Communiqué

2016 Convention News

Building Leadership Capacity at the Convention

By Anastasia Kalamaros Skalski & Sally A. Baas

Volume 44 Issue 5

By Anastasia Kalamaros Skalski & Sally A. Baas

Over the last two years, NASP leaders have been working to enhance our association's governance structure and operations through an effort called the NASP Governance Enhancement Initiative (GEI). The GEI helped NASP leaders refocus their work in a strategic way to better address the critical issues impacting school psychology and school psychologists. This refocusing led to the identification of four key initiatives that are driving the work of NASP leaders for 2015–2016:

  • Address critical shortages in school psychology
  • Advance the role of school psychologists as qualified mental and behavioral health providers
  • Advance nationwide recognition and implementation of the NASP Practice Model
  • Develop leadership skills and qualities of school psychologists

Developing leadership skills. The priority to develop leadership skills and qualities of school psychologists is not just important to our national leadership efforts, but it is also critical for our state association leadership. For more than a decade, the NASP Assistance to States Committee has sponsored a meeting at the annual convention (MT035) that focused on building the leadership skills of state association presidents. This meeting typically engages state presidents in learning key skills and knowledge related to state association governance as well as exploring some of the national issues that are impacting school psychologists. Feedback from participants over the last few years has emphasized the need to make available the content sessions offered at the State President's Leadership Meeting to a broader group of state leaders beyond the presidents. As a result of this feedback, the Assistance to States Committee has created a new strand of convention sessions concentrating on building the capacity and skills of all state leaders with responsibilities for organizational leadership.

For the 2016 NASP convention, the Assistance to States Committee will be offering the State Leadership Development Strand (MT035 A-L) on Saturday morning, February 13. This strand will feature 12 leadership sessions over the course of the morning for any state leader or convention attendee interested in participating. Each session will focus on a different aspect of association leadership.

There will also be a special session within this strand presented by the NASP Leadership Development Committee. This session (MT035D), NASP 101: Understanding Governance and Leadership Opportunities in NASP, will allow convention attendees to learn more about NASP leadership and governance and how people can get involved in the association. Interested session participants who think that they might want to become more involved in NASP leadership may also interview with the Chairs of the Leadership Development Committee to explore future leadership possibilities. (More information about the Leadership Development Committee can be found in this edition of Communiqué.) The complete list of leadership sessions offered as part of the State Leadership Development Strand include:

  • MT035A: Effectively Communicating With Members (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom A)
  • MT035B: Building Capacity for Grassroots Advocacy (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom B)
  • MT035C: Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Members (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom D)
  • MT035D: NASP 101: Understanding Governance and Leadership Opportunities in NASP (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom E)
  • MT035E: Strategies for Effective Convention Planning and Professional Development (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom A)
  • MT035F: The Fundamentals of Association Leadership 101 (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom B)
  • MT035G: Building Diversity in Membership and Leadership (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom D)
  • MT035H: State Leadership Strand Roundtable Discussions (Advocacy, Membership, Communication, NASP 101 Interviews; Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom E)
  • MT035I: Strategic Planning for Association Operational Excellence (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom A)
  • MT035J: Fundamentals of Association Budget and Financial Management (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom B)
  • MT035K: Building and Managing Association Policies and Procedures (Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom D)
  • MT035L: State Leadership Strand Roundtable Discussions (Professional Development, Leadership Fundamentals, Diversity, NASP 101 Interviews; Sheraton, 5th floor, Grand Ballroom E)

The State Leadership Strand Roundtable Discussions (MT035H and MT035L) are a way that convention participants can continue a conversation with a NASP leader after attending one of the leadership sessions. These sessions were created in response to state leader feedback. They provide more time for participants to discuss with national leaders specific issues, problems, or concerns impacting state associations. Convention attendees interested in participating in any of the state leadership strand sessions should check the convention program for session times.

Exploring leadership opportunities around state and national issues. Another outcome of NASP's Governance Enhancement Initiative was the decision to hold the annual Regional Leadership Meetings during the convention. These Regional Leadership Meetings bring together invited state presidents, delegates, and other state-sponsored participants for two days of intense discussion around state and national issues impacting school psychology and school psychologists. The primary purpose of these meetings is to further NASP's priorities and goals in accordance with the strategic plan. The meetings allow for the sharing of information that will help promote membership, address NASP issues at the state level, allow state association leaders to learn from each other, and address issues unique to each region.

The 2016 Regional Leadership Meetings will be February 13 and 14, in New Orleans. This year, the topics will address the new reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and how NASP's key initiatives can be advanced by new policies and programs created in the new law. Participants will also work to build their association's leadership effectiveness through sessions applying concepts and information from the book by Tecker, Meyer, Wintz, and Crouch (2010), The Will to Govern Well: Knowledge, Trust, and Nimbleness, 2nd ed. The authors of this book worked with NASP leaders during the GEI, and the application of their principles for governance have helped NASP leaders improve their strategic awareness, focus, and actions.

Overall, the increased focus of NASP on building leadership capacity and effectiveness at the state and national levels has helped school psychology advance as a profession. The fruits of our advocacy efforts are evident in the policies and programs passed in the reauthorization of the ESEA. An increasing number of school psychologists are becoming involved in state and national leadership and advocacy activities. School psychology leaders at the local and state level are recognized for their valuable skills and effective leadership. Advancement of school psychology will be greatly enhanced by the efforts to grow and sustain leaders who recognize that schools are integral to supporting a student's mental wellness and academic achievement and that school psychologists are the professionals best suited to identify and respond to student needs.

References

Tecker, G. H., Meyer, P. D., Wintz, L. & Crouch, B. (2010) The will to govern well: Knowledge, trust, and nimbleness (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership.


Anastasia Kalamaros Skalski, is the NASP Director of Professional Policy and Practice. Sally A. Baas, is a NASP Past President and a member of the Assistance to States Committee