help educate others on the role of the school psychologist. Our members are successfully advocating for manageable caseloads and expanding their roles from just testing to include prevention and intervention services like school-wide SEL programs, counseling services, and supporting school-wide initiatives on their and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) teams.
Change starts with school psychologists telling our school community leaders what we do and what support we need to help students thrive.
So check out these three resources, and find a buddy at your school to plan some great SPAW activities!
Dr. Rebecca Branstetter is a school psychologist, speaker, and author on a mission to help public school psychologists manage their stress, improve their efficacy and enjoyment in their work, and prevent getting burned out so they can focus on what they love to do—being champions for helping children be the best they can be in school and in life and supporting educators and families.