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President's Message

Promoting Competence, Creating Capacity, Expanding Opportunities

By Patti L. Harrison

Welcome all NASP members to our 2009–2010 year! NASP's mission of representing school psychology and supporting school psychologists to enhance children's learning and mental health will be very apparent throughout the year. Children, as well as their families and schools, are experiencing significant, diverse pressures and a corresponding need for school psychologists' services. NASP will maintain its prominence in responding to children's needs and advocating for effective policy and practices to address these needs. At the same time, threats related to the economic environment, job security, credentialing of school psychologists, and other issues require our sustained attention. NASP will devote strategic, coordinated efforts to address these complex issues.

Fortunately, our many strengths and resources allow us to respond effectively and advance our important work for children. NASP's 5-year strategic plan and an infrastructure of dedicated, knowledgeable Delegate Assembly and Executive Council members, workgroup leaders, national office staff, and over 25,000 NASP members result in a comprehensive foundation. Collaboration with state school psychology associations, stakeholders, policy makers, and other professional organizations extends our capacity.

Each year, NASP leaders and staffanalyze needs and identify priority initiatives for the coming year. For 2009–2010, the presidential theme of "Promoting Competence, Creating Capacity, Expanding Opportunities" for children, families, schools, and school psychologists and the following seven broad priority initiatives encompass hundreds of planned activities:

1. Equip school psychologists to protect and promote practice and title. NASP has an essential voice at the national level and provides resources and assistance at state and local levels to ensure title and practice of school psychologists and access to our services. NASP resources include advocacy tools related to the impact on states of proposed revisions to APA's model licensure act, clear positions in the 2010 NASP standards revisions, and a comprehensive public awareness campaign.

2. Support school psychologists' efforts with regard to changing roles and services within schools. NASP efforts will continue to ensure that school psychologists are essential and valued personnel within schools in an age of school budget cuts, family financial crises, three-tiered service delivery, and expanded provision of school mental health services. NASP's coordinated activities will be critical at the national level as well, given the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization and a new U.S. Department of Education.

3. Develop the research base that demonstrates scope, capacity, and contributions of school psychology. Research to support school psychologists and our services is used repeatedly in different forums, including advocacy, communications, graduate preparation, and personnel shortages. For example, NASP provides data related to state credentialing practices, demographic characteristics of school psychologists, and impacts of school psychological services on outcomes for children.

4. Expand availability of quality continuing professional development (CPD) that is affordable and accessible. NASP provides many CPD activities through its books, periodicals, online resources, annual convention, PREPaRE, Approved CPD Provider Program, etc. NASP sponsors annual summer conferences, which were held in Washington, DC and Albuquerque, NM in 2009, and will continue to enhance CPD modules, online events, and podcasts.

5. Increase cultural competence and cultural and linguistic diversity of school psychology. Our association will continue its leadership in promoting cultural competence and recruiting culturally and linguistically diverse school psychologists. Examples of NASP activities include a comprehensive multiyear campaign to recruit diverse individuals as practitioners and university faculty members, our Minority Scholarship Program, and publications and resources that focus on cultural competence.

6. Increase our capacity to prepare the next generation of competent school psychologists. Our NASP Student Development Workgroup and Program Approval Board ensure numerous opportunities for graduate students to acquire high-quality graduate preparation and strong affiliations with school psychology. Our new Graduate Education and Early Career workgroups will promote resources for graduate students, early career school psychologists, and faculty members.

7. Continue to enhance our capacity for member services and operational excellence. Services and resources for members and effective organizational functioning continue to be major priorities for 2009–2010. NASP is engaging in careful planning during these economic times, and members can be assured that NASP will maintain our important member services and necessary, critical activities to achieve our mission and be responsive to the needs of children, families, schools, and school psychologists.

Patti L. Harrison, PhD, NCSP, is a faculty member in the University of Alabama's school psychology program and an Alabama certified school psychologist.