Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education
The mission of the coalition is to bring together interested psychologists to promote and make publicly accessible applications of the research that psychology has developed to assist the nation in improving the quality of public and private Pre-K-12 education. The coalition further hopes to influence APA’s involvement in policy making and legislation associated with the nation's educational agenda. In addition, the mission of this coalition is to encourage cooperation among those APA entities and affiliates whose focus is on children and youth, and the teaching and learning processes.
Improving the quality of the psychology offered in teacher preparation and professional development.
Collaborating with other professions that address the needs of children in schools.
Making education and schooling more central to APA’s agenda.
About the Coalition
The role of psychology and the psychological sciences is often overlooked in our national education debates. A 2001 briefing provided by the National Research Council on the reform agenda for U.S. public schools failed to include the role of psychologists. This omission occurred at nearly the same time as:
A ramp up in discussion of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Consideration of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.
New legislation establishing the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) at the United States Department of Education.
The inclusion of education in the revised mission statement of APA.
These events precipitated the establishment of the coalition, spearheaded by APA's Div. 15 (Educational), Div. 16 (School), and Div. 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology). Cynthia Belar, director of APA’s Education Directorate, provided funding to support the first year of twice-yearly meetings.
Helped the APA Government Relations Office create language for a definition of teaching skills incorporated as part of the Higher Education Act reauthorization.
Generated the instrument, collected data, analyzed and wrote the report on the Teacher Needs Survey.
Developed bylaws (PDF, 25KB) to facilitate coalition activities.
Developed an online brochure directed at spouses and partners of new teachers to help combat stress: Teaching is Fundamental: Ideas for Friends and Spouses Supporting Teachers’ Early Career Challenges (PDF, 1.4MB).
This brochure aims to inform those close to teachers about what to expect during their loved one’s first year in the classroom, and how they can offer support and encouragement. The brochure includes strategies for recognizing signs of teacher stress, ideas to help reduce teacher stress, and insights into the particular times during the school year when stress is likely to increase. The project was conceived of and lead by Jeff Haugaard, PhD, (University of Albany) and Peter Sheras, PhD, (University of Virginia).
Partnered with Isaac Prilleltensky, PhD, (Div. 27) to create an online module directed at teachers to help them cope with the stress involved with their new position. The teacher stress module offers definitions, strategies and resources to help recognize, manage, and prevent stress.
- Conducting outreach-conference presentations.
- Serving as a sounding board for education issues at APA from various offices.
- Developing language for federal legislation.
- Generating multiple articles in the Monitor about coalition activities.
- Actively representing the coalition at the annual Educational Leadership Conference.
- Serving as advisors on various Center for Psychology in Schools and Education activities.
The coalition is working on several new projects based on different aspects of teacher support.
Coalition member Steven Pritzker, PhD, (Div. 10) along with James Kaufman, PhD, (CSU, Bernadino) and Ron Beghetto, PhD, (University of Oregon) are developing an online module addressing the use of creativity in the classroom. Through the use of interviews and online presentations, this module will give an overview of the use of creativity in a classroom context as well as supply teachers with strategies to use creativity every day to enhance academic outcomes. There will also be a section on additional resources.
Another primary project focuses on answering the question, "What is the core knowledge that a high quality science educator needs to know from psychology?" The answer will be generated in two forms — an article and a grant proposal to test the groups hypotheses.
Membership of the Coalition
The coalition currently includes representatives from several divisions and groups, including:
Update: December 2012 Coalition Meeting
From Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2012, coalition members convened at APA headquarters to discuss the status of several of the ongoing projects, as well as to establish new ones.
Read minutes from the December 2012 meeting (PDF, 500KB).
The next coalition meeting will take place from June 7-9, 2013.