School Psychology Graduate Students in Missouri are Outstanding Advocates

By: Charlotte Smith, NASP GPR Committee Member, Missouri NASP Delegate and SPAN Contact, Central Region GPR Coordinator 

Students in school psychology graduate programs at the University of Missouri Columbia, the University of Missouri St. Louis, and students at Webster University are making a difference for children and families through their outstanding  advocacy work.
Lindsay Oram, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Missouri Columbia presented at the National Rural Education Association Convention in St. Louis on October 19, 2015 with a presentation titled "Building Capacity for Mental Health Service Provision in Rural Schools.  She explored school-wide mental health screening, the role of school psychoogists in mental health service provision, mental health service coordination, and evidence based mental health interventions.  Audience members included school administrators, school board members, educators, researchers, and state education agency representatives from across the nation.  She also presented along with Kristy Warmbold-Brann (a school psychology graduate student from the University of Missouri, Columbia) at the Missouri Association of Rural Educators conference at Lake Ozark on October 26, 2015. The presentation was titled "Developing  Systems for Providing Mental Health Services in Rural Schools" and discussed a grant project in which school psychologists are working with four rural school districts in Mid-Missouri in order to build capacity for mental health service provision.  Kristy took the lead on writing an article about collaboration between school psychologists and counselors. Kristy has also advocated on behalf of Missouri  children and families at the state capitol, Jefferson City. Chloe Randle is a Webster University school psychology student who strives to be a global citizen who contributes great things to the community and to the constantly emerging world.  She is committed to multicultural school psychology and she encourages all educators to have "courageous conversations" about race and ethnicity.  She was a lead researcher on a study of 54 schools' responses to the Michael Brown shooting and the resulting crisis in the St. Louis region. Ms. Randle was invited to be a presenter at a symposiu at the Winter Roundtable at Columbia University and she did an outstanding  job presenting  "How St. Louis Schools Responded to the Crisis in Ferguson, Missouri."  Ms. Randle also went to Jefferson City to speak to mental health leaders and accept the Shining Light Award from Missouri Failies4Families.  The award was given to the Webster program for their research conducted on schools' reaction to the crisis in Furgeson and for Webster's support for children who deal with social, emotional and behavioral health challenges. Ms. Randle is also contributing  to Webster's international research on mental health advocacy and children's rights.  She is an author on a professional presentation, "Advocating for school psychology and the mental health of school-aged children in Missouri".

The Graduate Association of School Psychology (GrASP) at the University of Missouri St. Louis has held two Outreach Events with KEEN of St. Louis, which is a non-profit organization that empowers youth with disabilities by providing free, non-competitive one-to-one programs of exercise, fitness and fun, led by volunteer coaches. The candidates of GrASP also volunteered at the Learning Disability Associations Annual "Unlock the Magic of Learning" Charity Event at Grant's Farm in St. Louis, MO. GrASP has made it a mission to establish on-going relationships with and serve their community by partnering with local nonprofit organizations and institute of a means to promote positive change and advocate for their profession both locally and nationally. Over School Psychology Awareness Week, GrASP designed a t-shirt that they disseminated and wore across campus and through out different schools in St. Louis to promote School Psychology. Also, this year the UMSL School Psychology candidates have been much more actively involved in their State and National Associations in the following ways: Presenting Poster Presentations, Scholarship Award Winners, and Presenting Mini-Skills Sessions. Lastly, as a graduate organization they were able to engage in an Expert Panel of Administrators, Directors and Supervisors from their local Special School District in St. Louis. This opportunity allowed for their current candidates to ask questions about many important topics and inquire about the role of school psychologists in the future.