5,000 School Psychologists Gather to Promote Successful & Mentally Healthy Students

   Tuesday, February 9, 2016 

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What: Promoting students' academic, behavioral, and social-emotional competence is the focus for the more than 5,000 school psychologists attending the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) convention in New Orleans, LA, February 9-14, 2016. Creating a positive school climate is critical to supporting students' mental health and meeting their diverse learning needs. Experts will discuss research and best practices that contribute to a sense of safety and well-being among students to promote their success in school and life. Among topics being addressed are creating trauma-sensitive schools, suicide prevention and intervention, positive discipline, academic interventions, autism, concussion management, and supporting LGBTQ+ students.

When: NASP 2016 Annual Convention, "School Climate: #ConnectTheDots" February 9-14, 2016, at the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton New Orleans.

Why: Many factors contribute to a positive school climate, including positive behavioral supports, school connectedness, home-school collaboration, rigorous curricula, high-quality instruction, culturally responsive practice, and physical and psychological safety. None of these factors alone is sufficient to establish a positive school climate, and how the factors come together to create a positive school climate varies from school to school. School psychologists play a critical role in helping to identify and implement strategies to create and maintain positive climates that fit their specific school communities.

Who: NASP and its 25,000 members are leaders in the effort to create schools in which all children achieve their best. School psychologists work with educators and parents to lower barriers to learning and improve children's academic achievement and social, emotional, and behavioral well-being. This year's convention brings together renowned experts in children's learning, development, and mental health to examine the practices essential to creating school environments in which all students thrive.

Event Highlights:

Keynote Address: Janet Mock, nationally acclaimed author and advocate, will discuss her experiences as a transgender woman and her journey from her childhood as multiracial, poor, and trans in Hawaii, and the importance of ensuring that school's foster climates in which LGBTQ+ students-and all students-feel safe, supported, and valued to improve their academic and life outcomes. Opening General Session, Thursday, February 11, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Grand Ballroom-Sheraton, 5th Floor.

Stacy Overstreet, PhD, Chris Gunther, Laura Danna, and Patrick Bell, PhD, will share shares the whys and hows of a city-led, multiagency partnership to advance trauma-informed approaches in schools, including why a universal approach is needed to enhance effects of evidence-based treatments for trauma and how learning collaborative methodology can be used to establish a universal approach in schools. FS004: Emotional Intelligence: From Theory to Practice, Thursday, February 11, 2:30-3:50 p.m.

James Garbarino, PhD, explores the developmental impact of trauma on children and youth and the implications of that understanding for school psychologists and other professionals working in educational institutions. FS03: Need for Trauma-Informed Education, Thursday, February 11, 9:00-10:20 a.m.

Distinguished lecturer Susan M. Swearer, PhD, frames bullying as a social-ecological phenomenon and reviews intervention strategies. Data from the Born Brave Bus Tour (a signature project of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation) will highlight key ways to help youth and young adults lead kinder and braver lives. FS05: NASP Distinguished Lecture: Creating a Kinder and Braver World-Strategies to End Bullying, Friday, February 12, 9:00-9:50 a.m.

Gerard A. Gioia, PhD, leads a session on how school psychologists can support the return to school of students with concussions, including school-relevant assessment of signs and symptoms and intervention planning and monitoring. DS06: Concussion Management Skill Development for School-Based Professionals, Friday, February 12, 1:00-2:20 a.m.

Experts Leslie Lagerstrom and Heidi L. Springborg, NCSP, will discuss the wide range of stressors that transgender and gender diverse students experience, and will explore how an environmental assessment tool can facilitate building inclusive school cultures. DS04: Creating An Inclusive School Environment For Transgender and Gender Diverse Students: Tools for Leading Change, Thursday, February 11, 3:00-4:20 p.m.

PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Curriculum. Schools play a critical role in crisis prevention and response for children. PREPaRE is the only training curriculum developed for and by school-based mental health and crisis team professionals. Workshops address crisis team development and functions, as well as prevention, response, and recovery.

The full convention schedule is available online at www.nasponline.org/conventions. Press passes and interviews are available. Contact NASP Director of Communications, Kathy Cowan, on site 2/9–2/13 by cell phone (301-675-9148), or by e-mail (kcowan@naspweb.org).