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Convention News

Advocating for the Emotional Well–Being of Our Nation's Youth

By Michael C. Forcade

When you talk to someone from Philadelphia, you quickly get a picture of intense civic pride. Although the city has played a significant role in the history of our country, other eastern seaboard cities seem to get more attention. That does not deter the citizens of Philadelphia from feeling their city is just as great. Indeed, Philadelphia is located in a very central location and more easily accessed than the other major cities. Nothing on the list of what makes a city great is missing in Philadelphia. The city is resplendent with culture, arts, music, sports, commerce, entertainment, shopping, and whatever else you need for fun. NASP is returning to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time since 1984. And I can assure you from my visit in April for the planning conference that this will be a great venue for our annual convention.

Our headquarters hotels are located right in the middle of it all in Center City (downtown to us Midwesterners). Everything the city has to offer is only steps from the hotels. The transit system is easy to navigate whether you are arriving by plane or train, or just trying to move around to see all the historic sites. We found plenty of entertainment and fine food and drink within walking distance. I was easily able to map one of my early morning runs to the Art Museum for a “Rocky” reprise. Be sure to check the “Attractions” featured on page 29 for more information from our local team. I promise all my NASP colleagues that you will find much to enjoy in Philadelphia during any free time you can squeeze in around an outstanding professional development program we have planned for you.

Convention Schedule Packed With Goodies Again

The theme for the 2012 Philadelphia convention is “Advocating for the Emotional Well-Being of Our Nation's Youth.” We will again be able to offer registration and packet pick-up on Monday evening from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. As usual, the convention will be in full swing starting Tuesday mid-morning. In addition, we have moved the Welcome Orientation to 8:00 a.m. to provide an overview of all the convention has to offer. All professional development activities will end late Friday afternoon so that Saturday can be devoted to leadership meetings (or the beginning of your tourism).

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 3, 2011. Register by November 16, 2011 to get the lowest possible rate. Register by October 26, 2011 and also be entered to win one of six Early Bird Registration prizes. The Grand Prize includes four hotel nights 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 three convention hotels at the convention rate. 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 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 out there 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 at http://www.nasponline.org/conventions/2012. You will note that the convention program continues to offer a full slate of workshops, papers, mini-skills, symposia, and posters covering the entire spectrum of our field. More than 1,300 proposals were submitted for review, which allows for the selection of a wide array of presentations and workshops centered on the convention theme.

Program Highlights for Philadelphia

The program will include more treats than space will permit me to describe. So, here are a selected few to consider.

Keynote Address

Will School Reform Improve Education?

Diane Ravitch, PhD, Research Professor of Education, New York University

Dr. Ravitch will offer an eye-opening perspective on the state of America's schools and the direction of current school reform efforts. Once a leading advocate for No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Ravitch has become one of its most vocal opponents and a strong defender of the public school system.

Featured Sessions

NASP Distinguished Lecture: Enhancing the Emotional Well-Being of Our Nation's Urban Youth

Salome Thomas-EL, Philadelphia, PA

The Distinguished Lecture will feature the 2010 convention Keynote address speaker who is an urban school principal, author, and national consultant. Principal EL will discuss the many physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and environmental changes that cause stress, and how coping can prove to be difficult for students in struggling families and communities.

Education Revolution Sneak Preview With Dan Habib

Dan Habib, The University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability, Concord

Dan Habib's new film, Education Revolution, documents the lives of students with emotional/behavioral challenges and shows innovative educational approaches that help these students succeed. After a preview, the central subject, Kelsey Carroll, will join him for a conversation.

Social–Emotional Learning: Preparing Students for Tests of Life, Not a Life of Tests

Maurice J. Elias, PhD, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ

To guide schools toward effective prevention and intervention around problem behaviors and academic success for all, school psychologists must focus on creating school climates that are safe, challenging, caring, supportive, and respectful. Addressing bullying allows school psychologists to place students' social–emotional and character development at the center of schools' concerns.

Creating Safe Schools 101

Kevin Jennings, Be the Change, Boston, MA

Students can't learn if they don't feel safe—period. In this presentation, Kevin Jennings will address how to create safe school climates that promote academic achievement and personal growth for all of our students. He will bring to this discussion the lens of leadership on bullying prevention at the national level during his tenure as Assistant Secretary of Education and Director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.

NASP Legends in School Psychology Address: School Psychologists' Role in Effective Education for All

Kevin P. Dwyer, NCSP, Retired, Bethesda, MD

This session will address the efforts school psychologists and NASP have made over the past half century in equalizing effective education for all children, particularly those from neglected ethnic and economic groups, and the long, necessary journey ahead to reach equality.

Safeguarding Our Youth: Promoting Emotional Well-Being and Resilience Through Crisis Intervention

Scott Poland, PhD, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Many of our youth have experienced tragedy and loss, and NASP has provided nationwide leadership in crisis prevention and response. This presentation will outline key prevention and intervention procedures to promote emotional well-being and resilience.

Moving From a Failing to an Achieving School District: How Learning Supports Helped Reach Struggling Students (Upper Darby School District, PA)

Dan McGarry, Brenda Kabler, and other school staff, Upper Darby School District, PA; Amy Smith, Department of Education, PA

A look at how an urban school district, identified for corrective action, turned around student achievement through an infusion of student learning reforms. School improvement efforts were closely linked to those prioritized in the state education improvement plan and included implementing a growth model student evaluation system, RTI problem solving teams, more comprehensive school psychological services, and better coordinated school–community resources.

Other Highlights

Documentation 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 sessions (DS session codes) that meet the standards of the NASPApproved Provider System. Among others, these standards require sign in/sign out, clearly stated learning objectives, and a postsession evaluation in order to receive documentation. Eight 80-minute advanced sessions will be offered in Philadelphia. We have enlisted an array of great presenters across a spectrum of topics. Please check your preliminary program for details of each session. Once again this year, registration is required. Payment of a $5 processing fee ensures everyone with a ticket will have a seat and handout for the session. These sessions (DS) and the convention workshops (WS) may be counted toward the 10-hour NASP- or APA-approved requirement for renewal of the NCSP.

Participant Information Exchanges— For the first time, presenters were offered the option of submitting proposals for the Participant Information Exchanges (PIE) format. This presentation style offers attendees the opportunity to engage in a round table discussion on a “poster” topic after a brief presentation. Five sessions on a broad but similar topic will occur simultaneously in 45-minute time blocks on Thursday and Friday. Our hope is that attendees will be able to spend time at the PIE sessions that draw them to the room and still have time to move around and engage in the other sessions.

Visit the Website

I encourage you to visit the website for the convention (www.nasponline.org/ conventions) to learn more about the program and Philadelphia in February. I hope you will 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 at home by the fire. I look forward to seeing you in the City of Brotherly Love.


Michael C. Forcade is the Convention Chair