Thoughts on the 2013- 2014 School Year

Thanks to Marilyn Herwig, NCSP, School Psychologist from Bethlehem, PA for allowing us to share her post to the NASP Communities :

Thoughts on the 2013- 2014 school year

My colleagues and I report for the first day of the 2013-2014 school year on Thursday. This is the first year in many that I worry about how the school year will progress. Significant cuts have been made to professional support staff and school services. Community services are in the same budgetary bind and there is a 9 month waiting list for individual counseling at some agencies.  Many students and families in my assigned district are hurting financially and relay on the school to provide services they could previously access in the community. How current staffing patterns will meet all the student needs is a major concern of school psychs and school counselors.  We are going to have to work harder and smarter to meet the needs and coordinate services better to stretch available dollars. I do believe I will learn and grow during this process.  Hopefully, the economy will improve and advocacy efforts to increase funding of community and school mental health services will succeed.

This may be a little unusual for this forum, but my musings on the upcoming year for school psychs using songs:

As the 2013- 2014 school year begins, school psychs are getting ready to go “On the Road Again” from school to school and problem to problem. Those in New York City may be able to actually “Take the A-Train” daily in their work.

Administrators and Congress expect school staff to accomplish the “Impossible Dream” of 100 % proficiency in reading and math this spring despite significant reductions in funding, community services, and school personnel.  Many also believe school psychs should be able to “Climb Every Mountain”, often with multiple test kits, laptop computer, and student files in hand.

Messages that your supervisor needs to see you, as soon as possible, may lead to thoughts of the impending doom “Theme from Jaws.” In spring, the “Flight of the Bumblebees” played at double speed, often reflects the pace psychs feel they need to achieve in order to actually complete everything within the required time line as everyone flits from problem situation to problem situation. Oh, to only work “9 to 5” instead of 7 to 3 and then 4 to 10 at home to get everything done correctly!

Ever feel like the “Itsy, Bitsy Spider”? You are moving along well, keeping up with all tasks, and then a natural disaster strikes, closing schools for a week as timelines march on. How many hours have you spent waiting for the parent and/or therapist of a child in crisis to “Call Me Maybe”, especially on a Friday afternoon?

Despite it all, more days are “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” than “Rainy Days and Mondays”.  Overall, “I Believe” I can make a difference in the lives of children and am truly “Thankful” to have a demanding, challenging career that stretches me to continue learning and growing professionally so we can all “Teach the Children Well”.

In tough times, remember to keep thinking, “I Will Survive”.  “What a Wonderful World” it would be if taxpayers and elected officials treated educators and support personnel with “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and truly valued what we do daily to help all of our students.

Have a wonderful year. We do make a difference!

Songs and writers:

On the Road Again – Willie Nelson

Take the A-Train  -Billy Strayhorm performed by Duke Ellington

Impossible Dream –  Mitch Leigh and Joe Darian

Climb Every Mountain – Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II

Theme from Jaws – John Williams

Flight of the Bumblebees –  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

9 to 5 – Florrie Palmer sung by Dolly Parton

Itsy, Bitsy Spider – Classic Nursery Rhyme with song attributed to Claus Norreen, Rene Dif, Soren Rasted

Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen, Joshua Keeler, Tavish Crowe sung by Carly Rae Jepsen

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning – Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II

Rainy Days and Mondays – Paul Williams and Roger Nichols sung by Karen Carpenter

I Believe – Yvan Cassar, Eric Levisalles sung by Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins

Thankful – Carole Bayer Sager, David Foster, Richard Page sung by Josh Groban

Teach the Children Well – David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

What a Wonderful World – George Weiss, George Douglas, and Bob Thiele sung by Louis Armstrong

R-E-S-P-E-C-T  – Otis Redding and Anquette Allen sung by Aretha Franklin


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