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2012 Convention News

Make the Most of Your Convention Experience

By Michael C. Forcade & Katherine C. Cowan

When you register for the NASP 2012 Annual Convention, you gain access to more than 1,000 different peer-reviewed presentations and special sessions. Ideally, you should be targeting skills areas that directly address the priorities of your district to strengthen your role within the system. With so many possibilities, you need to select sessions wisely.

NASP offers a few helpful tools to make the most of your time in Philadelphia.

Take the NASP self-assessment. NASP has defined and is strongly advocating for the comprehensive and integrated role of the school psychologist with the 2010 standards and the NASP Practice Model. Educational sessions at the convention represent the range of professional practice domains, offering a wealth of opportunity to build skills in areas that will strengthen your comprehensive role. We encourage you to review the 10 domains and take a brief self-assessment (takes about 15 minutes) online at http://www.nasponline.org/standards/survey/self-assessmentintro.aspx to help you target the topics and sessions that will be most valuable. Hint: Don't simply gravitate to the topics you find most comfortable. Take on an issue or area of practice in which you can grow both in terms of skills and in terms of your role. Think about the added valued you receive (and can contribute to your colleagues and those you serve) by enhancing your skills relative to a serious need or problem in your schools (e.g., data collection regarding improved school climate and safety) and your ability to communicate this crucial expertise to key decision makers.

Use the “Planning Your Schedule” tool online. All sessions and workshops are listed online in a planning tool that allows you to search and review sessions by topic and presenter. In the new year, you will be able to organize by time and day (http://www.nasponline.org/conventions/2012/schedule.aspx). You can select the sessions you want based on your need, and will be able to identify second and third choices in case of conflicts or filled rooms, and create and print you schedule ahead of time. Hint: If you are attending the convention with district colleagues, consider coordinating your choices so that you get maximum skills development on key district issues. For example, if implementing RTI is a priority, identify sessions that address various aspects of implementation (such as DS02: The Stoplight Mentality: Implementing RTI With Limited Resources; and DS08: Using Single-Case Design to Measure Response to Intervention), and split who attends each. Share the schedule and your plan with your supervisor either to advocate for permission to attend the convention or to facilitate planning.

Participate in the NASP Communities. Officially launched in September, the online NASP Communities (http://communities.nasponline.org/Home) are a great place to interact with colleagues on key issues, and with convention presenters. Presenters are being invited to post information and host discussions in the NASP Member Exchange about their session in advance of the convention. Hint: Participants are given the opportunity to engage on the topic, learn more about what the presentation will cover beyond the program description, and prepare better for the experience. Presenters can promote their session and perhaps even adjust it slightly to incorporate some of the key questions people are asking.

Plan to use the new NASP Online Learning Center. More than 100 hours of convention Featured Sessions, Documented Sessions, and Workshops will be video recorded at the convention and made available via NASP's completely new Online Learning Center (OLC; http://www.nasponline.org/profdevel/onlinelearning.aspx). The OLC allows you to access the high quality continuing professional development (CPD) credits previously limited to in-person convention and summer conference attendance. All sessions included on the OLC are NASP- and APA-approved and feature nationally known experts, synchronized PowerPoint presentations, downloadable handouts, and a printable documentation of attendance issue.

And Don't Miss the Fun Stuff!

Of course, all work and no play at the Philadelphia convention is just not right. As if the packed program of educational sessions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. were not enough, several special events are planned to round out your schedule. Here is a glimpse of what NASP has in store for you in the City of Brotherly Love. Check online and in your program for even more and be sure to include them in your planning!

Welcome Orientation. First timers and old timers alike are welcome to attend this session at an all new time on Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. Learn how to get the most out of the convention and meet new people you will pass numerous times over the following few days.

Philadelphia Welcome Party. School psychologists will be rocking to the beat both on the stage and the dance floor. Party with a terrific band that includes a school psychologist. Join your colleagues for a winter blast full of networking, music, dancing, and fun. Mark your calendar for Tuesday evening at 9:00 p.m.

Yoga. Rise and shine early on Wednesday and Friday to warm up for your convention day with an hour of yoga. Check the program for the 7:00 a.m. location.

NASP 5K. This event returns to the DIY (do it yourself) format for Philadelphia. There will be organized runs and many other exercise options to burn off those calories. Participate in one of the runs, walks, or other activities on a personalized schedule. Preregistration is required to be assured a stylish T-shirt as a souvenir of your participation.

Book Discussion With Dr. Peg Dawson. Meet the author and discuss her book, Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential. Check the program for time and location.

NASP Awards Reception. Extend your convention day on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. by coming together to honor colleagues and others for outstanding work and support of our profession.

Multicultural Meet and Greet. Join your colleagues in a celebration of diversity. Network with other members, pick up multicultural resources and information, and hear about the accomplishments and initiatives of the NASP Multicultural Affairs Committee on Thursday morning at 8:30.

30th Annual Past President's Roast. Who says leaders get respect? Warm up for Thursday dinner by attending (4:00 to 6:30 p.m.) a slightly irreverent review of the professional accomplishments of former NASP President Diane Smallwood.

Children's Fund Auction. This is the best place for fun on Thursday evening at 6:00. The auction is more than a fundraiser that benefits children. Enjoy the competition of bidding along with with a cash bar, networking, and plenty of time left over for a late dinner.

With all these choices, don't forget to fit in time to explore Philadelphia and all it has to offer. The convention program and city will make your week fly by and make for a memorable experience on both the professional and personal levels.


Michael C. Forcade is the convention chair and Katherine C. Cowan is NASP Director of Communications.