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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.

Call and Email your Senator today! Ask them to incorporate SB 382 “School Psychologist Compensation and Recruitment” into their Senate Budget.

Please see page B18, #26, of the Money Report

Also see Section 7A.1 of HB 966

Please share with your school psychologist colleagues.

You can find out who your Senator is here: https://www.ncleg.gov/RnR/Representation

  • Click on the bubble next to NC Senate
  • Type your home address into the search box at the top right corner of the map
  • Once your Senator’s name shows up, click on his or her name for contact information
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NCSPA | North Carolina School Psychology.. by Digital Media Committee Chair - 6d ago

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.

You can find out who your Senator is here: https://www.ncleg.gov/RnR/Representation

  • Click on the bubble next to NC Senate
  • Type your home address into the search box at the top right corner of the map
  • Once your Senator’s name shows up, click on his or her name for contact information

Possible Talking Points:

  1. 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 13,000 dollars below the national average.

Our public 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!

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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”.

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The 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.

NCSPA 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.

Our NCSPA 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.

Warmly,

Liz Martin

NCSPA President

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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!

Purpose:

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.

There 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 Process:

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. 

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NCSPA | North Carolina School Psychology.. by Digital Media Committee Chair - 1M ago

If you are definitely joining us in Raleigh on May 2nd, you must RSVP ASAPbit.ly/NCSPALegislativeDay2019

  • 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. 

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NCSPA | North Carolina School Psychology.. by Digital Media Committee Chair - 1M ago

Attention all NC School Psychologists!

Please join us in Raleigh on May 2nd, 2019 for NCSPA’s first annual Legislative Day! Call your legislators TODAY to schedule your meetings!

RSVP by April 19th via this form:  RSVP to NCSPA Leg Day 2019

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.

Find NC legislator contact info here: https://www.ncleg.gov/RnR/Representation

Lunch is on your own! (Or, depending on RSVPs, perhaps we will meet somewhere together and debrief)

If you are interested in joining us in Raleigh:

  1. Please RSVP by April 19th RSVP to NCSPA Leg Day 2019. We will send you a logistics packet which will include FAQs.
  2. Please make an appointment to meet with your NC Senator and Representative for May 2nd ASAP. You can find contact information here: https://www.ncleg.gov/RnR/Representation
    1. 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.
    2. We recommend you copy legislators’ assistants on emails.
    3. Follow up with phone calls and emails until you are able to confirm an appointment.
    4. Let us know ASAP if you are having trouble getting in touch with your Representative or Senator.
    5. Remember: Your legislators represent you and want to hear from you.
  3. Know before you go:
    1. Read our legislation Senate Bill 382 and House Bill 482 School Psychologist Compensation and Recruitment
    2. 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.

Any questions, feel free to contact Leigh Kokenes leighkokenes@gmail.com, Mary Whitehouse (maryhwhitehouse@gmail.com, or Melissa Mascari melissaflittlewood@gmail.com

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NCSPA | North Carolina School Psychology.. by Digital Media Committee Chair - 2M ago

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!

Next Steps:

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.

5. Contact one of the following NCSPA LPP members for support in doing this: leighkokenes@gmail.com and maryhwhitehouse@gmail.com

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NCSPA | North Carolina School Psychology.. by Digital Media Committee Chair - 2M ago

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.

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