ERIC Number: EJ991787
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Stepping up in the Montgomery County Public Schools
Cowan, Katherine C.
Communique, v41 n2 p1, 17-18 Oct 2012
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Maryland, is the 17th largest school district in the country, with more than 146,000 students and 200 schools (34 of which are National Blue Ribbon and 27 of which are Title 1). Wielding a budget of more than $2 billion, MCPS is also one of the top performing school districts in the country, with a 90% graduation rate (the best among the 50 largest school districts) and some of the nation's consistently highest achievement scores. Despite many enviable aspects of MCPS's position, the reality of the economy and direction of school reform is hitting hard here, too, and school psychologists are being affected. "We are certainly better off than some districts, yet many school psychologists feel underutilized," says June Lucas Zillich, copresident with Debra Wotherspoon of the local Montgomery County School Psychology Association (MCSPA). "Many of us feel that decision-makers are not aware of the breadth of our skill set and therefore the value of the investment in school psychologists." The reasons are both immediate-term fiscal issues and more entrenched, systemic disconnects between school psychologists' comprehensive skills and training and the actual provision of services. The local group's advocacy plan aims to address both. The MCPS school psychologists started rethinking their professional advocacy efforts a few years ago with the release of the NASP Practice Model. The Practice Model, as intended by NASP, provided a framework for advocating for the comprehensive role of the school psychologist. Initial advocacy efforts included discussions with district school psychologists and presentations to members of the school board and top district leaders. In the past year, however, escalating budget realities and the transition in system leadership forced MCSPA leaders to rethink efforts as creatively--and broadly--as possible. They determined that they had to move beyond top leadership both in terms of target audiences and in terms of who was doing the advocating. They developed a multipronged plan that involves all of the school psychologists, and targets building leaders and parents as well as district leaders. Key elements of the plan are highlighted.
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Advocacy, Leadership, Public Schools, Boards of Education, School Districts, School Psychology, School Psychologists, Budgets, Outreach Programs
National Association of School Psychologists. 4340 East West Highway Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 301-657-0270; Fax: 301-657-0275; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.nasponline.org/publications/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland