Dear OSPA members and friends of OSPA,
I hope all of you had a restful summer vacation spending time with loved ones, sharpening your saw, and preparing for the 2023-2024 school year. I hope your transition back to work was filled with warm greetings from your colleagues, a slow, uneventful start, and allowed time for you to get settled in. Then again, we’re school psychologists, when does that ever happen!?
First and foremost, I wanted to thank all of your for electing me to this position. Holding the office of president for the oldest school psychologist organization in the country is nothing short of an honor. It is my mission to uphold the duties of this position with the highest integrity all while keeping each and every one of you at the forefront of my decisions and visions.
Being a part of OSPA, in any capacity, is something to be proud of. As president-elect, I attending the Regional Leadership Meeting (RLM) for the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) in February 2023. The focus of the RLM was to discuss the national shortage of school psychologists. Throughout the two days, I listened to various school psychologists stakeholders from around the country discuss their most pressing concerns as well as problem solve. Numerous times, from session to session, Ohio was mentioned as being one of the leaders in innovation on how to combat the shortage crisis. When reviewing each state’s organization, Ohio had the most slides. Outlined, were our legislative advocacy efforts, our Executive Director position, our strong membership, and the Future School Psychologists of Ohio club. The immense pride I felt not only to be present for Ohio, but to be an elected official, I can not put into words. The initiatives and supports we have here in Ohio are those that other organizations are trying so desperately to develop and create. It brought me a new perspective and appreciation of what it meant to be a member of OSPA. I hope this does for you as well.
The Executive Board held its summer meeting in Columbus Aug. 11. Discussion was held surrounding new legislation, updates to our website, and ideas surrounding the Community of Practice Grant. Ideas for the COP grant included another book study following the success of the previous study, more webinars, and continued sponsorship of conference costs and first year memberships. Committee workspace time allowed for collaboration amongst the committees in updating their SMART goals set the previous year.
For the 2023-2024 year, OSPA will be working to update its Strategic Plan. This time will serve to either continue with our existing plan or to make revisions that align with our needs today. A Strategic Plan Task Force was formed from voluntary members of the board. The group will work to modify/strengthen the following goals:
- Promote professional competency through high quality professional development offerings aligned with national standards of practice.
- Engage in advocacy efforts and communication with external organizations to promote the field of school psychology and effective services for children/families/schools.
- Promote culturally responsive services to students and families and diversity/multiculturalism within our organization and profession.
- Provide effective and substantial member services to attract and retain a robust membership that sees the value of our organization.
- Develop policies and procedures that promote operational excellence within our organization.
If any of these areas are of interest to you, please reach out to Rachel Chilton and she can align you with members tasked with leading these efforts.
Finally, our annual fall conference will serve to enrich our scope of practice once again! Wednesday we continue to tradition of holding an ethics session by none other than Dr. Kathy McNamara. On the first full day of the conference, we have an extended ODE Update from the Office of Exceptional Children, while our p.m. session consists of a panel discussion surrounding the importance of behavioral and mental health supports. Our final day of conferencing is once again split into two session. The morning will focus on the evaluation and diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders under the BASC-3 Model, while our afternoon session will focus on developing our understanding of SLI vs. SLD.
As we continue into the first quarter of the school year, my hope for all of you is that you don’t forget your WHY in the daily shuffle. Always remember to prioritize your big rocks and sharpen your saw! Let’s make this year one to remember!