20 Years of TOPSS

1992 Interim Executive Steering Committee

Past Chair: Karyn Hale
Chair: Bates Mandel
Chair-Elect: Laura Maitland
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Charlie Blair-Broeker
Member-at-Large: Randy Ernst
Member-at-Large: Joseph Lamas
Marissa Sarabando
Elliot Applestein
Faculty Advisors: Ludy Benjamin, Jr., PhD, Samuel Cameron, PhD, Trevor Sewell, PhD, and Irwin Altman, PhD

APA staff: Cynthia Baum, PhD, Mary Rose Janya and Peter Petrossian

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Interim Steering Committee Formed
  • Rudiments of the organization set in place; define concept statement, goals and objectives and identify needs of high school psychology
  • Begin development of first TOPSS unit plan, Sensation and Perception
  • Student Essay Contest founded
  • Award for Most Outstanding Psychology Student established
  • TOPSS logo designed
  • TOPSS invites liaisons from other organizations (National Council for the Social Studies, National Science Teachers Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science) to attend meetings
  • TOPSS invited to speak at Division Two programming at the APA Convention in Toronto, 1993
1993 TOPSS Committee
Past-Chair: Bates Mandel
Chair: Laura Maitland
Chair-Elect: Charles Blair-Broeker
Secretary-Treasurer: Marissa Sarabando
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Alan Feldman
Member-at-Large: Randy Ernst
Member-at-Large: Joe Lamas
Member-at-Large: Karyn Hale
Faculty Advisors: Ludy Benjamin Jr, PhD, Samuel Cameron, PhD, Trevor Sewell, PhD, Charles Spielberger, PhD, and Charles Brewer, PhD

APA staff: Cynthia Baum, PhD, Joanne Callan, PhD, Rick Short, PhD, Mary Rose Janya, Peter Petrossian, and Chris Cubby

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • TOPSS Committee officially approved by the APA Council of Representatives
  • American Psychological Foundation (APF) grants awarded to high school student research submitted in Westinghouse Science contest. TOPSS allowed to select behavioral science entries in order to award the prizes
  • TOPSS requests permanent funding for initiatives from BEA
  • TOPSS BEA liaisons become full members of the BEA Undergraduate and Pre-college Panel
  • TOPSS begins marketing items to benefit TOPSS membership
  • TOPSS discussed the possibility of developing a high school psychology student honor society/ organization for students
  • TOPSS is the official designation for the high school affiliate program in mailings and membership renewal forms.
  • Unit plans on Development, Introduction to Psychology, and Biological Bases of Behavior are up for production and distribution to membership
  • TOPSS requests convention time for APA Convention
  • First membership recruitment drive in place; establishment of State Coordinators
  • Discussion of National Psychology Standards begins with formation of development committee.
1994 TOPSS Committee
Past-Chair: Laura Maitland
Chair: Charles Blair-Broeker
Chair-Elect: Randy Ernst
Secretary-Treasurer: Alan Feldman
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Nancy Grippo
Member-at-Large: Karyn Hale
Member-at-Large: Abigail James
Faculty Advisors: Charles Spielberger, PhD, Charles Brewer, PhD, and David Holmes, PhD

APA staff: Cynthia Baum, PhD, Joanne Callan, PhD, Rick Short, PhD, Mary Rose Janya, Peter Petrossian, Chris Cubby, and Julie Goldstein

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • BEA approved funding to set up a task force on the National Psychology Standards
  • TOPSS advocates for more control over workshops and PTN; assistant editorship possibility for chair or chair-elect
  • APF monies made available for distribution amongst the 50 states for promotion of high school student research
  • Drs. Charles Spielberger and Frank Farley secure ten hours of convention time for TOPSS beginning in 1995
  • Unit plan on Personality is developed
1995 TOPSS Committee
Past-Chair: Charles Blair-Broeker
Chair: Randy Ernst
Chair-Elect: Margaret Davidson
Secretary-Treasurer: Nancy Grippo
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Carol Dean
Member-at-Large: Abigail James
Member-at-Large: Alan Feldman
Faculty Advisors: Martin Anderson, PhD, Charles Spielberger, PhD, Charles Brewer, PhD, Irwin Altman, PhD, and David Holmes, PhD

APA staff: Jill Reich, PhD, Peter Petrossian and Julie Goldstein

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • TOPSS invites outstanding APF student researchers from New York high schools to present posters for one day at the APA convention
  • Learning, Memory and The Stats Pack: Statistics without Fear unit plans are in developed
  • Unit Plan on Biological Bases of Behavior is distributed; Social Psychology unit is discussed
  • The issue of high school students joining APA was discussed
  • Full APA members are allowed to be TOPSS members if they teach high school psychology
  • Begin investigating the possibility of a TOPSS section on the APA web page
  • Guidelines for high school psychology organization, Psi Alpha, proposed
  • TOPSS member directory compiled
  • BEA funds distribution of Walt Whitman Journal to all TOPSS members
  • TOPSS given editorial role for section in the PTN
  • Board of Directors passed motion-changing TOPSS from ad hoc to continuing committee
  • TOPSS considers approaching divisions to create a teacher affiliate position
  • Monitor articles project begun
  • Friends of TOPSS program initiated to form liaisons with other boards who share an interest in the teaching of psychology
1996 TOPSS Committee*
Past-Chair: Randy Ernst
Chair: Margaret Davidson
Chair-Elect: Nancy Grippo
Secretary-Treasurer: Carol Dean
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Mary Spilis
Member-at-Large: Alan Feldman
Member-at-Large: Barbara Loverich
Faculty Advisors: Charles Spielberger, PhD Charles Brewer, PhD Irwin Altman, PhD, and Virginia Mathie, PhD

APA staff: Jill Reich, PhD, Peter Petrossian and Julie Goldstein

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • APF funds granted to support Westinghouse and State Excellence in Psychology awards in pilot states
  • High school student affiliate status publicized
  • TOPSS endorses a draft of the High School Psychology Standards
  • State Coordinator packet and job descriptions designed
  • TOPSS web page created
  • TOPSS Committee members invited to serve on P3 steering committee
  • An article by Randy Ernst and Peter Petrossian appeared in the March 1996 issue of the American Psychologist, titled Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS): Aiming for Excellence in High School Psychology Instruction.

*Committee members listed above assumed office in the fall of 1996.  Starting in 1997, the office position time frame changed so new officers took positions on January 1.  This is why the 1996 and 1997 committees listed here are the same. 

1997 TOPSS Committee
Past-Chair: Randy Ernst
Chair: Margaret Davidson
Chair-Elect: Nancy Grippo
Secretary-Treasurer: Carol Dean, EdD
Secretary-Treasurer-Elect: Mary Spilis
Member-at-Large: Alan Feldman
Member-at-Large: Barbara Loverich
Faculty Advisor: Irwin Altman, PhD

APA staff: Jill Reich, PhD, Peter Petrossian, Julie Goldstein and Christine Johnson

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Unit plan on Memory distributed
  • Time frame for office positions change; TOPSS officers to take positions beginning January 1 after their election beginning in 1998.
  • Psychological Disorders and Treatment of Psychological Disorders unit plans are developed
  • National Standards for the Teaching of High School Psychology approved by the TOPSS Committee
  • TOPSS designates first week in March as Psychology Awareness Week
  • The Seligman Presidential Scholars Competition replaces the essay contest for the year, precursor to the APA TOPSS scholars essay competition
1998 TOPSS Committee
Past-Chair: Margaret Davidson
Chair: Nancy Grippo
Chair-Elect: Carol Dean, EdD
Secretary-Treasurer: Mary Spilis
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Craig Gruber
Member-at-Large: Barbara Loverich
Member-at-Large: Kristin Whitlock
Faculty Advisors: Charles Brewer, PhD, James Freeman, PhD and Virginia Mathie, PhD

APA staff: Peter Petrossian, Julie Goldstein and Christine Johnson

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Unit plans on Cross-cultural Psychology and Motivation and Emotion are developed
  • TOPSS web page is relocated to the APA web site
  • State Association Project makes funds available to support the development of regional and local networks.
1999 TOPSS Committee
Past-Chair: Nancy Grippo
Chair: Carol Dean, EdD
Chair-Elect: Mary Spilis
Secretary-Treasurer: Craig Gruber
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Barbara Loverich
Member-at-Large: Kristin Hibashi-Whitlock
Member-at-Large: Rob McEntarffer
Faculty Advisors: Charles Brewer, PhD Jane Halonen, PhD and Stanley Sue, PhD

APA staff: Peter Petrossian and Martha Braswell

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Unit plan on Cross-cultural Psychology developed
  • TOPSS Convention programming includes projects designed to make an impact on the host city's community
  • National Directory of Teachers of Psychology is made into a database
  • Conference calls for state coordinators available by topic of interest
  • Creation of "Recognition for Excellence in Teaching of Psychology" awards for high school teachers of psychology (current TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Awards)
  • National Standards for the Teaching of High School Psychology approved by APA Council of Representatives
2000 TOPSS Committee
Past-Chair: Carol Dean, EdD
Chair: Mary Spilis
Chair-Elect: Craig Gruber
Secretary-Treasurer: Barbara Loverich
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Marissa Sarabando
Member-at-Large: Rob McEntarffer
Member-at-Large: Ruth Martin
Faculty Advisors: Charles Brewer, PhD and Jane Halonen, PhD

APA staff: Martha Braswell, Sherrill Simmons and Barney Beins

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Proposed Adopt-a-State Coordinator program to facilitate communication between state coordinators and TOPSS Committee
  • TOPSS investigates possibility of link up with the Society for the Teaching of Psychology Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology through web link
  • TOPSS advocates the adoption of the National Standards for the Teaching of High School Psychology to state boards of education
  • Positive Psychology unit plan begins to be developed
  • Began the Long Range Planning Committee made up of chairs and faculty advisors to discuss purely visionary ideas
  • High School Teacher workshops take advantage of local members
  • High School student affiliate category is a new membership category
  • Proposal of a standing TOPSS workshop at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference
  • State Coordinators handbook put online
  • TOPSS polls State Departments of Education to find requirements for state certification for teaching high school psychology
2001 TOPSS Committee
Past-Chair: Mary Spilis
Chair: Craig Gruber
Chair-Elect: Rob McEntarffer
Secretary-Treasurer: Marissa Sarabando
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Dave Johnston
Member-at-Large: Ruth Martin
Member-at-Large: Debra Park
Faculty Advisors: Charles Brewer, PhD, Jane Halonen, PhD and Randy Smith, PhD

APA staff: Martha Braswell, Sherrill Simmons and Barney Beins, PhD

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Fundraising for TOPSS Initiative through Friends of TOPSS begins (to benefit the APF TOPSS Fund)
  • Packets of support for State Certification prepared for those requesting information
  • TOPSS Essay Scholar winners funded to attend 2002 APA Convention
  • Unit Plan for States of Consciousness developed
  • Budget concerns bring the PTN online
  • No consolidated meetings in September 2001. All business conducted through conference calls.
  • TOPSS prepares to celebrate its 10th Anniversary
2002 TOPSS Committee
Past-Chair: Craig Gruber
Chair: Rob McEntarffer
Chair-Elect: Marissa Sarabando
Secretary-Treasurer: Dave Johnston
Secretary-Treasurer-elect: Chuck Schira
Member-at-Large: Debra Park
Member-at-Large: Amy Fineburg
Faculty Advisors: Randy Smith, PhD and David Matsumoto, PhD

APA staff: Martha Braswell, Sherrill Simmons and Barney Beins, PhD

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Developed the unit lesson plans for Positive Psychology and Stress, Health, and Coping
  • Instituted the Psychology Awareness Program in High Schools
  • Worked with the Center for Gifted Education Policy on the Young Scholars Social Science Summit and the Pinnacle Scholars Project
  • Recognized significant contributions from instructors in the teaching of psychology in high schools through the TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Awards
  • Continued to collaborate with two and four-year college instructors in teaching workshops and working together in unit lesson plans.
  • Awarded scholarships to students who submitted research papers. Those winners were recognized by the APF/APA Excellence in High School Student Research Awards.
2003 TOPSS Committee
Past Chair: Rob McEntarffer
Chair: Marissa Sarabando
Chair-Elect: Debby Park
Secretary-Treasurer: Chuck Schira
Secretary-Treasurer Elect: Rob Johns
Member-at-Large: Amy Fineburg
Member-at-Large: Allyson Weseley
Faculty Advsiors: Randy Smith, PhD and Stephen Chew, PhD

APA staff: Mayella Valero and Maureen McCarthy PhD

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • TOPSS pursues a Science Fair Initiative
  • A Science Fair Manual is developed
  • APF and TOPSS sponsor awards for Student Research
  • TOPSS workshops are held at new venues
  • State Coordinators network restructured into Regional Coordinators network
  • TOPSS sends a liaison to the Coalition on Psychology in Schools and Education
  • Unit Plan on Positive Psychology published
  • TOPSS continues to collaborate with the Center for Gifted Education on the Young Scholars Social Science Summit
2004 TOPSS Committee
Past Chair: Marissa Sarabando
Chair: Debby Park
Chair-Elect: Amy Fineburg
Secretary/Treasurer: Rob Johns
Secretary/Treasurer Elect: Alan Feldman
Member-at-Large: Allyson Weseley
Member-at-Large/Membership Coordinator: Laura Brandt
Faculty Advisors: Randy Smith PhD and Steve Chew PhD

APA staff: Maureen McCarthy PhD and Emily Leary

  • Worked to increase the influence of TOPSS, both as an organization and for membership
  • Focused on lesson plans/resources and workshops to reach more teachers throughout the US.
  • First APA/TOPSS booth held at the NCSS Convention
  • TOPSS sponsored speakers at the APA Convention and held a well-attended pre-convention workshop for teahcers
  • The first APA/Clark University Workshop for High School Teachers was planned
  • Additional workshops are held for high school teachers
  • Conducting Psychological Research for Science Fairs: A Teacher's Guide and Resource Manual is published
  • Marissa Sarabando and Debby Park attended the Educational Leadership Conference and worked with the APA Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education to help develop the Teacher's Needs Survey
  • Amy Fineburg and Debby Park participate in a workgroup to consider a potential high school psychology certification, which brings up some important issues involving teacher's need for support and recognition from APA.
2005 TOPSS Committee
Past Chair: Debby Park
Chair: Amy Fineburg
Chair-Elect: Mary Jean Voigt
Secretary/Treasurer: Alan Feldman
Secretary/Treasurer Elect: Hilary Rosenthal
Member-at-Large: Carol Farber
Membership coordinator: Laura Brandt
Faculty Advisors: Steve Chew, PhD and Loretta Neal McGregor, PhD

APA staff: Emily Leary and Maureen McCarthy, PhD

  • First revision of the National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula passed by Council of Representatives in August 2005
  • The Secretary/Treasurer and Secretary/Treasurer-Elect TOPSS committee positions are both made Member-at-Large positions
  • Unit lesson plan on Stress and Health Promotion is published
  • Unit on Social Psychology is developed, along with other unit lesson plans
  • TOPSS Committee considers holding an institute focusing on a particular domain within the Standards
  • The National Standards are endorsed by NCSS
  • First APA/Clark University Workshop for High School Teachers is held, with Rob McEntarffer and Debby Park as the high school TOPSS presenters
  • Regional Coordinators network continues and State Coordinator network is re-formed
  • TOPSS Member Charlie Blair-Broeker invited to participate in a keynote presentation at the first APA Science Leadership Conference
2006 TOPSS Committee
Past Chair: Amy Fineburg
Chair: Mary Jean Voigt
Chair-Elect: Laura Brandt
Secretary/Treasurer: Hilary Rosenthal
Secretary/Editor: Marie Smith
Member-at-Large: Carol Farber
Membership Coordinator: Will Elmhorst
College Faculty Advisors: Loretta Neal McGregor, PhD and Regan Gurung, PhD

APA staff: Emily Leary and Robin Hailstorks, PhD

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • National Standards are mailed to all members
  • Second Annual APA/Clark University workshop for teachers of psychology is held
  • Lesson Plans on Social Psychology, I/O psychology, the Psychology of Sexual Orientation, and Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychologyare developed
  • TOPSS begins to review of the Ethical Guidelines for the Teaching of Psychology in the Secondary Schools, begins new resource on ethics for high school teachers
  • TOPSS members participated at the NCSS conference
  • TOPSS member Charlie Blair-Broeker participates in an APF summit on high school psychology
  • Sponsored workshops for high school teachers
  • Continuation of programs such as the minority recruiting project, regional coordinator network, and the TOPSS speaker's bureau
  • A power point template is developed to encourage APA divisions to provide information to TOPSS teachers.
  • TOPSS creates a Diversity Action Plan
2007 TOPSS Committee
Past Chair: Mary Jean Voigt
Chair: Laura Brandt
Chair-Elect: Hilary Rosenthal
Secretary/Editor: Marie Smith
Membership Coordinator: Will Elmhorst
Member-at-Large: Scott Reed
Member-at-Large: Amy House
Faculty Advisors: Regan Gurung, PhD, and Loretta Neal McGregor, PhD

APA staff: Emily Leary and Robin Hailstorks, PhD

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Pilot institute on biopsychology held at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
  • Four lesson plans revised during summer institute; additional lesson plans continue to be developed
  • Third APA/Clark University Workshop held in Worcester, MA
  • Continue to advertise the TOPSS Speaker's Bureau and the minority recruiting project.
  • TOPSS discusses a model for vertical teaming between high schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities
  • Continue to develop the mentor and state coordinator networks
  • TOPSS tries to garner more participation in the TOPSS essay competition and the TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Awards
  • The TOPSS Committee discusses ways to encourage high school teachers to conduct research with students
  • TOPSS works to advance the second revision of the National Standards, and to disseminate the 2005 National Standards
  • TOPSS continues the tradition of having great speakers represent TOPSS at the annual APA convention
  • TOPSS continues to develop membership and reach out to new teachers
2008 TOPSS Committee
Past Chair: Laura Brandt
Chair:  Hilary Rosenthal
Chair-Elect: William Elmhorst
Member-at-Large: Marie Smith, PhD
Member-at-Large: Amy House
Member-at-Large: R. Scott Reed
Membership Coordinator: Viviana Mendoza
Faculty Representatives: Diane Halpern, PhD, Regan Gurung, PhD

APA staff: Martha Boenau, Emily Leary and Robin Hailstorks, PhD

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Fourth APA/Clark University Workshop held in Worcester, MA
  • Second revision of National Standards continues
  • TOPSS publishes a new modular unit on the Psychology of Sexual Orientation. TOPSS also worked in collaboration with the American Psychoanalytic Association to publish a new unit lesson plan on Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychology
  • Membership outreach and retention remains a high priority for TOPSS
  • TOPSS also proposes new ideas regarding its Diversity Action Plan
2009 TOPSS Committee

Past Chair: Hilary Rosenthal
Chair: William Elmhorst
Chair-Elect: Katherine Minter
Member-at-Large: Marie Smith, PhD
Member-at-Large: Nancy Fenton
Member-at-Large: Jann Longman
Membership Coordinator: Viviana Mendoza
Faculty Representatives: Diane Halpern, PhD, Barney Beins, PhD

APA staff: Martha Boenau, Emily Leary and Robin Hailstorks, PhD

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Fifth APA/Clark University Workshop held in Worcester, MA, in conjunction with an Extended Institute for Master Teachers.  During the Extended Institute, two teams of teachers worked on developing new units on History and Perspectives in Psychology and Research Methods and Statistics.
  • A priority of TOPSS is to revise outdated unit lesson plans.  Revision of four unit lesson plans continued in 2009.
  • TOPSS sponsored five programs at the APA Convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, focused on social justice
  • With recommendation from TOPSS, the Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) approved a new Working Group to develop a new policy document that will outline the recommended education and training for psychology teachers
  • TOPSS continued its mentor program as a means of providing service to new high school psychology teachers
2010 TOPSS Committee
Past Chair: William Elmhorst
Chair: Katherine Minter
Chair-Elect: Jeanne Blakeslee
Member-at-Large: Nancy Fenton
Member-at-Large: Steve Jones
Member-at-Large: Jann Longman
Membership Coordinator: Kimberly Patterson
Faculty Representatives: Barney Beins, PhD, Diane Halpern, PhD

APA staff: Emily Leary and Robin Hailstorks, PhD

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Sixth APA/Clark University Workshop held in Worcester, MA
  • TOPSS provided input to BEA Working Group on the Certification and Training of High School Psychology Teachers on a new draft policy document titled Guidelines for Preparing High School Psychology Teachers: Course-Based and Standards-Based Approaches.
  • Two unit plans were published, on Motivation and Emotion.
  • The first Lee Gurel Lecture was held at the APA Convention, with Kenneth D. Keith, PhD, of the University of San Diego, delivering an address titled The Last Word: What Should Students Take Away from Our Classes?
  • TOPSS also initiated the recognition of TOPSS Committee members by developing letters to recognize election to the Committee as well as voluntary service on the Committee.  Letters were sent to each Committee member’s department chair, school principal, district superintendent, and state Commissioner of Education.
  • A new flier outlining benefits of TOPSS membership was developed for outreach
  • TOPSS and the Education Directorate sponsored receptions for high school psychology teachers at the NCSS conference in Denver and AP National Conference in Washington, DC
  • A new Internet Toolbar for high school psychology teachers was created
  • The TOPSS chair attended the Science Leadership Conference in November 2010
  • A TOPSS liaison also attended the December 2010 meeting of the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education
  • TOPSS also continued conversations in 2010 regarding the feasibility of starting a National Honor Society in Psychology for high school students and regarding National Board certification for high school psychology teachers
2011 TOPSS Committee

Past Chair: Katherine Minter
Chair: Jeanne Blakeslee
Chair-Elect: Jann Longman
Member-at-Large: Michael Hamilton
Member-at-Large: Steve Jones
Member-at-Large: Michael McLane
Membership Coordinator: Kimberly Patterson
Faculty Representatives: Barney Beins, PhD, Kenneth Keith, PhD

APA staff: Emily Leary and Robin Hailstorks, PhD

Milestones and Metamorphosis
  • Seventh APA/Clark University Workshop held in Worcester, MA
  • Revised unit lesson plan on Sensation and Perception was published
  • TOPSS develops and approves a new Diversity Statement and Action Plan
  • The second revision of the National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula is approved by the APA Council of Representatives in August 2011
  • TOPSS recommends revising the current Regional Coordinator structure
  • A new APA TOPSS Poster Competition for High School Students was held in 2011, asking students to develop posters and 500-word essays on the theme “Psychology is a Science”
  • With funding through the American Psychological Foundation, a national survey of high school psychology teachers in launched in December 2011
2012 TOPSS Committee

Past Chair: Jeanne Blakeslee
Chair: Jann Longman
Chair-Elect: Steve Jones
Member-at-Large: Michael Hamilton
Member-at-Large: Tonya Hinton
Member-at-Large: Michael McLane
Membership Coordinator: Katie Clark
Faculty Representatives: Kenneth Keith, PhD, Janie Wilson, PhD

APA staff: Emily Leary, Robin Hailstorks, PhD and Caitlin Crowley

Milestones and Metamorphosis

To be determined