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President’s Strands at the San Francisco Convention

By Kathleen M. Minke

The President’s Strands at each convention are used to underscore the convention theme and to promote professional development around key issues for the year. The highlighted presentations are drawn from both invited and reviewed sessions. This year, there will be two interrelated strands that fit both the theme and the location of the NASP San Francisco convention.

Strand 1: Positive Relationships–School Success

The presence of productive, supportive working relationships enhances problem solving and promotes positive outcomes for students, families, teachers, administrators, and school psychologists. The sessions in this strand were chosen to demonstrate the many levels of schooling where relationship quality matters.

Robert Pianta will deliver this year’s Distinguished Lecture, “Improving Impacts in Classrooms: Professional Development and Standardized Classroom Observation.” This session will review new methods, shown effective in randomized controlled trials, that improve the quality of teacher–student interactions at the classroom level. Students’ relationships with each other and important adults will be the focus of two featured sessions. Karen Reivich will discuss “Positive Psychology in Schools: Promoting Students’ Well-Being, Positive Relationships, and Achievement,” providing examples from the Penn Resiliency Program and the Fishful Thinking initiative. Check out the NASP–Fishful Thinking Partnership at www.nasponline.org/fishfulthinking. This partnership furthers NASP’s efforts to help school psychologists build positive relationships with parents and aligns well with the SHINE theme for School Psychology Awareness Week, www.nasponline.org/communications/spawareness. George Bear will focus on “Fostering Positive School Climate: Developing Supportive Relationships and Self-Discipline.” He will also lead this year’s book discussion group (see the President’s Message, this issue). Susan Sheridan’s session, “Relationships Between Schools and Families: Pathways for Student Success,” will link the two most important systems in children’s lives and show how positive parent–teacher relationships support student success. On a related topic, Janine Jones will provide a special session, “INVEST in Community: Six Steps to Building Relationships across Cultures,” that will review how hidden cultural differences can sometimes derail our efforts at relationship building strategies to overcome these obstacles will be provided. Finally, Louis Kruger will discuss the need to develop strong relationships in a critical, but often overlooked, arena in his special session, “Strengthening Relationships With Administrators: Having Influential Conversations.” This session relates closely to NASP’s initiative to build awareness among and improve working relationships with school principals. Relationships with your building principal(s) are among the most important because they can either enable or hinder your ability to practice effectively. (See the related article on bringing your principal to the convention on page 36).

In addition to these invited sessions, the reviewed program has many additional offerings related to this theme. A small sampling is highlighted below (please note that descriptions and complete citations, including all presenters and contributors and their affiliations, are available online at http://www.nasponline.org/conventions/presidents-strand.aspx.

Related Sessions

SY009 — Examining the Link Between Bullying and School Connectedness
SY020 — Positive Emotions and Adolescents’ Coping, Engagement, and Well-Being in School
MS098 — Making the Peer Ecology Protective Against Bullying for All Schools
MS207 — Developing Positive Home–School Relations With Gay and Lesbian Parents
PA226 — Violence Prevention Through Restorative Justice: Using a School-Wide Differentiated Discipline Approach
PA317 — Family Involvement in Education: A One Size Fits All Phenomenon?
PA575 — The Influence of Social Support on Early Adolescents’ Mental Health

Strand 2: Working With Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students and Their Families

San Francisco has a rich history of diversity, and so it is fitting that a strand address the skills school psychologists require to work effectively with students from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. The sessions highlighted here focus primarily on English language learners. We know that the overwhelming majority of school psychologists are monolingual, while an increasing proportion of the students we serve have dual language needs. These sessions will contribute to our capacity to serve these students and their families.

There are a number of workshops (additional registration and fee required) that will allow participants to engage in intensive skill development in this area. These sessions provide documentation of NASP (and APA) Continuing Professional Development hours. Using lecture, demonstration, and case studies, Samuel Ortiz will provide both intermediate (WS36) and advanced (WS40) sessions on “Assessment of English Language Learners” that will teach participants how to examine the influence of culture and language variables on test performance. Monica Oganes Murray will focus specifically on the influence of oral language development and second language acquisition on reading in English in her half-day session, “Helping English Language Learners Meet Adequate Yearly Progress in Reading.” Essential components of instruction and intervention will be reviewed. Catherine Collier will address the critical interface between second language acquisition and response to intervention models (WS57: ELL Students and Response to Intervention). Specific focus will be given to effective screening strategies and interventions.

Related Sessions

The reviewed program is also rich with sessions addressing various aspects of working with culturally and linguistically diverse students. These sessions cut across the interests of researchers, graduate educators, and practitioners. As above, the list here is just a small sample of the many sessions attendees can choose to improve their skills (consult the webpage for descriptions, presenters, and complete citations).

SY026 — Conceptualizing Issues of Training in Bilingual School Psychology
MS004 — Culturally Sensitive Psychoeducational Assessment: Tools, Techniques, and Templates
MS085 — Reading Skills in ELL Students: Linking Assessment and Intervention
MS193 — Screening, Progress Monitoring, and Instructional Planning for ELLs
PA111 — Cultural Frame Switching and Cognitive Performance in Bilingual Biculturals
PA239 — Acculturation Orientation and Its Impact on ELL Students’ Reading Progress
PA431 — What Monolingual Psychologists Should Know About Their Bilingual Students
PA609 — Multilevel Analysis of Literacy Growth Among Second-Grade ELL Students
PA624 — Latino Parents’ Perspectives on Positive Behavioral Supports in the Schools

The San Francisco convention truly has something for everyone, whether your primary role is practitioner, researcher, graduate educator, or even principal! The nearly 1,000 sessions that are included in the regular convention registration fee provide an incredible array of learning opportunities in one of the most interesting cities in the world. Be sure to review the program online to develop your individual professional growth plan so that you can maximize both your learning and your enjoyment of the convention. I hope to meet many of you there and learn what your convention highlights were.

Kathleen M. Minke, PhD, NCSP, is a professor of education at the University of Delaware and the current president of NASP.