Do you know a school psychologist that stands out as using best-practice interventions, excellence in assessment, is an exceptional collaborator, or has given their time and energy to further our state association? Do you work for a district, department, or agency that exemplifies school psychology service delivery? Review our award descriptions here and nominate them for a WSASP Award. This year's Fall Conference is at the Davenport Hotel 10/17-10/19/19 and the winners will be announced during the general meeting on Friday, October 18th.

Secondary Summer Summit

Registration is OPEN for this year's Secondary Summer Summit is August 16th at the beautiful Hotel Bellwether in Bellingham, WA.

2019 Spring Lecture Series

The 2019 Spring Lecture Series is now open for registration! Click here to find more information and register!

Archived Spring Lecture Series

You can now access previously aired Spring Lecture Series, dating back to 2014, for a discounted price! Please go here for more information.

President's Message

This is my last letter for the SCOPE as the association president. During this year, our colleagues who work for our association have done wonderful things. We had an amazing fall conference with outstanding attendance. Our Governmental & Public Relations group has worked extremely hard to make sure that we have representation at the table in Olympia. Our group that works on the SCOPE has put out numerous articles related to our work and what is going on related to our work. The work of these groups and our many other wonderful volunteers that serve on our board is likely to have resulted in what is the largest membership number that any of us remembers, and some of us are getting old (meaning that we have been around for a while, not that we are getting forgetful, yet).

I began my message to our membership by talking about finding your passion and following your passion. I believe that this is one of the main keys to finding happiness in our jobs. During this year, there has been talk regarding the possibility that the discrepancy model will no longer be part of our work. However, something of that magnitude can take years to develop, change the laws, and sunset into the past. The relationship of these two issues is in the following paragraphs.

I would like to use this last letter to talk about my vision for being able to love our job, to love being a school psychologist. I have recruited others to also write about this for the SCOPE. I am hoping that everyone will be able to find some, possibly many, useful thoughts and actions within these letters.

I believe, like I wrote about in that first letter and talked about at the fall conference, that finding your passion is one of the keys to loving our job. When we are trained to be school psychologists, we are trained across many domains (the number has changed 3 or 4 times during my career). Within these domains, we learn many skills that we can take into our practice. The problem is, as I see it, our job is so complex with so many demands, that we forget about those other skills in the first three to five years. Those first three to five years, for many people, is a time in which we are just trying to survive, while we learn how to take the knowledge from our schooling and our internship and combine those with new learnings from having our own buildings. Then, we often need to create systems in order to be as efficient as possible. Part of the challenge, especially in Washington, is that we have a heavy caseload of evaluations. Therefore, by the time we get everything working well we may have forgotten to find our passion within all of those areas we were trained. Having had the opportunity to coach and lead many new school psychologists, I cannot emphasize enough the need to always be looking for and experimenting in all areas that are of interested to you. My first passion was gifted and talented, and I went on to work in that department. When I shifted districts I became very interested in doing counseling, eventually that became 40% of my role. Then, I became very interested in ELL issues, and that is still a huge part of my life. Each and every one of you can do any of these, or something you read from another contributor, or something nobody else has done before. Finding your passion will lead to greater overall job satisfaction.

The heavy caseload of evaluations here in Washington can keep some school psychologists from following their passion. I believe that this heavy caseload of evaluations is likely to be a challenge we face for many years to come in Washington. However, it is also an opportunity to find a way to truly love being a school psychologist. If you combine your passion for a certain domain of skills we are trained in with a passion for completing evaluations, it is likely that your will love your job. I have had many exciting adventures in this realm over the years and across four districts. My passion for trying to understand each student, their needs, and what we might be able to do differently has led to some exciting opportunities. Trying to figure out whether or not the information that I am collecting is converging upon certain points or diverging from certain points fascinates me. In the last SCOPE, Steve Hirsch, Vincent Alfonso and I wrote about the art of the psychoeducational evaluation (in addition to the science). I believe that working toward that art can help create a level of interest and satisfaction in the evaluation process and change the way it is seen by many practitioners.

In closing, it has been a great year as the president of our association. We are in a great place and have the opportunity to keep working as a group to continue both enjoying our work and improving our work. Each school psychologist can hopefully find something from the letters to the SCOPE about loving being a school psychologist. Last, I am hoping that many of you have seen the great work that your association board does for our members and that many of you decide to join the board. The more help we have, the more great things that we can do together.

Steve Gill
WSASP President

Washington State Association of School Psychologists
PO Box 525
Cheney, WA 99004
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