Advocacy, Action Plans Lead to Success: State Association/ASHA Partnerships Focus on Personnel Standards and Strategies To address threats to personnel standards and alleviate personnel shortages, ASHA’s Schools Personnel Resource Team (SPIRIT) has partnered with seven states targeted under the 2006 Focused Initiatives on Personnel Issues in Healthcare and Education—Arizona, Idaho, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. In partnership with SPIRIT, these states have established ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   September 01, 2006
Advocacy, Action Plans Lead to Success: State Association/ASHA Partnerships Focus on Personnel Standards and Strategies
Author Notes
  • Janet Deppe, is the director of state special initiatives at ASHA. Contact her by phone at 800-498-2071, ext. 4447, or by e-mail at jdeppe@asha.org.
    Janet Deppe, is the director of state special initiatives at ASHA. Contact her by phone at 800-498-2071, ext. 4447, or by e-mail at jdeppe@asha.org.×
  • Susan Karr, is ASHA’s director of state education practices. Contact her by e-mail at skarr@asha.org.
    Susan Karr, is ASHA’s director of state education practices. Contact her by e-mail at skarr@asha.org.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   September 01, 2006
Advocacy, Action Plans Lead to Success: State Association/ASHA Partnerships Focus on Personnel Standards and Strategies
The ASHA Leader, September 2006, Vol. 11, 3-37. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.11132006.3
The ASHA Leader, September 2006, Vol. 11, 3-37. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.11132006.3
To address threats to personnel standards and alleviate personnel shortages, ASHA’s Schools Personnel Resource Team (SPIRIT) has partnered with seven states targeted under the 2006 Focused Initiatives on Personnel Issues in Healthcare and Education—Arizona, Idaho, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
In partnership with SPIRIT, these states have established comprehensive state action plans, advocacy committees, legislative or regulatory goals, and recruitment and retention strategies designed to alleviate persistent vacancies. The efforts of two of the states are highlighted below.
Arizona
One priority of the Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ArSHA) advocacy committee was to clearly define categories of practice for school-based speech-language pathologists in the state. ArSHA’s knowledge of speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) practicing without regulation provided the impetus for legislative efforts to regulate their practice. The state licensure board with assistance from the state Department of Education (DOE) and ArSHA, introduced a bill during the 2006 legislative session that requires SLPAs to complete an approved training program of no less than 60 hours and accrue a minimum of 100 clinical practicum hours under the supervision of a licensed SLP. The bill (S.B. 1379) delineates the scope of practice for SLPAs, based on ASHA guidelines. During a stakeholders meeting, ArSHA and the licensure board pressed the DOE to adopt the guidelines under S.B. 1379 for SLPAs practicing in the schools. ArSHA’s role in developing consensus was a significant victory leading to the signing of S.B. 1379.
As part of ArSHA’s effort to further define SLP practice, the committee met in 2005 with stakeholders and decision-makers at the DOE to address SLP certification requirements. The committee developed recommendations for changes to state certification for SLPs, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2007.
“These changes streamlined the process for master’s-level SLPs to receive certification in Arizona,” said Amy Heck, ArSHA past president. New applicants with master’s degrees will no longer have to complete certain courses. “The new certification also has been placed under a professional category instead of a teacher category, allowing district SLPs to work on establishing separate professional salary schedules,” Heck said.
Idaho
Idaho has developed a multi-level state plan to maintain the master’s degree standard in the state. The plan includes: collecting statewide personnel shortage data and data on recruitment efforts; meeting with decision-makers in the state to build support and explore strategies to address personnel shortages; and developing a recruitment campaign to actively market the professions to high school, undergraduate and graduate students using ASHA’s new “Reward Yourself With a Career as a School-Based SLP” brochure (see sidebar on page 37) and a state-developed PowerPoint presentation. Idaho was awarded an ASHA grant and will use the funds to hire a lobbyist and pursue legislative options, including a salary supplement, a loan forgiveness bill, and funds to increase the capacity of university programs in the state.
“Our committee began meeting with our lobbyist and is currently in the process of developing a plan of action with regard to legislation,” said Erica Hubbard, chair of the Idaho Speech, Language, Hearing Association Maintenance of Standards Committee.
Advancing State Agendas
Other targeted states continue to make progress in advancing issues of concern to school-based clinicians, from regulating SLPAs to maintaining standards to promoting professional practice in schools.
  • *New Hampshire—passed H.B. 252 regulating the practice of SLPAs. Unfortunately, the DOE would not accept supervisory guidelines requiring a licensed SLP to supervise SLPAs, so the legislation only regulates SLPAs in health care settings. In addition, the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association has been asked to work with the DOE to review the rules for SLP practice.

  • Tennessee—convened a statewide task force to work with the Tennessee Board of Education on establishing standards and job responsibilities that meet ASHA’s SLPA supervision requirements for the support personnel-level categories established in the state. Tennessee also has received an ASHA state grant to provide training on its new professional school service provider personnel standards, which require the master’s level degree from a graduate program approved by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. As part of the grant, Tennessee also will develop recruitment and retention strategies and techniques for accessing available resources to assist employees in meeting the new requirements for SLPs.

  • Texas—received an ASHA grant and is working on finalizing statewide eligibility criteria as well as developing tools to market the professions, including public service announcements, a statewide recruitment “hotline,” and presentations for other stakeholder groups. The committee also has met with stakeholders and decision-makers to discuss solutions to personnel shortages in school settings.

  • Virginia—awaits the DOE’s proposed rules for SLPAs. The advocacy committee has reviewed and submitted comments to the DOE regarding the draft rules and stands ready to testify before the Virginia Board of Education once the final rules are released. Beginning in the 2006–2007 school year, SLPs with master’s degrees who accept full- or part-time positions with Virginia public schools will be eligible for a one-time bonus of $1,000 for full-time employees and $700 for part-time employees. This initiative is directed at new graduates, SLPs who relocate to Virginia, and those from other settings.

  • Utah—the seventh state to partner with ASHA’s SPIRIT, the Utah Speech-Language-Hearing Association (USHA) prepared testimony for a September DOE meeting in which the DOE proposed to reduce the standard of practice for SLPs in schools from a master’s to a bachelor’s degree. USHA conducted a survey on personnel needs and planned to have representation at the meeting from academic programs, practicing SLPs, supervisors, school board members, and parents.

*Correction: In the above article, information related to New Hampshire was incorrect. Certified speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) are regulated by the Board of Allied Health and are permitted to practice in health settings only. The New Hampshire Speech-Language-Hearing Association has been working with the Department of Education to review the rules of speech-language pathology practice in school settings.
Resources on Personnel Issues

ASHA’s Schools Personnel Resource Team (SPIRIT) has developed several tools for members across the country to use in dealing with personnel issues:

  • “Reward Yourself With a Career as a School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist”: This new brochure was developed for members, administrators, and hiring officials to help entice high school students, college graduates, and career SLPs to choose school-based practice. It explains how SLPs work in schools, the requirements for school practice, and the top 10 reasons for choosing a career in schools. State associations may order up to 300 copies free of charge and individual members may obtain up to 25 copies by calling ASHA’s Action Center at 800-498-2071 and requesting item #0804366. Visit ASHA’s Legislation & Advocacy Web page for a link to the brochure, which is available as a PDF document.

  • Recruitment and Retention Professional Consultation Packet: Revised and updated for 2006, this packet includes data, reports, successful models, and resources to recruit and retain qualified SLPs in school settings. Visit Personnel Issues in Education: Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Speech-Language Pathologists in the Public Schools to access the packet.

  • Innovative Programs to Address Personnel Shortage Issues: To assist members with the recruitment and retention of qualified professionals, ASHA sent an e-mail to members requesting information on innovative programs and activities to address shortages in education and health care settings. From the responses, a table was developed to assist members in developing models and advocating for the maintenance of professional standards using creative ways to deal with personnel shortages. Visit ASHA’s State-by-State for a link to the table, which is available as a PDF document.

  • ASHA/State Grants: ASHA was once again offered state grants this year to recognize state associations that have developed plans to address personnel issues, including the maintenance of standards and personnel shortages. Seven states were awarded grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.

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September 2006
Volume 11, Issue 13