We Are NASISP!
The National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP) represents over a million Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) nationwide. SISP are professionals who provide and support school-based prevention and intervention services to address barriers to educational success, ensure positive conditions for learning, and help all students achieve academically and ultimately become productive citizens. SISP work with teachers, administrators, and parents to ensure that all students are successful in school. Our coalition seeks to empower our members and all SISP professionals by encouraging multidisciplinary collaboration, and affirming their role in education’s best practices and their involvement in school improvement efforts.
The key areas of our Coalition’s focus and advocacy are:
- Reducing barriers in learning
- Ensuring qualified professionals
- Student health and well-being
- Effective collaboration
- Success and empowerment
- SISP Best practices
Who are Specialized Instructional Support Personnel?
Specialized instructional support personnel (SISPs) encompass a large number of personnel categories with a broad set of responsibilities in schools. The disciplines included are as follows: school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and school social workers; occupational therapists, physical therapists, art therapists, dance/movement therapists, and music therapists; speech-language pathologists and audiologists.
Here is a full list, including links to the websites, of the NASISP organizations that represent specialized instructional support personnel and our allied education and parent organizations.
How did the term “Pupil Services Personnel” change to “Specialized Instructional Support Personnel?”
Specialized instructional support personnel are known as “pupil services personnel” in federal education statute, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). These same professionals are known as “related services personnel” in federal special education statute, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The exact citations in law are provided here.
Even though they are exactly the same professionals, this difference in terminology continues to cause confusion for school districts. Establishing one common statutory term eases this confusion and more accurately reflects the nature and purpose of the services that these professionals provide to students in schools.
The term Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) emphasizes that these professionals are specially trained and provide highly specialized services, that the services and interventions they provide support students and teachers, promote better learning outcomes, and facilitate improved instruction.
The History of NASISP
Formerly, known as the National Alliance of Pupil Services Organizations (NAPSO), the coalition changed its name in 2012 to the National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP) to correspond with the revised terminology being advanced in federal education statute and more clearly encompass the range of services provided.
The original NAPSO coalition came into existence during the early 1980s. Implementation of the 1975 Education for all Handicapped Children law required school districts to provide the related services and therapies needed to help students with disabilities succeed in school. As many of these services had been similarly designated as pupil services under ESEA, the providers of these related services came to recognize that they also played a unique and critical role in the education of all children. NAPSO was conceived to support and advocate for this important group of professionals as part of a multidisciplinary education team. This includes advocacy for the students and families who deserve and can benefit from specialized instructional support services. With the transition from NAPSO to NASISP the full breadth of services provided by NAPSISP member organizations can be recognized in law, policy and practice.