Higher Education

Higher Education and Training


Higher Education Reauthorization

The National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP) will submit recommendations for the Higher Education Act reauthorization to ensure the accessibility, affordability, and effectiveness of post-secondary study, including graduate study and encourage recruiting and retaining qualified specialized instructional support personnel.

Specialized Instructional Support Personnel

Defined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (include correct ref.), the professions classified as specialized instructional support personnel (SISP) includes all the providers of related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, Sec. 602, paragraph 22). SISP provide many professional services in our schools. These important services include providing a variety of prevention and intervention services that promote effective classroom learning and teaching and collaborating with teachers and school staff to ensure that students receive high quality instruction that is responsive to the diverse and developmental needs of all students.

  • Improving Student Learning Outcomes by Addressing Shortages and Enhancing Collaboration:
    Recruiting and Retaining Qualified Personnel: NASISP strongly believes that programs that support the SISP professions should be included in the Higher Education Act to address recruitment and retention of SISP.  NASISP seeks to inform federal policymakers about the need to ensure that all schools are able to have an adequate support of SISPS to foster educational opportunity and achievement.  NASISP supports maintaining a title in HEA dedicated to teacher quality and recommends supporting a role for the collaboration with SISP in the preservice training program.NASISP recommends including the ESSA definition of SISP in Title II and expanding opportunities for interdisciplinary professional collaboration.NASISP believes that SISP are critical to assisting teachers with the many difficult challenges they face in today’s classrooms. We cannot expect teachers to possess all the skills and qualifications of SISP, who are specifically trained to address [challenges that student’s face and that impact their ability to thrive academically. Unfortunately, there is a chronic and severe nationwide shortage of qualified SISP and often a lack of understanding of how teachers, school leaders and SISP can collaborate effectively to improve student learning outcomes.
  • Mentoring Programs:
    SISP also should be utilized in mentoring programs for teachers and administrators that are aimed at increasing staff retention rates. Teachers who understand that there are specially trained individuals available to help them meet classroom challenges will feel more supported and thus more likely to stay in the profession.
  • Student Financial Aid and Loan Repayment:
    Programs that provide student financial assistance for students with financial need, educators, including specialized instructional support personnel, or forgiveness options for borrowers dedicating their careers to public service should be a priority.  Programs, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). are vital to addressing the shortages that exist among education professions. This program is a benefit to districts in recruitment and retention of SISP, especially in the most challenging school districts. Most importantly, PSLF will help to ensure that elementary and secondary students have access to services from highly qualified personnel who are on the front lines of helping students with a variety of needs to achieve academically.   NASISP strongly supports the preservation and expansion of the tuition assistance programs, including the PSLF program.