Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) celebrates 15 years of representing and supporting high school psychology teachers this year. Since 1992, TOPSS has worked to provide a visible, national voice for teachers of psychology in APA and the education community. High school teachers have been affiliates of APA since the 1970s, but the 1992 formation of the TOPSS Committee also created a role for high school teachers in APA governance.
The group also has a new social psychology lesson plan in the pipeline. At the same time, TOPSS will continue its mission of promoting high school psychology as a science, providing course materials andrecognizing excellent high school psychology teachers and students, says TOPSS Chair Laura Brandt, a psychology teacher at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill.
"In the 15 years that TOPSS has been a part of the APA it has come to be the main source of professional development for high school teachers of psychology," says Brandt.
There are approximately 2,000 APA high school teacher affiliates, and through them, TOPSS reaches many of the 360,000-500,000 high school students who take high school psychology courses each year. In addition to lesson plans and teaching materials, TOPSS offers professional development opportunities, a speakers' bureau, a quarterly newsletter, National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula, and programs for high school psychology teachers and students. This summer TOPSS also will hold a weeklong teaching institute on biopsychology for high school psychology teachers at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Looking to the future, Brandt says TOPSS plans to continue reaching out to all high school psychology teachers. The group also aims to facilitate communication between two- and four-year colleges and universities.