The Power of Possibility: National School Psychologist Week
During the week of November 9–13, 2020 schools throughout the country will celebrate National School Psychology Week to highlight the important work school psychologists and other educators do to help all students thrive. We encourage you as WSPA Members to participate in this week!
This year’s theme is “The Power of Possibility,” which conveys hope, growth, resilience and renewal. Possibility suggests that even something as small as a seed can grow into something magnificent. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect great wonders.” The word “power” implies that things can and will happen. When we focus on what is possible, we have hope that students will grow, thrive and bloom and will be empowered to take the action steps necessary to do so.
Our hope is to connect with students and staff to highlight how focusing on possibilities can help lead us to our goals, our interests, and our positive growth.
We help empower children to grow in areas of skill such as social skills, empathy, and compassion for others, as well as individual or intrapersonal skills such as problem solving, goal setting, and study skills. The concept that we continue to grow and develop as people and with our skills is central to our theme, as is the idea that with help, we can develop resilience beyond stressful circumstances. School psychologists are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in seeing possibilities and developing positive change to thrive in school and life. Focusing on these possibilities can help us set goals, identify action steps, communicate needs, and engage in discussions to help create the connections necessary for students to develop critical academic and social emotional skills.
Additionally, school psychologists and school staff may be empowered to move toward positive change in all areas of leadership in the counseling room, the classroom, the community and beyond. School psychologists can focus on improving the school culture, identifying systems-level change, or prioritizing specific areas of the NASP Practice Model, which has been updated as part of the 2020 NASP Standards.
Resources and messaging can be adapted to students and adults, different age groups and multiple contexts. The poster image reflects ideas, character traits, and actions that students might be empowered to take. The program involves a series of resources and suggested activities to help the school staff, students and parents use the theme to convey the variety of factors that contribute to thriving students and school communities. From sample newsletters, to interactive classroom activities, to press releases, there are multiple ways to bring the “The Power of Possibility.” Be sure to share your event with us through with the #SPAW2020 hashtag.
Leveraging the “A” in #SPAW2020 as Part of NSPW
Social media is an important medium for getting the word out about National School Psychology Week (formally known as School Psychology Awareness Week (SPAW)) and engaging others. We are sticking with the hashtag #SPAW2020 in this transition year for logistical reasons and will be tapping into the “A” to highlight different important concepts each day of the week. NASP members will have the opportunity to share information and activities promoting the featured concept each day.
Monday=Awareness: Highlighting the comprehensive role of the school psychologists with a specific focus on the 2020 NASP Practice Model and our “It’s What We Do” Push Project.
Tuesday=Appreciation: Focused on the incredible work school psychologists do day-in and day-out (you can also show appreciation for others if you choose to do so).
Wednesday=Advocacy: Encouraging advocacy for legislative policies and practices at the state and national levels, building on our virtual Hill Day of the past few years.
Thursday=Allyship: Raising up the importance of our work advancing social justice and equity for students and their families, especially those who experience systemic injustice and marginalization.
Friday=Affirmation: Celebrating pride in our profession and acknowledging the critical importance of self-care as professionals and as individuals.
Advocacy Action Day
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial unrest in our country, school psychologists are needed to support students more than ever. But due to declining state and local tax revenues, many states and districts are may to furlough or cut programs and positions. There has never been a more urgent need for advocacy than now – to protect positions and programs and expand access to school mental health services. Join us for the third annual state and federal Advocacy Action Day during National School Psychology Week. It’s easy!
The increased attention to school psychology during NSPW makes it an ideal time to get involved in advocacy – and it won’t even require a physical trip to the state capitol! Even in an election year, many incumbents will be re-elected and have time to look at the issues you advocate for – and you never know how folks can support the profession in the future!
Advocacy Action Day presents an opportunity for you to have proactive conversations with key members of your state legislature before many states enter their legislative sessions in the spring of next year. This is extremely valuable this year, as the next year of state legislative sessions will be making big decisions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty, and more.
On Advocacy Action Day, we will ask to:
- Send a letter to or call the office of their elected state and federal representative
- Post a message to social media, reinforcing the message. 2020 Advocacy Action Day Sample Social Media
- Connect with their school board to see how they can advocate for school psychology at the local level
All of this will not take any more than 5 minutes.
NASP’s Advocacy Action Day will take place on Wednesday, November 11, 2020.
Resources to Develop and Draft Key Points for your Messaging
Effective communication and messaging are vital to achieving advocacy goals. It requires identifying your target audience and figuring out how to resonate. The following resources can help:
- Sample Template Letter to State Legislators
- This sample letter can be adapted to address the issue of protecting and expanding school psychologist positions in light of budget shortfalls related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Critical Policy Issues Web Pages
- Specific key messages, research, and resources on the topics of the shortage of school psychologists, comprehensive school safety, education funding, supporting diverse populations, comprehensive mental and behavioral health, and the comprehensive role of school psychologists can be found here.
- Letter to Congressional Delegation
- Advocacy Action Day and NSPW provide a good opportunity for you to connect to the congressional offices in your state as well, to establish a relationship going in to the 117th Congress and highlight the issues important to school psychologists. Here is a sample letter 2020 Sample Delegation Letter.
For additional resources and information to help advocate for our positions click the link for NASP’s website on National School Psychologist Week.