SMART Public Act

Student Mental Health Apprenticeship Program

for Retention and Training

View a webinar about the SMART initiative

The Student Mental Health Apprenticeship Program for Retention and Training (SMART) was created to provide financial support to encourage more people to enter school based mental health professions (School Psychology, School Counseling, and School Social Work).  The SMART Program provides paid work experiences and practicum opportunities for School Psychology graduate students.  The SMART Bill passed in the Michigan Senate (37-0) and in the Michigan House (93-12).  Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed it into law on July 25, 2022, and it is now a public act.  As we continue to proceed with the SMART Public Act, MASP would like to provide additional information regarding this legislation with respect to school psychology graduate students.  

What is the SMART Apprenticeship Program? 

  • The SMART bill/state-funded “Grow Your Own” program provides paid work experiences and practicum opportunities for School Psychology graduate students to attract more people to the field

  • The State of Michigan funds student “Grow Your Own” program at each district/ISD

    • Each school psychology graduate student earns $25/hour for 20 hours a week for 30 weeks, which is equivalent to $15,000 per year

    • School Psychology graduate students from Michigan and other states can participate in the program. Students must complete “Grow Your Own” work experiences in districts/ISDs in Michigan, but can be enrolled in training programs in other states.  

    • School districts and ISDs pay students who participate in the SMART program by utilizing 31aa funds

What are typical roles for SMART Apprenticeship/”Grow Your Own” school psychology students? 

  • 1st year graduate students in school psychology: Under supervision by a school staff member/School Psychologist - Conduct observations, conduct file reviews, serve as paraprofessional in the classroom, assist with secretarial roles that are related to one’s future career as a school psychologist (set up IEPs, METs, and send out/ collect paperwork), work as a substitute teacher

  • 2nd year graduate students in school psychology: Student completes requirements of practicum, as well as additional tasks under the close supervision of a certified school psychologist - achievement testing, MTSS coach, implementing PBIS programs, consultation, file reviews, observations of students, teacher interviews,  parent interviews, scheduling and coordinating meetings

What are the advantages of the SMART Bill for Districts/ISDs?

  • Invest in school psychology workforce now and in the future

  • Address current critical shortage of school psychologists and resulting unfilled positions   

  • Build mental health capacity across school districts/ISDs in Michigan

  • Support current school psychologists and prevent burnout

  • Novel solution for immediate and long term shortage in department: students complete routine tasks and free up psychologists for more complex or sensitive work 

How can I establish a SMART/ “Grow Your Own” school psychology position? 

  • Contact a School Psychology program director in Michigan to gather information and connect with students who are interested in participating in the program.  

What School Psychology programs are in Michigan and neighboring states? Who are the program directors? 

Andrews University-In Person Program 

Renette Portecop-Prentice

Central Michigan University-In Person Program

Dr. Daniel Drevon 

Grand Valley State University-In Person Program

Dr. Kristen Schrauben

Michigan State University University-Hybrid Online Program

Dr. Jana Aupperlee

University of Detroit Mercy-In Person Program

Dr. Erin Henze 

University of Toledo-In Person Program

Dr. Jennifer Reynolds

For a condensed SMART infographic, click here.

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