Shortage Action Steps for School Districts

Shortage Action Steps for School Districts

MASP has compiled a list of free resources for school administrators, human resource staff, and other educational stakeholders to help develop short and long term initiatives for recruiting and maintaining school psychologists. Short term initiatives can be strategies implemented within 3 years or immediately, while the long-term solutions may require at least three years or more to implement. 

For a more comprehensive, instructional guide to addressing these shortages, check out the MASP Shortages Resource Guide as well as the NASP Quick Resource Guide

Short-Term Strategies Long-Term Solutions
For recruitment: 

#1 – Promote Job Versatility – School psychologists may be drawn to positions with broad-based roles. Job descriptions that
include a range of activities such as systems-level work (e.g., MTSS), direct/indirect service delivery, and prevention/intervention activities, in addition to traditional assessment, are more likely to attract highly qualified applicants.

#2 – Highlight Area Benefits – Salaries for school psychologists may appear low when compared to other states. Highlight benefits of living in the community such as cost of living, cost of housing, access to recreational
opportunities, and other local benefits.

#3 – Identify Job Incentives – Even small incentives may attract candidates, such as offering stipends for holding a national credential (NCSP), offering signing bonuses, and providing overtime pay or extended contract hours. Other
incentives may include flexible schedules and options for remote work days.

For Retention:

#1 – Supervision Institute – Encourage school psychologists in your district/COOP to participate in MASP’s Supervision Institute to assist and prepare them in supervising new hire school school psychologists with Class 5 provisional licenses

#2 – Support Professional Development – Allow school psychologists to attend discipline-specific professional development by allocating funds and providing leave to attend state and national conferences. Consider budgeting for professional literature/resources as well as funding membership in state and professional associations.

#3 – Consultation with MASP – Outreach to MASP leadership and liaisons who can assist with reviewing transcripts of current employees in your district/COOP interested in undergoing respecialization or professional retraining.

 For recruitment: 

#1 – Respecialization – This process involves an individual with a graduate degree in a related field (e.g., special education, school counseling, mental health counseling, etc.) expanding their skills through additional graduate coursework and training in order to obtain a credential to practice as a school psychologist.

#2 – Professional Retraining – This process involves an individual with a graduate degree in another area of psychology (e.g., clinical or counseling psychology) who pursues additional training in order to obtain a credential as a school psychologist.

The process of respecialization or
professional retraining begins with identifying areas of competency based on completed coursework, creating a personalized plan of courses to be taken that align with NASP standards, and completing a 1,200-hour professional experience under the supervision of a Class 6 school psychologist. Check out MASP’s FAQ about respecialization and professional retraining as a pathway to licensure in Montana.

For Retention:

#1 – Provide Incentives for Longevity – Incentive structures, like longevity bonuses
awarded to individuals based on years of service (i.e. after 5, 10, or more years of service to a district or cooperative), may promote long-term employment.

#2 – Salary & Pay Scales – Align salary and benefits with level of education and training. School psychologists who have completed a NASP-approved training program have likely achieved, at minimum, a specialist-level graduate training (e.g., 60+ graduate credits), which is often at least two years or more beyond what is required for a master’s degree (e.g., 30+ graduate credits).

#3 – Mentorship Programs – New school psychologists should have access to structured mentorship programs that provide peer support during career transitions. Mentorship can focus on the development and application of skills to new employment settings.

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