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2013 Convention News
Seattle, February 12–15

After Little Sleep in Seattle, the Convention Road Show Heads for DC!

By Michael C. Forcade & Katherine Cowan

“You're the protectors of what education really means. You are the people, in the current climate, who are the protectors of the idea that education is about the development of human beings. It is not about test scores.” This strong message from keynote speaker Richard Gerver at the Opening General Session helped set the tone for the NASP 2013 Annual Convention in Seattle.

A former principal and education advisor to the U.K. government, Gerver spoke of the need to embrace change in our own work as the best and only way to help our students learn to meet the constantly evolving demands of their world, today and in the future. He recognized and honored school psychologists' unique skill set, capacity for seeing solutions and not just problems, and gift for being both valued collaborators and leaders. He tapped into our inherent commitment to see the possibility in all children and help them believe they can achieve their dreams. And he built on NASP President Amy Smith's call to “turn up the volume” on what we know really helps kids, charging the audience to be leaders in our schools by staying true to what is genuinely good for children, as opposed to what makes us comfortable as adults—a hazard in so many schools. You can hear his keynote address and Amy's president's remarks on the NASP website at http://www.nasponline.org/conventions/2013/keynote-address.aspx.

The feeling of possibility and commitment was reflected in the strong current running throughout the convention, our fifth largest ever. The energy was palpable as nearly 5,000 school psychologists from all stages of the career spectrum attended sessions, learned new skills, shared ideas, networked with colleagues, and generally felt inspired. Pride. Value. Expertise. Purpose. Leadership. Commitment. These words best describe the mood across the 5 days as attendees chose among more than 1,200 sessions and special events. And, of course, wherever 5,000 school psychologists gather, there will be fun. Seattle lived up to all of its potential as the “sleepless city.” Attendees enjoyed good weather that permitted easy access to all Seattle has to offer, including the beautiful scenery, Pike Place Market, the Chihuly Exhibit, and a myriad of easily accessible restaurants and clubs. And, once again, NASP members and the Children's Fund made a difference through a community service project at the Daybreak Star Native American Cultural Center and Preschool in Seattle.

Among the popular program highlights were the eight documented sessions, which are an example of NASP's commitment to making NASP-, APA-, and NBCCapproved professional development as accessible and affordable as possible, requiring only a $5 seat reservation fee. The Participant Information Sessions, also relatively new to the convention program, have gained followers who like the opportunity to interact with the presenter in a more structured approach than a poster, but without the formality of a paper presentation (see story opposite). On the technical side, the mobile versions of the Convention Program, Personal Scheduler, and Convention Daily made it easier again this year for attendees to access information about sessions and schedule updates. By all accounts these new resources were extremely well received. Planning continues in an effort to add enhancements to the website to make all aspects of the convention from proposal submission to registration to daily planning easier for everyone before the convention and on site.

Convention Handouts and Recorded Sessions

Of course, the reality is that many, many committed school psychologists were not able to attend the Seattle convention. That is why we continue to expand the avenues to access professional development, both in person (consider attending one of the summer conferences in either Cincinnati or Albany this summer) and online. NASP members can access handouts from 2013 convention presenters who chose to upload them at http://www.nasponline.org/conventions/2013/program/handouts.aspx. Also, many full documented sessions and convention workshops were recorded and added to the NASP Online Learning Center (OLC). All sessions included in the OLC are NASP-, APA-, and NBCC-approved and feature nationally known experts from the convention and other sources, synchronized PowerPoint presentations, downloadable handouts, and a printable documentation of attendance. Archived/on-demand sessions offer the flexibility of starting and stopping as needed. NASP members save substantially on session fees. More information and the full catalog are available at http://nasp.inreachce.com.

Looking Forward to Washington, DC

Plans are well underway for the DC convention which will take place February 18–21, 2014. The convention theme is Creating Access: Collaborate, Advocate, Lead. Information about submitting a proposal is available online. The first important date to remember is May 1, when the online submission process opens for all proposals, including workshops. They system closes on June 27, so don't delay! Please consider submitting your work.

An important note. We are especially in need of proposals for symposia and mini-skills targeted toward advanced professionals. Ideally, these presentations would be given by seasoned practitioners who can share their practical knowledge as well as the research-based theory. We also will need approximately 200 volunteers to review proposals in the month of July. If you are interested in influencing the content of the 2014 convention through service as a reviewer, please contact the program coordinator, Susan Ratterree.

A Note of Appreciation From Mike

The convention committee comprises a group of dedicated, hard working, and funloving professionals who freely give of themselves for NASP. These are among the most committed professionals I know, and it has been a pleasure to chair this committee for the past 5 years. Literally thousands of hours of work from NASP staff and committee members are required for each convention. Each committee member works throughout the year on components related to his or her area. During the convention, they rise early for 6:15 meetings and work all day with little or no time to attend sessions. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for all they do behind the scenes to make the convention successful. If you know any of the individuals listed below, tell them how much you appreciate their work!

  • Amy Smith, NASP President
  • Alan Brue, Exhibits Coordinator
  • Molly Cevasco, Student Coordinator
  • Tom Delaney, Local Arrangements Coordinator
  • Shauna Guinn, Student Coordinator
  • Lisa Kelly-Vance, Professional Growth Chair and Posters Coordinator
  • Fred Provenzano, Local Arrangements Coordinator
  • Susan Ratterree, Program Coordinator
  • Mark Resnick, Convention Assistants Coordinator
  • Todd Savage, Program Manager, Professional Development
  • Mark Swerdlik, Workshop Coordinator

Thanks are due to several others who contributed so freely and substantially to the Seattle Convention: Tom Fagan (Legends Address and Past President Roast), Karen O'Brien (Awards), Shirley Pitts (Workshops), Chris Peterson (PI Sessions), Terry Molony (Book Group), and Lisa York (5K). We also thank the Society for the Study of School Psychology for cosponsoring NASP documented sessions. Given the size of our event this year, many others pitched in where needed, but it happened so fast it wasn't possible to take names. Thanks to you all.

Finally, we deeply appreciate the efforts of the NASP staff. They work diligently onsite throughout the week, getting little sleep and solving problems big and small before convention attendees become aware of them. We owe them all our gratitude. Special thanks to the staff members who work registration and staff the NASP convention office on site. Their goodwill and tireless efforts to help attendees are most appreciated. Last and certainly not least, my very special thanks to Glenn Reighart, our Director of Meetings and Conventions, for his careful attention to all aspects of the convention. I have learned so much from him in my tenure as chair and trust that our friendship will last forever. I am grateful to be passing the chair role on to a seasoned convention veteran in Kathy Minke. I know that under her capable leadership, the committee and staff will bring you a convention of historic proportions in Washington, DC. See you there!

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