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Skip Navigation LinksNASP Home Publications Communiqué Volume 39, Issue 1 The City By the Bay

The City by the Bay: NASP in San Francisco

By Cari Tom, Kathrina Firme, Jennifer Steinback, & Gina Sunie-Lopez

Are you looking for breathtaking views atop panoramic hills? Perhaps a little cooling, mystic fog rolling in over one of the world’s most spectacular suspension bridges? Maybe you are looking to hop on board one of the famous cable cars to catch views of the quaint Victorian houses on America’s “crookedest” street? Possibly the thousands of shopping destinations and unforgettable dining experiences with world-class cuisine for every taste and budget are what you are looking for? Look no further! The NASP 2011 Annual Convention, held February 22–25 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, is the place for you! It Takes a Village

This year’s convention theme, “Positive Relationships—School Success,” expresses the importance of how we as practioners interact with children, parents, school personnel, people in the community, and our peers; and how these relationships shape our common goal to help develop educationally, socially, and emotionally successful citizens.

It is also the perfect theme for a NASP convention because so much of what we do at the convention is to strengthen our relationships with fellow school psychologists. In doing so, we not only buoy our personal and professional capacity, we strengthen our school psychology “village.” This professional village has proven so important over the past four-plus decades, helping to shape a professional identity, supporting our professional development, and advancing best practices and quality services for children, families, and schools. In this past year alone, our village resulted in revision of the NASP Standards, development of a new NASP Practice Model, and the preservation of our title and role in the APA Model Act for the Licensure of Psychologists.

The annual NASP convention is, indeed, a terrific venue for the village. It is the world’s largest and most important gathering of school psychologists, with more than 5,000 practitioners, trainers, researchers, and students in attendance.This year, the convention will take place in style in the beautiful and dynamic city of San Francisco; and what better, more inspiring place to expand your relationships? Surrounded by water on three sides, the city charms its visitors with its scenic beauty and diverse cultural attractions. The more than 100 neighborhoods of San Francisco are as diverse as they are fascinating. Here is just a taste of what San Francisco’s neighborhoods have to offer.

Fisherman’s Wharf/Ghirardelli Square. Possibly one of San Francisco’s most visited attractions, the Wharf is at the heart of the city’s fishing industry. Small stalls house large pots of boiling water where fishermen cook the latest catch. Whether you are watching fresh bread soar over head at Boudin Bakery Museum, climbing aboard the Jeremiah O’Brien at Pier 45, or visiting the hundreds of sea lions who bask in the sun at Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf offers fun for everyone.

Union Square. Just a few blocks outside the convention hotel is the third largest shopping area in the United States. But WAIT! There is so much more to Union Square than shopping. When the sprawling downtown was just a mere residential area lined with Victorian mansions, the official square was originally envisioned as a public green space for busy citizens to relax. Since 1898 the square has been home to the Victoria Monument. Today the square is lined on all sides with historic grand hotels, art galleries, boutiques, and landmark grand department stores. Union Square also is where you can catch a ride on one of San Francisco’s moving landmarks, the cable car. The Powell Street cable car turntable is located at Powell and Market. It offers 2 lines (Powell/Hyde and Powell/Mason— take the Powell/Hyde for the best views of the hills) that take you over the hills to the Fisherman’s Wharf/Ghirardelli Square area.

Chinatown. Dancing, Food, Music! The largest Chinatown in the United States boasts hundreds of restaurants and shops. Walk through the Dragon Gate and explore the street of painted balconies. Get “lost” among the many colorful alleys and famous curved eaves of the roof lines, colorful street lanterns, recessed balconies, and gilded facades. Although fortune cookies were not invented in Chinatown (even if they are a San Francisco original), visitors of all ages are delighted to see the “flick and fold” that turns flat rounds of batter into the more familiar shape. Just prior to the convention, San Francisco’s Chinatown will host its annual Chinese New Year celebration, including a festival, parade, and many other events.

North Beach/Telegraph Hill. Most famously known as Little Italy, North Beach has earned a reputation for having beautiful old churches, great restaurants, and many terrific coffee shops that serve classic Italian desserts. Climbing the many steps of Telegraph Hill leading to Coit Tower will not leave you disappointed, with spectacular 360º views of San Francisco Bay. Besides the view of the city, you may also catch a glimpse of some of San Francisco’s wild parakeet population, which has taken up residence here.

Mission. Transforming walls to canvas, artists have come to The Mission to depict vivid images on the garages, fences, and doorways in back alleys of this cultural melting pot. Although this fourteen block span is most famous for its Latin, Chicano, and even European heritage, The Mission is home to the cuisine and businesses of more than a dozen countries. Mission Dolores, the oldest building in San Francisco, has survived two major earthquakes and served as a movie set for the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo. These are just a few of the more than 100 neighborhoods that make San Francisco a center for diversity, culture, entertainment, and cuisine. Have fun exploring!

Note to Fellow Foodies

Growing up and living in a city of what seems like a million flavors, how could we not be foodies? Within an hour’s travel, you will come across worldclass wineries, fresh seafood, artisanal cheese makers, and small farms. Many San Francisco restaurants pride themselves in providing a showcase for fresh, local ingredients married with global influence and style. In addition to featuring local ingredients, San Francisco is famous for many food firsts. The following foods were invented in San Francisco: Green Goddess salad dressing, martinis, cioppino, the popsicle, Crab Louis, Irish coffee, mai tais, and much more. No matter what neighborhoods you venture into, a wide variety of fresh food adventures await you.

If the more than 1,000 educational sessions and special events, or the cutting-edge research and skills training available to you at the convention is not enough, then you simply must come to find out why Tony Bennett was not the only one to leave his heart in San Francisco. Bring yourself to the NASP 2011 Annual Convention to learn more about what makes these and other San Francisco neighborhoods so captivating.

These attractions are just a snippet of what San Francisco has to offer. Look out for additional convention and city information in future issues of Communiqué and online at www.nasponline.org/conventions.


Cari Tom, NCSP, and Kathrina Firme are the Local Arrangements cochairs, and Jennifer Steinback and Gina Sunie-Lopez are the Local Arrangements student cochairs for the NASP annual convention in San Francisco.