Welcome to MASP

MASP is the only Michigan organization that represents school psychologists at both the state and local levels and conducts important activities on your behalf.  Through professional development, advocacy, governance, and publications, the board at MASP works hard to represent school psychologists throughout the state of Michigan.  Are you a school psychologist who would like to know more on how to get involved?  Please click here

MASP Vision: Empower school psychologists through leadership, professional training, and legislative advocacy; to promote best practices in academic achievement, positive behavior and emotional development, and mental health; to support quality educational programs and services for Michigan students and their families.

What is a School Psychologist?

School psychologists apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. They provide assessment, support, and intervention services to students, while partnering with families, teachers, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments.  They also work with school administrators to improve school-wide policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate services for students.  Click here to learn more about school psychology.

Statement on School Violence Prevention

In light of the recent Oxford tragedy, MASP is taking action regarding school violence and advocating for safety and wellness.  In an effort to promote school safety and mental health, we developed a Statement on School Violence Prevention which was approved and adopted by our Executive Board earlier this week. We hope that this can be an important advocacy tool to help support school psychologists and others in their efforts for effective consultation and systems level change to ensure that all Michigan schools can learn and thrive in a safe and supportive environment.


Statement on School Violence Prevention

(Adopted by the MASP Executive Board on December 15, 2021)

The mission of the Michigan Association of School Psychologists (MASP) is that all Michigan students achieve  their fullest potential.  In order to accomplish this mission, we must work to ensure that students learn and thrive in school environments that are safe and free from violence.  In that spirit and in the wake of the senseless tragedy in Oxford, MASP joins the call for the passage of common sense and reasonable gun safety legislation in Michigan, as well as to increase the availability of school psychologists and access to comprehensive school mental and behavioral health services.

As part of the National Association of School Psychologists' (NASP) commitment to ensure all children's safety, well-being, and ability to thrive in school, at home, and throughout life, NASP adopted the "Resolution to Support Efforts to Prevent Gun Violence" in January, 2018. This resolution outlines key, evidence based, policy solutions to preventing gun violence (articulated below) which MASP supports. Access to firearms is highly associated with increased risk of injury and death among youth.  And research is clear that exposure to gun violence is highly associated with diminished social, emotional, and academic well-being among youth. It is our responsibility to advocate for the policies and practices that will reduce gun violence.

Addressing mass gun violence must include preventing access to firearms by individuals at risk of hurting themselves or others.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics from 2019 (CDC), there were 39,707 firearm-related deaths in the United States with 23,941 of these deaths by firearm suicide.  During that year, there were 1,220 gun deaths in Michigan which included 83 children and teens (ages 0 through 19).

MASP aspires to protect children from gun violence by encouraging and supporting solutions that create safer, healthier schools, homes, and communities. We support Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s call to lawmakers to enact common sense gun safety measures. Nessel says the tragedy in Oxford should provoke a conversation about Michigan's gun laws and how we can keep children safe in our schools. "I think it's important that we sort of dissect what occurred, and think about what we can do better to potentially prevent a tragedy like this from occurring in the future in another school, in another town in another part of the state." Nessel says she would like to see changes to Michigan gun laws to prevent this sort of violence. "It's time for us to reevaluate the laws that we could be potentially putting in place that could have stopped this from happening.” 

In conjunction with common sense gun safety laws, we must also improve access to comprehensive school mental and behavioral health services which helps to promote student learning and safety.  Providing ongoing access to mental health services promotes school safety by helping to create a positive learning environment in which students feel connected to their school community and a sense of belongingness. The continuum of school mental health includes promoting wellness, resiliency, skill building, and help-seeking behaviors. These are critical to student well-being and to identifying students who may need more intensive services or for those who require immediate intervention, including those at risk of harming themselves or others.

MASP endorses the following actions which represent best practice principles in preventing school violence:

  • a comprehensive approach to school safety (NASP Framework for Safe and Successful Schools);

  • increased access to comprehensive school  mental and behavioral health services;

  • improved ratios for school psychologists and other school-based mental health professionals as well as more effective use of existing school psychologists; and

  • limiting inappropriate access to firearms.

MASP supports approaches that protect children, as they are particularly vulnerable when it comes to gun violence both as direct victims and as being traumatized by the exposure to the deaths of family members, friends, neighbors, and community members. This includes:

  • rigorous enforcement of existing gun laws;

  • eliminating inappropriate youth access to guns;

  • improving awareness of evidence based safe gun practices, including secure storage of firearms;

  • restricting the presence of guns in schools to only commissioned and trained school resource officers; 

  • ensuring greater protection to keep guns out of the hands of individuals deemed at risk of hurting themselves and others;

  • comprehensive background checks for all gun purchases;

  • extreme risk protection orders that allow family members or police officers (when notified by school/family or when responding to an incident) to petition the court to remove someone’s access to weapons when they are deemed a threat to self or others;

  • bans on weapons that can do mass destruction in a short period of time (e.g., fully automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines); and

  • evidence-based threat assessment policy and practice; mental health evaluations and re-entry plans, including ongoing mental and behavioral health support for students identified as being of imminent threat to themselves or others; and enhanced student access to mental health supports in schools and communities.

In conclusion, MASP believes that effective laws and policies can reduce gun violence as well as create safer, and welcoming learning environments, all while upholding the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, MASP advocates strongly for improving access to comprehensive school mental and behavioral health services. This work is critical to  helping all children to learn and achieve their highest potential, now and throughout life. Collectively, we share this responsibility. MASP looks forward to working with other educational and mental health organizations, as well as engaging in advocacy and discussion with state and local policy makers, to create laws and policies based on best practices and research.

The statement can be found at:  MASP Statement of School Violence Prevention

References:


2021 Michigan School Psychologist of the Year: Joe Sbar

The MASP School Psychologist of the Year (SPOTY) is awarded for excellence in the provision of school psychological services by a field-based practitioner and is selected from nominations from across the state.  MASP has selected Joe Sbar as this years award winner.  Joe Sbar is currently a school psychologist with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District in Sault Ste. Marie and throughout his 10-year career has served as a clear example of service to children, families, schools, and the profession as both a practitioner and an advocate.  Read the press release to learn more about Joe and his accomplishments. 


Critical Shortage of School Psychologists in Michigan

On December 30th, Governor Whitmer signed into law the new Critical Shortage legislation: 

ACTION BY THE GOVERNOR: HB 4694 MPSERS and Substitute Teaching

The bill would modify MPSERS to allow retirants to be employed at a reporting unit under certain circumstances without forfeiting their retirement allowance or health care coverage. For critical shortage areas, the bill would push back a sunset to July 1, 2025; strike a three-year limitation; and remove the 12-month waiting period for retirants who do not work in the month of their retirement and who are working under an extended COVID-19 learning plan. Comparable changes would be made to the MPSERS section on substitute teachers and independent contractors. The bill signed by the governor and assigned Public Act 267 of 2020.

COVID-19 Return to School Information & Resources

In late August we held two Town Hall meetings to collect your thoughts, concerns, and ideas. We had excellent turnout and the forums yielded much information, which we utilized to create the attached guidance document focusing on practice norms, advocacy, and responding to potential ethical and legal issues throughout this pandemic. Please see the attached guidance document: MASP Professional Standards Guidance During COVID.

On June 22, 2020, the MASP Executive Board adopted its Return to School Guidance Document.  This guidance document utilizes the COVID-19 Response Model of Practice and its applicability in planning for re-entry to school this upcoming fall.  Further, this document should be considered a tool for both guidance and advocacy in the role and function of school psychologists.  For additional COVID-19 guidance and information, please check out our COVID-19 Resource Page.


On June 30, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the MI Safe Schools: 2020-2021 Return to School Roadmap, outlining various routes toward re-entering school.  This document was created by the COVID-19 Task Force on Education Return to Advisory School Council.

In a memo (8/12/20) from Dr. Rice titled "Health Resources for Returning to School," guidance is provided with respect to returning safely to school, screening of students, access to inexpensive PPE for schools, and working with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), as well as the of Michigan Association of Local Public Health (MALPH).

Pandemic Return to School Toolkit: A Focus on Physical and Mental Well-Being for Educators and Families

In the wake of COVID-19, this is an incredibly critical and challenging time for us to come together as a community, especially while we are physically distanced. As our school community steps onto the road to recovery and into the 2020-2021 school year, we seek tools and resources to support our journey.

The Michigan Department of Education, in collaboration with the School Based Mental Health Professionals Coalition (consisting of Michigan Association of School Social Workers, Michigan Association of School Psychologists, and Michigan School Counselor Association), has created a Return to School Toolkit. The toolkit offers school community members and stakeholders effective tools and resources needed to help plan for the road back to the classroom. As we still do not know what school may look like, or how the school year may proceed, this toolkit provides both in-person and remote learning tools and resources. The social and economic effects of COVID-19 on our school communities remain to be seen, but there is no doubt there will be an impact which schools must consider for years to come.  The Return to School Toolkit is a living resource; any changes in public health and guidance recommendations will be updated to the resource as they occur.

Inside the Return to School Toolkit, you will find resources to help you follow the Governor’s Return to School Roadmap so you can safely bring students back to the classroom for in-person instruction. While much of the toolkit focuses on disease prevention, it also considers the underlying long-term effects of the pandemic, including the impact of collective trauma. Specifically, the trauma that some children and families historically have, or are particularly primed for, due to being part of a racial minority group hit harder by COVID-19 and inadequate access to health care. Providing resources that support school communities with being trauma-informed aides districts in understanding student behavior, family engagement, and how to best address concerns. The Return to School Toolkit includes several practical tools to foster resilience in students, families, and staff.

Below, please find the following resources:

This toolkit focuses on disease prevention and long-term mental health effects of a pandemic, including collective trauma.  The toolkit includes multiple practical tools to help promote resilience in students, family, and staff, while providing information to help support student behavior, family engagement, and how to best address concerns. 
This presentation can be utilized as an advocacy and educational tool to (1) help inform individuals regarding the role of school-based mental health professionals (i.e., school psychologists, school social workers, and school counselors), (2) to promote the need of school-based mental health services, and (3) provide information regarding resources to support students during COVID-19.  Click here for a downloadable PDF version.

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