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2009 NASP Public Policy Institute - General Sessions

Session 1:

Title: "Collaborative School Improvement Planning: School Psychologists and School Administrators Working Together for Effective Change."

Presenter: Rich Barbacane, MS, Past President and Professional Associate for the National Association of Elementary School Principals

Session Description: Across the country, school psychologists are actively involved in the implementation of RTI, early intervening services, crisis prevention, and direct intervention services--all of which are integral to school improvement initiatives. This session will explore a conceptual model for school improvement that integrates these and other essential services and student supports and invites collaboration between school administrators and school psychologists in the planning process. The session will include a panel discussion with school leaders on how they feel school psychologists could be a more valuable resource in this process. Information will also be presented on how interested participants can be supported in moving towards this model through future involvement in a community of practice.

Session 2:

Title: Advancing School-wide Positive Behavior Supports in Policy and Practice." Presenter: George Sugai, PhD, Carole J. Neag Endowed Professor in Special Education in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut; Co-Director of the Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Session Description: School-wide Positive Behavior Supports (SWPBS, also referenced as PBIS) provides a framework or approach for establishing a continuum of evidence based behavioral interventions for all students. This general session will highlight the practical steps and policies needed to advance SWPBS at the local and state educational agency level. Specific examples of how SWPBS has been integrated into school systems and the realized positive outcomes for elementary and secondary students will be reviewed. Discussion of how PBIS naturally fits with the Response to Intervention process will also be discussed. Specific policy, practice, and advocacy recommendations for school psychologists will be offered.

Session 3:

Presenter: Karen Reivich, PhD, Co-Director of the Penn Resiliency Project, Research Associate, Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania

Title: Advancing Positive Psychology through School, Community, and Corporate Partnerships.

Session Description: This session will demonstrate how the development and promotion of evidenced based interventions can lead to partnerships that advance beneficial programs and practices for students. Dr. Reivich’s work focuses on helping parents and educators to promote well-being in children and adolescents. She is one of the lead authors of the Penn Resiliency Program Curriculum, an evidenced based group intervention for elementary and middle school students that teaches cognitive-behavioral and social problem-solving skills and how to apply them in their daily lives. Through her positive psychology work with students and parents, Dr. Reivich was hired by the Pepperidge Farm corporation to develop the Fishful Thinking program. Through the Fishful Thinking program, Goldfish provides parents with tools to help teach their kids how to navigate obstacles, overcome failure and achieve what they want. In 2008, NASP joined this partnership as a way of promoting optimism and resiliency in children and youth. This session will present an overview of the Penn Resiliency Program Curriculum, the Fishful Thinking program including NASP’s involvement, and how school psychologists can be involved in advancing positive psychology programs in schools.

Session 4:

Title: Student Achievement and the Role of the School Psychologist: Advocating For Change That Matters

Presenter: Kevin Dwyer, MA, NCSP, Former NASP President, Consultant, and Associate for the American Institutes for Research

Description: Changing school systems to produce better outcomes for students requires careful, consistent and creative efforts using extensive targeted human resources. During this session, Mr. Dwyer will discuss his findings and experiences in providing school psychological and consulting services in urban and suburban school reform efforts. Focusing on the conditions for learning, Dwyer will outline what has and has not worked in these efforts and present the general lessons learned in moving from what is in the books to what is in the classroom. He will engage the audience in solving practical problems such as: Why is successfully educating children of poverty & children of color an issue? Why do teachers hate problem solving teams? How can schools find solutions that people will do? How do schools get beyond vision statements to leaders supporting best practices? This session promises to challenge commonly held beliefs and practices while inspiring you to achieve new levels of professional performance.