Category Archives: Schools


All Schools Section Members,

We have an opportunity to make our voices be heard as CTRSs in the school systems.  The new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVoss, is requesting feedback regarding a new IDEA website.  See the link below to participate:

The government is seeking feedback on the IDEA’s new website. Please see:

They are interested in having the following questions answered (I have provided sample answers to help generate ideas of how you may want to respond):

1. What are the resources you use most often at

  • As a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and a related service provider for individuals with special needs with IEPs, I use to find current information to support Therapeutic Recreation services being offered in school systems.  I most often encourage other educators, families, and students to search the related services sections of the IDEA legislation to discover that Therapeutic Recreation is a related service to which all students with special needs are entitled.

2. What additional information and/or functionality would you like to see included in the new IDEA site?

  • I would like to see a greater highlight, and as a result, advocacy for all the possible related services legally available to students with special needs in the school systems, especially Therapeutic Recreation as a related service.

3. Your title or role/designation (such as student, parent, educator, advocate, counselor, etc.), to help us gain a better understanding of who uses

  • Role:  IEP Related Service Provider, Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), Recreational Therapist

Please take this opportunity to advocate for the supportive legislation and marketing of our profession’s role in the schools!

Thank you ☺

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Heidi Hunter or Tom House at

Schools Section Survey


All Schools Section Members,

We need your input!  Please participate in the following Survey Monkey survey.  As mentioned in our last blog post, the survey focuses on top modalities of practice in the school setting, and determining dates/times for an Open Mic Night.

Please fill out the survey at the following link:

It will only take a few minutes!

Thank you ☺

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Heidi Hunter or Tom House at

International Recreational Therapy Month and Call for Papers


Many of us continue to work hard at providing services to our students and schools that we work for.  It is the spring semester and it’s almost Valentine’s Day!  Let me share with you some updated information regarding the ATRA Schools Section.

  • Fellow Recreation Therapists, February is International RT month.  So, let’s all celebrate the great opportunities we have as Recreation Therapists.  If you have any special ways you are celebrating RT month, please share with the rest of us.
  • The Annual Conference is right around the corner in Orlando, Florida.  The call for papers deadline is fast approaching.  February 20th is the deadline!  We have had great representation at our last couple conferences, and want to continue that trend.  So many of you have incredible experiences and information to share.  Please take this opportunity to present a presentation proposal and help support the growth of RT in the schools.  We Need You!
  • ATRA is encouraging students to visit the ATRA Student Facebook page.  It’s a great way to connect, network and gain resources.  Here’s the link:
  • We want you to be on the lookout for a Schools Section Survey from Survey Monkey.  The focus is on identifying top modalities of practice in you setting and proposals for dates/times of an upcoming Open Mic Night (this is opportunity to share ideas and resources we all use).  It will only take a few minutes to fill out.

So, join in these opportunities to share and make a difference!  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Heidi Hunter or Tom House at

Call for Webinars on Evidence Based Practices in the Schools


Hey team,

We are looking for volunteers to share what you have been doing in the schools.  The ATRA webinar series is a great way to do this and to get CEUs!  Last summer, we had our first webinar series for RT in the Schools, and it was a huge success.  This summer we want to focus on the evidence-based practices we are successfully using with students in the school systems (i.e. experiential education, adventure-based programming, horticulture therapy, social skills training, anti-bullying, behavior modification, etc.).

The deadline to submit proposals is the end of this month.  Here is the link:  Link to the Call for Papers.  Deadline for submissions for the Call for Webinars is Monday October 31, 2016. Webinars will be scheduled throughout 2017. Please contact Pam Fleck, ATRA Academy Coordinator with any questions. We look forward to your submissions!

Again, this is a great opportunity to get involved and help RT in the Schools grow.  Thank you for your participation and support!


Please share on our ATRA blog, or contact Heidi Hunter ( or Tom House ( with any suggestions!

Best Conferences to Market RT in the Schools

Hey all,

I received a message from NCTRC regarding conferences that would be best to attend for the marketing of CTRSs in school systems.  I am reaching out to all of you for help with this.  Please share any conferences that you know of that would be beneficial for those of us in the schools to attend and market our profession.  Obviously it would be ideal if we can find a national level conference so that we may be able to reach out to a larger audience.

NCTRC is planning on sending at least one representative to a conference to advocate and market CTRSs in the schools.  This is a great opportunity to get ourselves out there and advertise the benefits of RT in the schools.

Please share on our ATRA blog, or contact Heidi Hunter ( or Tom House ( with any suggestions!

ATRA Annual Conference Review

Now that ATRA’s annual conference is in our rearview mirror, it’s time to move forward with work on the goals that we have for RT in the schools this year.  In the schools, we may still be few in number, but we are by far the setting of greatest interest and potential growth.  I also know that each of us that are already in the schools treasure and value the special opportunity we have, and tend to be very passionate about keeping our positions in the schools.  With that said, we continue to encourage all of you to be inspired to volunteer and help out with the continuing development of RT in the schools across our country.

With regard to our section leadership, we are in need of the following:

1. Section Chair/Co-Chair (more information included in the conference ppt presentation)

2. Public Policy Leader/Committee (help with the communication between our section and the ATRA public policy team)—Kristen Fedesco has volunteered for this (Thank you Kristen!), but additional help is welcome

3. Research Committee Leader/Committee (help with the communication between our section and the ATRA research committee)

Please contact Heidi Hunter ( or Tom House ( if interested in helping out!

February’s Leadership Thought

Any great and inspiring leader or organization that ever existed set out to do something completely unrealistic. ATRA’s mission is to “Empower Recreational Therapists” and our vision is “A world where every person has access to Recreational Therapy”.  What do you think?  Are those unrealistic goals?  Are those idealistic dreams that we will never accomplish?  Continue reading February’s Leadership Thought