A Year of NASP Accomplishments
By Patti L. Harrison
A priority goal of your national association is to enhance capacity for member services and operational excellence. As NASP’s 2009–2010 year draws to a close, I am pleased to inform you of many accomplishments related to this goal. NASP has implemented comprehensive strategies that address complex issues during challenging times, reinforce our vision and infrastructure, and respond to needs of children. Hundreds of activities have been devoted to services and resources for members, effective organizational functions, and expansion of critical efforts in our mission of representing school psychology and supporting school psychologists to enhance children’s learning and mental health. Although space does not permit a list of all NASP activities, a few are summarized below.
Many NASP activities have focused on advocacy and collaboration to secure effective educational and mental health services for children and promote school psychologists’ essential roles in these services. In addition to developing advocacy roadmaps for use by school psychologists at the building, local, and state levels, NASP’s work has led to increasing recognition of school psychologists at the national level. For example, NASP has provided extensive recommendations and will continue to work closely with Congress and the U.S. Department of Education on the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and related bills. NASP’s participation has been requested for Congressional briefings and hearings on topics such as positive school climate, student wellness, and improved academic outcomes; prevention of bullying; and disaster recovery. The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed resolutions recognizing National School Psychology Week 2009 and the important contributions of school psychologists. Our national partnerships with organizations of school principals and administrators and other associations have continued to connect the services of school psychologists with school improvement efforts.
Additional NASP activities during 2009–2010 focused on our title, strong qualifications, and effective practice. Following a 3-year development period, the NASP 2010 Standards were approved by our Delegate Assembly. These major policy documents guide professional services, ethical behavior, graduate education, and credentialing of school psychologists and communicate with policy makers and stakeholders about who we are, what we do, and how we are credentialed. Our Delegate Assembly also approved a new NASP position statement on necessary use of the title “school psychologist.” During APA’s 3-year revision period for its Model Act for State Licensure of Psychologists, NASP advocated for retention of the school psychologist exemption. The positive outcome is APA’s adoption of a 2010 model act that continues to recognize the authority of state education agencies to credential and title school psychologists.
Our activities included preparation of outstanding resources and continuing professional development opportunities and expansion of school psychology’s knowledge base. Our latest books (e.g., Interventions for Achievement and Behavior Problems in a Three-Tier Model Including RTI, Pediatric Disorders series, Tier 3 of the RTI Model: Problem Solving through a Case Study Approach) and periodicals (Communiqué, School Psychology Review, School Psychology Forum) are premier tools for research-based practice of school psychologists and other professionals. Our comprehensive online library of documents, podcasts, and other materials assists school psychologists in their work and also provides resources targeted for parents, educators, and other professionals. The NASP 2010 Annual Convention in Chicago was the second largest in our history with more than 6,000 attendees and 1,100 sessions, and the NASP convention website continues your access to videos of keynote addresses, handouts, and audio packages. NASP Summer Conferences held in Washington, DC and Albuquerque, NM in 2009 and scheduled in Denver, CO and Nashville, TN in 2010 add to professional development opportunities. All NASP resources focus on understanding diversity of children and families and enhancing multicultural competence of school psychologists and other professionals.
NASP’s effective initiatives rely on dedicated and capable Delegate Assembly and Executive Council members, workgroup leaders, and national office staff, as well as on strong partnerships with state school psychology associations, stakeholders, policy makers, and other professional organizations. Most of all, our many accomplishments can be attributed to the commitment and expertise of you, our more than 26,000 NASP members (our highest membership ever!). Thank you, NASP members, for your contributions to NASP, school psychology, and important services for children. You can take pride in what you and your National Association of School Psychologists have achieved over the past year and can be confident that, together, we will continue our great work into the future.
Patti L. Harrison, PhD, NCSP, is a faculty member in the University of Alabama’s school psychology program and an Alabama certified school psychologist.