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Join Us in San Francisco and Learn How Positive Relationships Create School Success

By Michael C. Forcade

All of us have our favorite places. Sorry, Cincinnati. I may have lived here 40 years, but I would never pass up a chance to spend time in the Bay area—in my top five places for scenery, food culture, and your all around great time. As convention chair, I rarely have free time during the convention itself, but rest assured I plan to make time this year to enjoy the terrific offerings of San Francisco and the surrounding area, even if it means taking a day or two after the convention. You might consider the same. You canventure out in any direction for sure fun. To the north, you can cross the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy the agricultural economies of the Sonoma or Napa valleys. Go south on the 49-mile drive along U.S. 1 for unbelievable views of the coast. A high-speed drive east will allow you to enjoy the beauty of Yosemite. And west wil take you to Golden Gate Park, museums, and the Pacific. You don’t have to take an entire day, though. There is plenty to do within walking distance or a short cab ride from our convention hotels. Your real challenge will be making decisions on the type of food, entertainment, site seeing, or shopping you want to enjoy. I promise all my NASP colleagues that you will find much to enjoy in San Francisco during any free time you can squeeze in around the outstanding professional development program we have planned for you.

Convention Schedule Packed With Goodies Again

The theme for the 2011 San Francisco Convention is Positive Relationships—School Success. As usual, the convention will be in full swing starting Tuesday morning. Due to space availability, we also will be able to offer registration and packet pick-up on Monday evening. All professional development activities will end late Friday afternoon, so that Saturday can be devoted to leadership meetings (or the beginning of your bigger adventure in the Bay area).

Register Early and Save

NASP remains committed to making the convention as affordable as possible, despite the fact that our costs will be significantly higher this year. With this in mind, we have introduced a new early registration fee that is even lower than the preconvention registration fee (that is lower than the full registration fee.) Online registration opens October 4, 2010. Register by November 23, 2010, to get the lowest possible rate. Register by October 27, 2010, and also be entered to win one of six Early Bird Registration prizes. Th Grand Prize includes four nights in the hotel and a convention registration fee reimbursement.

Another good reason to register early is that you must register for the convention before reserving your room at one of the two official NASP convention hotels at the discounted rates. Once you register for the convention, you will receive a confirmation that includes instructions for obtaining hotel reservations through our housing bureau. This process is designed to ensure ample availability of hotel rooms in the blocks NASP has in the official convention hotels. You will want to be sure to do this, as the room rates are unbelievably low. Complete information about convention and hotel registration is available online now at www.nasponline.org/conventions.

Best Practice at Your Fingertips

By now, your convention Preliminary Program should have arrived, and you may have noticed our continuing effort to emphasize Web resources over paper. NASP’s green movement is designed to save trees (and member resources). Plus, we recognize that many more of you can access our information from almost anywhere via your hand held devices. How far off can the NASP Convention App be? The Preliminary Program provides an excellent overview of all components of the convention and includes links to even more information posted online (http://www.nasponline.org/conventions/index.aspx). You will note that the convention program continues to offers a full slate of workshops, papers, mini-skills, symposia, and posters covering the entire spectrum of our field. A record number of more than 1,500 proposals was submitted for review, which allows for the selection of a wide array of presentations and workshops centered on the convention theme.

Program Highlights for San Francisco

The program will include more treats than space will permit me to describe. So, here are a selected few to consider (Find more details at www.nasponline.org/conventions).

Keynote Address

Linda Darling-Hammond, EdD.
Drawing on her latest book, The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future, Darling-Hammond will present a compelling vision and detailed roadmap for how America’s schools can successfully meet the learning needs of an increasingly diverse student population in an increasingly “flat” world.

Featured Sessions

Distinguished Lecturer: Robert C. Pianta, PhD.
Improving Impacts of Classrooms: Professional Development and Standardized Classroom Observation

Results from a series of large-scale studies of classrooms will be presented, including newly developed approaches for improving the quality of teachers’ instructional and social interactions with pre-k–12 students. These models have been shown effective in randomized controlled trials for changing teacher behavior and student learning. Implications for practice, professional development, and policy will be discussed.

Legends Address

Alex Thomas, PhD.
The Art of School Psychology

A thorough grounding in science is necessary, albeit not sufficient, to succeed as a practitioner school psychologist. Scientists and scientist–practitioners both know that tomatoes are classified as fruit, but the practitioner does not put tomatoes in fruit salad. Science artfully applied is the focus of one school psychologist’s career retrospective.

George Bear, PhD.
Fostering Positive School Climate: Developing Supportive Relationships and Self-Discipline

Researchers and policy makers have increasingly recognized the role of school climate in children’s academic and social–emotional development (including self-discipline). Positive teacher–student and student–student relationships are central to school climate. In this session, school climate research is reviewed, with emphases on programs and practices for promoting positive relationships and self-discipline.

Kevin P. Dwyer, NCSP, & David Osher, PhD.
They Said It Couldn’t Be Done: Successful, Data Driven Systems Change in a Large Urban School District

Responding to a school shooting, Cleveland funded a systemic school and community audit producing a comprehensive action plan that included social–emotional learning, family driven approaches, early warning signs training, student support teams, positive discipline, and systematic integration o school and community resources. The recommendations included training; quality standards; human resources; and policies and practices to improve student achievement, connectedness, behavior, and safety. The audit was followed by the coaching of Cleveland’s top-level leadership cadre in its successful implementation of the three-tiered approach to building conditions for learning (CFL). Cleveland has begun to implement the comprehensive action plan into its transformation for addressing failing schools. Early outcomes include satisfactory implementation of the plan and improvements in CFL, academic performance, and safety.

Susan M. Sheridan, PhD.
Relationships Between Schools and Families: Pathways for Student Success

Healthy relationships between families and schools are good for children. This presentation will explore research-based approaches to establishing positive parent–teacher relationships and present new findings on the unique role that relationships play in promoting student outcomes. Practical information and recommended strategies for school psychologists will be emphasized.

Other Highlights

NASP-Approved CPD Documented Sessions. There are two ways to earn and receive documentation for NASP approved (and APA-approved) hours at the NASP convention: (a) convention workshops (WS session codes), and (b) specially designated Documented Sessions (DS session codes) that meet the standards of the NASP-Approved Provider System. Among others, these standards require sign in/sign out, clearly stated learning objectives, and a postsession evaluation to receive documentation. We will be offering seven 80-minut advanced sessions in San Francisco. We have enlisted an array of sessions covering topics related to ethics, assessment for intervention, social–emotional learning, and ELL. In response to feedback from attendees in Chicago who wanted a reserved seat, registration and a $5 processing fee are required for these increasingly popular sessions. Documented sessions (DS) and the NASP Convention Workshops (WS) may be counted toward the 10-hour NASP- or APA approved requirement for renewal of the NCSP.

Participant Information Exchanges. In our never ending quest to devise new presentation alternatives that meet your needs, we have modified these increasingly popular sessions from the format used the past 2 years. Participant Information Exchanges (PIE) offer the opportunity to engage in a roundtable discussion on a “poster” topic after a brief presentation. This year, a large room, away from the poster venue, will be used to allow invited posters to be presented in a more compact 45-minute time frame. Five sessions will occur simultaneously and efforts will be made to align some along a common theme. Our hope is that attendees will be able to spend more time at the PIE sessions they select but still have time to move around and engage in other sessions.

Join Us in San Francisco

I encourage you to visit the convention section of the NASP website (www.nasponline.org/conventions) to learn more about the program and San Francisco. Just think about that last week in February, a typically dreary time in the school and weather year (particularly for those of us north of the Mason–Dixon line). You could spend that week in your regular routine, perhaps even reading up on best practices to spice up life, but really just wishing for spring. Or, as I hope, you could join me and thousands of your school psychology colleagues to share experiences and listen to the folks who wrote those books you might otherwise have been reading. Not to mention enjoying all San Francisco has to offer as one of the greatest cities in the world.

Michael C. Forcade is the chair of the Convention Committee.