School psychologists must stay up-to-date on both education laws and regulations related to mental health and health care. Although it may appear difficult, below are five ways to help school psychologists stay in the loop of industry trends and regulatory changes.
The Internet offers a never ending supply of formal and informal resources for staying up-to-date on laws. First, there are online forums, message boards and LinkedIn groups that offer access to industry experts and community updates. All of these regularly offer discussions and news releases related to emerging regulatory trends. Social media is an easy way to follow professional groups and education industry leaders. Social media can provide useful tips, links to helpful articles and innovative insights into upcoming legislative events. Because school psychologists are understandably busy, they can set up and maintain contact with a mentor through email and texting. An occasional lunch meeting will provide
advice, support and new perspectives.
An easy way to keep on up legal changes is to subscribe to print and web publications like blogs and e-newsletters. For example, Education Week offers their Law and Courts section that includes a free e-newsletter. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) offers a comprehensive School Law page that includes information on hot legal topics like technology, religion, curriculum, athletics, governance and health and nutrition. The U.S. Department of Education offers their new IDEA website for disability related legislature and Wrightslaw website offers special education law and advocacy resources. There are also traditional publications, such as education related magazines, that will provide valuable information.
Professional Events and Memberships
Joining a professional education organization is a great way to stay up to date on emerging legislation and legal issues. Attending education conferences and events provides direct exposure to the education industry’s experts, advocates and thought leaders. All of these events are excellent learning and networking opportunities. New legal proposals are often first presented at professional conferences by members of the Department of Education and other federal representatives. These events also provide professional development activities, such as annual training sessions, that schools may reimburse teachers for the costs to attend. The Education Law Association offers annual conferences, webinars and seminars.
Even if a school psychologist already has an advanced degree, taking an occasional refresher class will expose them to new information about current legislative trends. Most university and graduate school assignments require in-depth research for projects while providing access to exclusive journals, articles and data through the library. This is a great way to focus on select legal topics, such as privacy law or invention guidelines. Most professional certifications, for both teachers and psychologists, require continuing education credits. A school psychologist who strategically plans and takes advanced classes can work their way to a second graduate degree or a doctorate degree.
Fifth and finally, an excellent way to stay up to date on education laws is to simply network with local school psychologists. School psychologists can search for a local state association through the National Association of School Psychologists’ (NASP) website.