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President's Message

Cassie Mulivrana Ed.S., NCSP, Snohomish School District - WSASP President

The Rolling Stones sang, “Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.” That certainly feels true this fall! As we wrap up fall and rush headfirst into winter quarter, I find myself constantly worrying about the next thing, not really paying attention to the now. At the 2021 WSASP Fall Conference, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel discussion on MTSS in Washington State with Justyn Poulos, OSPI’s Director of MTSS. While I found the information I learned valuable (still available on the WSASP website!), the greatest impact for me came when Justyn asked us all to stop and pause for 30 seconds. I hadn’t realized how much I needed to take a moment to ground myself. It allowed me to clear my head and focus on my work in a thoughtful way rather than rushing. I hope that Winter Break was that pause for you and that moving forward you are able to make some time to take care of yourself.

As a school psychologist, I find myself constantly reminding teachers and school staff that the students we work with are dealing with something no other group of students has ever been through before. We need to be patient, give grace, and meet them where they are. That same logic applies to us. Now that schools are back to providing in-person services, we are expected to administer standardized assessments once more, conduct classroom observations, resume interventions that were on hold during remote learning, and meet with parents in person. These are all things we did before the pandemic hit, so why does it feel so much more stressful?

As adults, we’re expecting that we can just go back to doing the same work we did before, but our jobs and the environment in which we work are completely different. One of my favorite pieces of advice came from Dr. Rebecca Branstetter’s “4 Pillars of a Thriving School Psychologist” training. Dr. Branstetter reminds us that not every evaluation report has to be like a custom-made Vera Wang dress. We can write reports that are ethical and legally defensible without burning ourselves out, similar to Vera Wang’s line for Kohls, Simply Vera. If you want more ideas on how to stop burnout and streamline your work, Dr. Branstetter has made the pdf of her book, The Thriving School Psychologist, free for everyone on her website at thrivingschoolpsych.com/freebook.

Masks, social distancing, cleaning protocols, and Zoom, while necessary, have made establishing and maintaining relationships harder than ever before. I work in a middle school, and our school-wide SEL survey showed that students feel like they don’t know their teachers. When we all went into isolation, we stopped doing the little things that helped us connect on a daily basis. In the stress of returning to in-person learning, we forgot to pick them back up again. My building’s student intervention team put together a list of quick things we can do with no preparation to build relationships, and I turned it into a visual to share with the teachers in my building. I hope you will share our infographic below with your school teams and maybe even try a few things yourself. Quick Tips for Teachers

Don’t let another quarter rush by in the blink of an eye. Make sure you take care of yourself and connect with those around you.

Washington State Association of School Psychologists
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