2018 Convention News

The President's Strand: The Power of One—Creating Connections in Chicago

By John Kelly

pp. 28-29

Volume 46 Issue 4

By John Kelly

Every year, the NASP president has the opportunity to identify presentation strands meant to complement and promote the convention theme throughout the week and highlight its important features.

The value of school psychologists creating connections in their work with students, families, and school staff never seems more relevant than at the present time. Children and youth are demonstrating increased social and emotional challenges, while resources to understand and support these challenges are limited. The good news is that the research database regarding the importance of social and emotional competencies to help children progress academically and thrive in life is increasing. Additionally, research related to the impact of adverse childhood experiences and other environmental factors on neural development throughout childhood and early adulthood has profound implications for school psychology. The NASP 2018 Annual Convention President's Strands will highlight various ways that school psychologists can create connections in our roles within schools, universities, and communities.

Strand 1, Creating Connections Through Social and Emotional Learning, will be anchored by Roger Weissberg (FS02: NASP Distinguished Lecture: Strategies to Establish Social and Emotional Learning in U.S. Schools by 2025) and will highlight the implementation and infusion of social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies into educational practices within schools. SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Social and emotional competencies determine how we create connections with our inner selves, as well as the outer world. Dr. Weissberg's presentation will share recent advances and future directions in SEL research, practice, and policy. The session will highlight state, district, school, and program intervention and assessment strategies for preschool to high school students. Other presentations in this strand include:

  1. FS04: Time for SEL 2.0: Skills and Virtues, Schools of Character (Maurice J. Elias)
  2. DS06: Improving Classroom Management, School Discipline, and School Climate (George Bear)
  3. DS08: Tools and Strategies for Supporting Transgender and Gender-Diverse Students (Todd A. Savage & Leslie Lagerstrom)
  4. FBS03: Promoting Social Justice: Nuts, Bolts, and Lessons From the Field (Charles A. Barrett, Elizabeth Rose A'Vant, Niekema Q. Hudson, Daphne Perry, & Khadijah N. Cyril)
  5. FBS04: School-Based Social–Emotional and Behavior Screening: Using Data to Guide Interventions (Katie Eklund & Steve Kilgus)
  6. MS086: Enhancing Emotion Regulation and Happiness Through Blending Innovative SEL Programs (James Mazza)
  7. SY045: Alternative Approaches to Assessing Social and Emotional Competence (Paul LeBuffe)

Strand 2, Understanding Neuroscience and Neurological Connections Behind Behavior and Learning, will be led by Elaine Fletcher Janzen (FS01: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Trauma-Sensitive Schools). This series will focus on helping school psychologists understand the neuroscience behind important learning, social, and emotional issues that are encountered in the schools. Neuroscientific research about childhood trauma and affective regulation is abundant these days, and much of it needs to be translated into everyday concepts that inform what we do as school psychologists. Dr. Fletcher-Janzen's session will describe the biopsychosocial elements of trauma and how they translate directly into effective interventions. Additional presentations in this strand include:

  1. MS083: The Neuropsychology of Emotional Disorders: A Framework for Effective Interventions (Steven Feifer)
  2. MS252: Neuropsychology for School Psychologists: Grand Rounds (Jessica Reinhardt)
  3. PA497: The Neuroscience of Anxiety: Building the Brain (Amanda Slonaker)
  4. MS202: Reconceptualizing ADHD: A Brain-Based Approach to Assessment and Intervention (Amanda Skierkiewicz)
  5. SS018: PSW Method for SLD Eligibility: Empirical Findings and Case Studies (Jack Naglieri, Mary Moreno-Torres, Steven Feifer, Jana Parker, & Tulio Otero)
  6. SY052: Neurofeedback: The State of the Evidence for School-Related Disorders (Justin Barterian)

The Chicago convention will offer more than 1,200 presentations, workshops, posters, and special sessions presented by national leaders, experienced practitioners, early career members, and aspiring students. All session descriptions, dates, and times will be available on the NASP website ( In addition to the professional development opportunities, there will be social gatherings, service projects, and the chance to enjoy a truly unique city. I encourage all of you to join us in Chicago. It is great way to #CreateConnections!

John Kelly, PhD, is the president of the National Association of School Psychologists

© 2017, National Association of School Psychologists
December 2017, Volume 46, Number 4