Box 113, Williamsport, PA 17701 Phone: 570-323-2050    Fax: 570-323-2051

President’s Message

By Dr. Frank M. Bruno, Executive Board President

“I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
These words of Albert Einstein, succinctly summarize NAPSA’s Vision: “All students will be provided appropriate supports, services and programs to overcome their barriers to learning.”
It does not take a genius to recognize that any education system is a mirror which reflects current society. People like to point a finger at school systems and rail at their failure to provide quality education. The problems we face as educators are not problems of education. They are the problems of society.

The practitioners of Pupil Services do not teach our pupils academic content. Our goal is to alleviate the societal problems that send our students to school indisposed to education. A student cannot concentrate on Algebra if he had no dinner or breakfast. A student cannot learn chemistry if she is worried that the family will lose their house, or there is no heat, or water. A student cannot care about history if there are problems of violence, drugs, alcohol, mental illness, or incarceration. A student cannot adequately study if required to hurry home to provide child care for younger children in the absence of the single parent of the family, or has already experienced involvement with the legal system as a victim or offender. Compound these problems with the in-school peer pressures of bullying, social status, gender identity, dating, social media and clothing and you have only scratched the surface of what our youth are experiencing today.

Federal and state governments are obsessed with accountability. They set performance standards which are admirable, and then inhibit our ability to attain them with a myriad of unfunded mandates which cause school systems to spread their meager funding so thin as to become ineffective.

The educator who decides to enter administration in general, or Pupil Services in particular, usually does so because of the desire to improve the system by increasing their sphere of influence. The teacher who can influence 5 classes of 30 each year becomes the principal whose decisions can influence 600 students at a time. The principal that becomes a central administrator can now influence the entire school system of thousands of students with each decision made. To provide the “appropriate supports, services and programs to overcome their barriers to learning,” requires the Pupil Services administrator to compile the latest data and research to effectively alleviate the problems faced by our students, and practice creativity and flexibility in offering such.

NAPSA is the only national association dedicated to this end. As important as overcoming the barriers to education is, in ensuring a quality education, the Pupil Services departments of most districts have the fewest administrators, while their areas of concern encompass the most varied aspects of school operations. Spanning counseling, nursing, registration, child accounting, truancy, discipline, transportation, homelessness, English language learners, students with mental and physical disabilities, home schooling, homebound instruction, emergency management, state and federal reporting and policy determination, a host of specialized experts would be hard pressed to provide appropriate services. Through NAPSA, we bring together all these experts within our membership ranks and in the nationally known experts we recruit for our conferences to support our members.

Please take the time to browse through our web site. NAPSA provides a national voice advocating for Pupil Services.
Our membership benefits are many, including in addition to the practical application areas, the security of professional liability insurance with legal representation, and the fellowship and personal network you will establish with professionals across the country who share your areas of responsibility. Welcome to NAPSA. We have a big job to do and we can each contribute to the enhancement of the profession and the outcomes for our students, who represent the future.
I began this message with a quote from a modern era great educator. I will end with a quote from an equally great educator from the past, whose prediction for education was uncanny.

“Someday, in the distant future, our grandchildren’s grandchildren will develop a new equivalent of our classrooms. They will spend many hours in front of boxes with fires glowing within. May they have the wisdom to know the difference between light and knowledge.” – Plato (circa 428 BC)