NCSPA | North Carolina School Psychology Association
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. Here you will find this resource helpful as you fulfill your role in ensuring positive educational outcomes and wellness for all our children and youth.
The current draft of the House Budget Bill HB 966 would place School Counselors on the School Psychologist Salary Schedule with 8+ Million Dollars and 16+ Million Dollars. School Psychologists desperately need salary increases, too.
Contact your Senator TODAY &
OVER THE WEEKEND and ask them to incorporate SB 382 “School Psychologist Compensation
& Recruitment” into the Senate budget! Call, email, meet in the district: all
of the above! Keep up this contact until you see in the news that the NC
Senate has passed its budget proposal.
your home address into the search box at the top right corner of the map
your Senator’s name shows up, click on his or her name for contact information
NC is in a triage situation with a dire need for
more School Psychologists. According to 2019 DPI data, there are now only 772 school psychologists employed
in our public schools for over 1.5 million students across NC.
There has been some confusion
in the media and elsewhere on the significant differences between School
Psychologists’ work and other health professionals in our schools.
School Psychologists’ training and expertise are more rigorous than
others, especially regarding Exceptional Children, related federal legal
obligations, and complex threat assessments to improve School Safety.
In NC, 22 school systems and most of our 172 charter schools do not have even 1 School Psychologist. That is hundreds of thousands of children in NC who are entirely unserved by the highest-trained mental health professionals in any school.
NC has a ratio of roughly 1 School Psychologist to two thousand students. The nationally-recommended ratio is 1:500-700 students.
In short, for every 1
School Psychologist we currently have, we need 2 more.
Unfortunately, NC’s ratios
are among the worst in the nation.
NC is losing its own NC natives who prepare in 1 of our 5 School Psychology Training Programs (Appalachian State, Western Carolina, NC State, UNC Chapel Hill, ECU) and then leave the state based on a ten thousand dollar differential. Raising School Psychologists salaries by ten thousand will fix this problem – the solution in SB 382/HB 482.
What is the cost of providing students with Adequate Psychological Support? Federal Bureau of Labor statistics states that the average salary for a school psychologist was 77,430 dollars. NC’s State Salary Schedule for School Psychologists – who are required to have Master’s degrees – starts at 44,000 dollars/year and tops out at 64,020 dollars. Our maximum state-funded salary is 13,000dollars below the national average.
school children, especially the neediest of these with disabilities and mental
health diagnoses, need your help kick starting a triage-turnaround to recruit
and retain more School Psychologists in NC. Please help by incorporating SB 382
into the Senate Budget.
Helpful Hint: Make your story personal; how have you saved a student’s
life; how have you ensured that they graduated. You know your story of
School Psychology: NOW is the time to tell it!
The 2019 NCSPA Fall Conference will be held in Wilmington, NC at the Wilmington Convention Center from October 20th-October 22nd. The theme of this year’s conference is “School Psychologists Creating Safe Schools through Positive Connections”.
North Carolina School Psychology Association (NCSPA) extends deepest sympathies
to the families and loved ones of the victims of the school shooting on April
30, 2019 on the campus of UNC Charlotte. We mourn with you for the tragic loss
of life through this senseless act of violence.
and our PREPaRE trained Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) are
available to provide support and consultation as needed to the UNC Charlotte
community and surrounding Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in cooperation
with University officials, law enforcement, government and agency partners,
CMS, and supporting organizations. NCSPA encourages UNCC and CMS families and
students who may be traumatized by this tragic event to reach out for help. Research has shown that recovery is
actually faster if people seek help rather than seconding guessing themselves
about what could they have done. Adverse experiences and trauma can lead
to post-traumatic stress, sleepless nights, withdrawal, and lower academic or
work performance. NCSPA is ready to provide additional supports if needed.
members and families are showing their support for the UNCC students, families,
and staff by wearing 49er green next week and through the UNCC graduation ceremonies
on May 11 as we stand in solidarity with the 49er community.
NCSPA and the Awards Committee is thrilled to announce a new adventure! We will now be offering Mini Grants to NCSPA members! The application can be found here NCSPA Mini Grant Application or through the “Awards Info” section of the website!
NCSPA encourages the provision of mental health services in schools through the use of Mini-Grants of up to five-hundred dollars. Funding is available to encourage school psychologists to implement a new mental health program, support therapeutic group activities, or to enhance the school psychologist’s own capabilities to provide mental health services.
Grants might be awarded to
support purchases of therapeutic or educational videotapes, therapeutic
curricula, relation tapes, resource books, workshop refreshments, etc. Grants
can also be used to provide basic needs for individual students such as for
clothing, eyeglasses, book bags, school supplies, etc.
are 3 types of Mini-Grants:
One-hundred dollars towards Basic Needs
One-hundred and fifty dollars towards Mental Health Supplies (or up to four-hundred dollars for workshop refreshments)
Five-hundred dollars towards a Mental Health Startup
Application and Selection
Mini-Grants are awarded
only to NCSPA members.
The application should
include as many of the following components as are relevant:
Applicant’s name, address, phone numbers, email address and employer
Potential benefits to children
Description of need to be addressed
A list of materials needed and a proposed budget
Prevention methods utilized
Description of the intervention to be implemented
The materials requested
must support the intervention to be used (assessments will not be funded). The
proposed interventions are, to the extent possible, evidence-based.
Mini-Grant applications are
submitted to the Awards Committee. The Awards Committee will review the first
three applications submitted and if all of the applications meet the
requirements, the Awards Committee will make a recommendation to the Executive
Board to affirm the funding. The Awards Committee Chair will notify the
applicant of the funding decision. If the Mini-Grant application is approved,
half of the funds will be distributed immediately. (A copy of the letter
indicating approval and amount of the grant is sent to the Treasurer so the
initial funds can be disbursed.) The remaining half will be distributed when
receipts are submitted for reimbursement. Reimbursement is requested using the
NCSPA Reimbursement Form; it is signed by the Awards Committee Chair and
submitted to the Treasurer for payment.
Within six months of receiving a Mini-Grant, the awardee agrees to
submit a report on how the funds were used to NCSPA for inclusion in the
newsletter. The primary focus of the mini-grant program is not to
enhance one’s professional library.
We will meet on May 2nd at
the Dept. of Public Instruction (DPI) “Education Building” (301 N. Wilmington
St) at 8:30 a.m. We have the 150 South Room reserved. It is the
room on the left, directly behind the front desk when you enter the Education
Building. This will be our “launch pad” throughout the morning.
The time of the State Board
of Ed meeting recognition of our NASP award recipients (Leigh Kokenes and
Rhonda Armistead) has been moved to 11:05 a.m. This time could change again. If it changes, we will send out an
updated schedule on May 1st.
Dress in business
professional attire (i.e. suits, ties). This is very important!
If you cannot be in Raleigh on May 2nd, consider setting up a
phone conference with your legislator(s) for that day. This is an important time for us to communicate about our School
Psychologist Compensation and Recruitment bills (House Bill 482 and Senate Bill 382) and why
these are so important for the safety of North Carolina students! If you
don’t have time to call, please send an email. We have sample letters you can
copy directly from our website on the Advocacy page.
8:30 a.m. : Meet at the Dept. of Public Instruction (DPI) building for the State Board of Education Meeting where Leigh Kokenes (2019 NASP School Psychologist of the Year) and Rhonda Armistead (2019 NASP Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award) will be recognized. This meeting is open to the public.
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. : Meet with your NCGA Senator and Representative
IMPORTANT: Make your own appointments with your legislators WEEKS in advance. Yes, that means please start now.
If you plan on attending the SBOE meeting (8:30-10:00), we recommend setting your appointments between 8:00-8:30 or 10:00-12:00. It is about a 10 minute walk between any two places you will be. Expect these meetings to take about 15 minutes each.
We recommend you copy legislators’ assistants on emails.
Follow up with phone calls and emails until you are able to confirm an appointment.
Let us know ASAP if you are having trouble getting in touch with your Representative or Senator.
Remember: Your legislators represent you and want to hear from you.
Thankfully, NCSPA has done your homework for you. Please see our Legislative Agenda, Infographic & More! We will also send a logistics packet which will include tips on how to effectively get messages across to legislators.
Contact your legislators today and encourage them to sponsor our School Psychologist Compensation and Recruitment bill as soon as possible! The NC Senate and House have just filed identical bills, entitled the School Psychologist Compensation and Recruitment bill (SB 382 and HB 482). It is a measure that includes two parts: Part I provides for a salary increase of 1,000 dollars per month for school psychologists working in NC public schools. Part II outlines the School Psychologist Recruitment and Retention Program to become part of DPI. The purpose of this program is, as the name suggests, to recruit and retain school psychologists in NC public schools by offering signing and retention bonuses in ways that are outlines in the bill. It also requires the creation of a new recruitment and retention coordinator position to be housed in DPI and to work under the direct supervision of the State Superintendent. The bill stipulates the amount of money required to be appropriated for both parts. This bill has the support of the State Superintendent, DPI, and bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
A huge “thank you” to Senators Deanna Ballard, Don Davis, and Chuck Edwards for sponsoring Senate Bill 382; and the same to Representatives Holly Grange, Craig Horn, Donny Lambeth, and Josh Dobson for sponsoring House Bill 482!
1. Find both your NC House and Senate members in the General Assembly and ask them to pass HB 482 and SB 382 through their Education and Appropriations Committees quickly.
Sample email may include these words: Dear Rep/Senator XYZ – My name is X and I am your constituent and work in X school district. House Bill 482 and Senate Bill 382 are being introduced and I am asking for your support in voting YES on these bills. There are currently 743 school psychologists supporting the mental health needs of 1.6 million school children in NC. NC has 75 vacancies that districts are unable to fill because we cannot compete with our neighboring states for these highly trained professional educators. These incentives bills will support us in filling these vacancies but more importantly, addressing the mental health needs of children in school. [Add more words as you see fit and that are of local relevance].
2. Contact your local PTA and ask for their support too, especially if they are willing to contact their legislators in support of these bills.
3. Let your superintendent and school board members know about these bills so that they can contact their legislators for support, too.
4. Have a family write a “Letter to the Editor” about what a difference School Psychologists have made in their children’s lives and why we need this important legislation.
The 2019 legislative session is in full swing and there are several bills related to education that moved through the House last week. Two especially noteworthy bills are House Bill 76 (School Safety Omnibus) and House Bill 75 (School Mental Health Screening Study). Here’s a little more about each:
As the name suggests, the School Safety Omnibus bill (HB 76) pulls together several measures related to school safety. Several of the components are related to the physical safety of school facilities (e.g., school crisis kits, schematic diagrams and emergency access to school buildings for local law enforcement, lockdown drills, school risk management plans, school building vulnerability assessments, etc.). The Center for Safer Schools and its powers and duties are outlined along with a list of agencies with which the Center will cooperate. Part V outlines training and reporting standards for School Resource Officers (SROs). Part III might be where you want to start reading if you’re short on time. That section outlines threat assessments and threat assessment teams. School psychologists are listed specifically as a required team member (where practicable). The original version of this bill was reviewed by members of the LPP (Legislative & Public Policy) Committee and some questions, concerns, and suggestions were passed on to our NCSPA Lobbyist. NCSPA was successful in securing favorable amendments to the bill.
The School Mental Health Screening Study bill (HB 75) directs DPI and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to conduct a study to recommend a mental health screening process to identify school children in NC who are at risk of harming themselves or others. Again, we were successful in amending the bill, and NCSPA is now a named entity in the first paragraph where DPI and DHHS are required to confer with us in the course of their study. The following elements are required in the proposed study:
Whether the state should require such a screening
Which mental health professionals should conduct the screening
What behaviors or mental health diagnoses the screen should be targeted to identify
The format the screening must take
Whether the screening will be uniform throughout the state or whether the agencies (DPI & DHHS) should create guidelines for each local school administrative unit
Creation of a policy to connect children identified as being at risk with appropriate mental health services
How to store and access the confidential health information generated by the screening
The age at which to initiate screening and whether it should be repeated at different ages
Whether parents will be able to opt out
Others deemed necessary
If you are interested in the prior versions of or amendments to either bill, go to www.ncleg.net and search by bill number (HB 76 or HB 75) in the search box on the top right section of the page. Both have passed the House and head over to the Senate. Stay tuned for more updates as we anticipate these things will move quickly through the legislative process.