NASP 2022 was a success and several districts represented Alabama - Birmingham City, Mobile County, and Madison County.
Meet us in Denver! Choose from 1,200+ educational sessions, connect with peers over shared challenges and interests in the beautiful mountain city of Denver, CO. Join us at the NASP 2023 Annual Convention, February 7–10, 2023. As Mrs. Akina Canty shared in February, there is something for everyone at these conferences and it is a nice way to receive targeted in-service and refresh for the year!
As the school year begins to wind down, I want to talk about a couple of NASP's Strategic Initiatives - School Psych Shortages and the Excellence in School Psychology Services. You all may have seen the dashboard recently. According to this document, there are more than 350,000 students in Alabama and our ratios are no where close to the recommended 1:500 (at one time, mine was 1:3500). You may be thinking, why does this affect me or what can I do? This affects us because if people do not know about the profession, it can be on the chopping block and kids will not benefit from the skill set we bring to the table. Most people don't know who we are or what we do. Did you know that Texas has over 22 training programs?! New York has 27.
To address School Psych Shortages, I am asking members/practitioners to consider presenting the NASP Exposure Project to at least group in your school system or in your region before the end of the fiscal year (June 2022). This link will take you to the NASP Website (you do not have to be a member to access it) where ALL materials have been provided and are adaptable. If you are not comfortable presenting, reach out to us. Myself or someone else from the Board can help! Raising awareness will help on so many fronts - keeping students in Alabama helps our economy; enough interest and we may be able to add programs in the State; it may help to reduce the shortages in our field; we can touch base with a variety of students to better mirror the population; etc.
The last item to address is the Excellence in School Psychology Services. Again, you may be thinking, we're psychometrists. Apply for this anyway! Applying may be a good way to raise awareness to our Boards, Superintendents, and/or State Department. Some systems have used this to advocate for new positions in their system (who would really look away from extra help if they could get it). Again, here is the link and reach out if you need help. We would love to see Alabama represented because we know great things are going on across the State!
At the 2021 AASP State Conference, I learned that Akina Canty was taking her entire department to NASP 2022 so I was curious to hear how and why and wanted to share that with you:
Akina Canty is the Lead Psychometrist for Special Education Testing in Birmingham City and Region 4 representative for AASP.
Tell me about the staff you have in your department: We currently have one school psychologist, Gabrielle Nation, AASP President-Elect; two psychometrists enrolled at UA, Shatoya Brown in the Doctoral program and Laneaka Turner-Miller in the EdS program; and three additional Psychometrist positions (Glynis Gibson, Amy Price, 1 vacancy).
How long have you been attending NASP Convention? Our first was in 2020 in Baltimore but only 3 of us were able to attend. We came back and presented on the sessions we attended and spoke with our Director about the quality and quantity of presentations available to us at NASP – there were so many that focused on not only test administration things like implicit and assessment bias (why we shouldn’t use the same assessment over and over). I admit we were using the same assessments and it was either lack of knowledge or exposure that kept us using the same instruments). But the presentation provided us the opportunity to grow practitioner knowledge. School psychometrists may not be as involved in the social-emotional aspect of assessment as school psychologists, but it helps for us to know HOW it interacts with everything – we need to understand how students feel. Some sessions also assisted me in effectively relaying information to parents and teachers and provided a deeper professional development experience – choosing instruments that are not biased to EL, considering ethnicity as well as transiency – we don’t just want to test and place.
What were some other benefits to attending NASP Conferences? 1) We were able to make connections in other states and explain the model used in Alabama - how they look at assessing and placing students – PSW, RTI. From that conference, the presentations we attended, and the connections we made, we came back more confident and more comfortable in attempting PSW in assessing students. 2) A lot of times we order information online and the conference gave us the opportunity to meet with publishers and meet our representatives face to face (sometimes providing discounts) but mostly to build relationships.
Aside from the reasons listed above, why do you feel it is important to attend the NASP Conferences? I believe there is very little professional development for school psychometrists in the State. It is not best practice to attend or receive training only one time a year. The only PD we generally receive is annually with AASP annual conference and a psychometry strand with MEGA or CLAS. Often, though, the content at MEGA and CLAS seems to be primarily about the administration and interpretation of assessments. Other departments (e.g., reading, math, science) can attend national conferences so I advocated the same for us since we are a specialized field. We need this to develop and build skills beyond just assessment.
Some of the sessions Ms. Canty and her Birmingham City peers are attending at the upcoming NASP 2022 conference include:
It isn’t too late to attend the Boston Express Virtual Package but if you want to start thinking about next year, let us know. NASP has created a “why” sheet to share with your supervisor (and often times, principals can go for free).
Thanks, Akina and Birmingham City Schools. We need to talk about the Excellence in School Psychological Services for your system!
As the NASP Delegate to Alabama I wanted to share a few things from our parent organization.
First and foremost, I look forward to seeing Alabama peeps in Boston at this year's conference (providing COVID-19 cooperates!). Dr. Temple Grandin will be the Keynote Speaker. If you are attending and overwhelmed by the shear volume of learning opportunities, reach out through FB or email and those of us who have experienced several can help you out. I would LOVE to have an Alabama meet and greet while we're there if possible! For those unable to attend in person, there is also a virtual package but register by January 19 for a $50 discount.
Secondly, I briefly wanted to share the 2022 Strategic Goals of our parent organization (I will go into more detail in the months to come):
Finally, in the months to come, I will also be sharing some things NASP has done for our profession (whether you are a member or not) but share why joining NASP would be beneficial to you, your schools and your district as a whole.
Until then, hang in there!