High school psychology is the most important class a student will ever take for the content and skills it covers and because each year it teaches one million students how to lead healthy lives, says Randy Ernst, EdD, a founding member of APA's Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) and an assistant professor of education at Nebraska Wesleyan University. "You won't find another course that comes close to addressing the range of vitally important issues addressed in a typical high school psychology classroom," he says, including resilience, development, neuro-science, memory and much more.

To strengthen these courses nationwide, a group of psychology educators from high schools, community colleges and undergraduate programs have developed a cache of teaching and professional development resources that will be available on the TOPSS website throughout 2018. The goal is to create the best future for high school psychology education by providing more resources, action plans and other materials for teachers. The resources will include:

  • Lab templates. Sample lab experiences will cover 14 subspecialty areas, including social psychology, cognition, perception and research methods.
  • Guidance on assessment. "A Teacher's Guide to Assessment" and "Best Practices for Assessing Pedagogy" will show how best to assess students' knowledge.
  • Sample lesson plans that "help students flourish." These modules will guide teaching on such topics as stress management, integrity and resilience to help students understand how psychological research can improve their lives.
  • A starter course. The course will offer assignments and activities to help new and veteran teachers design classes that align with APA's National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula.
  • Networking tools. APA will publish tips on how teachers can organize locally and host regional conferences to share best practices on teaching.
  • A diversity self-reflection tool. This will offer guidance on how teachers can make their classroom an inclusive and diverse space.

The group also drafted a report that explains why high schools should recognize psychology for science credit, which TOPSS plans to publish and disseminate early this year.

Read about the APA Summit on High School Psychology Education at www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/high-school-summit.aspx.

Deliverables from the APA Summit on High School Psychology Education will be released throughout 2018. Please visit the TOPSS website regularly for new resources for teachers. Contact topss@apa.org with questions.