WASHINGTON STATE ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS
Vol. 43, Issue 2, June 2022
- President's Message
- Secondary Summer Institute Preview
- Fall Conference Preview
- ESA Behavioral Health Professionals Roles Specific to Social and Emotional Health and Wellness
- Assessments in the time of COVID19
- Professional Judgment: General and Specific Definitions of What it Means for School Psychologists
- Will We Ever Clarify the Use of Professional Judgement (PJ) in our Evaluation Process?
- 5 strategies to gain parent buy-in early in MTSS
- Letter to the Editor: A final piece of advice from an old school psychologist
- Legal Case and Commentary
- WSASP Leadership
- Emails for Area Representatives
- SCOPE Advertising Guideline
- Contact SCOPE
These past two years during my term as President-Elect and then President have been filled with so much change. From learning how to do our jobs remotely to re-learning how to be social and work with others in person, it seems like nothing ever stays the same. Change can be hard and uncomfortable. It forces us to think outside the box and try new things.
But change isn’t all negative. With change also comes opportunity, such as the opportunity to reshape our jobs into what we hoped they would be. I don’t know about you, but when I started my first year as a school psychologist 14 years ago, I certainly wasn’t thinking, “Gee, I hope I get to administer assessments and write reports all day for the rest of my life!” I saw myself and still see myself as a learning specialist. I tell parents and kids that my job is to determine how kids learn best so I can help their teachers to be better teachers and to use student strengths to help them grow.
This year I tried many new things. Some of them were successful, like leading an executive functioning intervention group. Others were terrifying and total disasters, like the first time I did Mindful Monday with meditation in the gym and a group of seventh-grade boys showed up to goof off and derail my lesson. But every bit of it was a growth opportunity. I’m great at planning, but I’m also great at procrastinating, and sometimes the doing takes much longer than it should. Without action, we never get to do the evaluating. I don’t mean testing, but rather examining our practices and determining what is going well, what we need to do differently, and what new tools and learning have to happen to get there.
Lately, I’ve found myself trying to look toward the future. Instead of focusing on what isn’t going well in my job, I’m asking myself, what do I want to see in my future and what smaller steps should I be taking now to help me get there?
As this school year comes to a close and you look forward to the future, what was it that you were hoping you could do? What’s your first step in making that a reality?
Secondary Summer Institute
Tuesday, August 23, 2022, at the SeaTac Marriott
WSASP is proud to announce the return of an in-person Secondary Summer Institute designed for school psychologists working in schools at the secondary level. Register here.
Students in secondary schools are presenting with a myriad of issues that require mental health intervention and extensive parent contact and support. These concerns can lead to requests for 504 plans and special education evaluations. Many parents are angry or at a loss as to how to help their adolescents. This year’s institute is dedicated to communication with parents and creating effective plans.
8:30 a.m. Continental breakfast and last minute in person registration
9:00 a.m. The Effective High School IEP - What Every Parent Needs to Know
A well-received workshop given for the past 11 years to the parents of incoming 9th graders. It emphasizes the difference between a High School IEP and previous IEPs and the parent’s role at the IEP meeting.
Presented by Steve Hirsch, PhD, Retired School Psychologist
10:45 a.m. How to Help Parents Talk to Their Kids About Depression, Suicide, and Self-harm
Practical application for parents and examples of presentation ideas to give at parent meetings.
Presented by Julie Ray, M.Ed., CAAS, Counselor, Snohomish School District
12:15 p.m. Lunch (to be provided)
1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. Tying It All Together With Respect to Behavior and Discipline The presentation will review the laws and regulations associated with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) governing special education student discipline with a detailed discussion on convening manifestation determination meetings.
Presented by Carl Corbin, General Counsel, School and College Legal Services of California
WSASP Fall Conference 2022 PREVIEW
Thursday Oct. 13 - Saturday Oct. 15 at the SeaTac Marriott
From the WSASP PD Committee
We live in a world of superlatives to describe just about everything. Rather than risk being called hyperbolistic, let us just tell you what you would be missing if you do not attend this year’s Fall Conference, which is truly one of a kind.
What gives us the right to make such a claim? Diversity of sessions and having something for everyone is the key to a highly successful conference. The conference that relies on two or three speakers can be quite positive if what those two or three speakers have to offer is what you are looking for. Our typical WSASP Fall Conference sees 20 - 24 speakers on a variety of topics with workshops that delve deeper into topics for two to three hours. This year, we are boasting close to 40 presentations and 14 three-hour workshops! These longer workshops will give you the opportunity to really explore a topic and not just scratch the surface.
Our typical WSASP Fall Conference is in-person, and during the dark COVID days we offered a remote conference. Last year we tried to deliver an entirely hybrid conference, which impacted the experience and costs for the association. So rather than substantially raise rates or risk quality, we are primarily in-person this year. However, there will be some live remote sessions with speakers in other parts of the country, and we are including a ‘Hybrid Friday’ where select sessions will be delivered in a hybrid format to both in-person and zoom audiences. These are sessions aimed at more than a heterogeneous school psych audience. We are hoping that you will share the topics with your school administrators and counselors to entice them to join.
We will provide a continental breakfast and light lunch to those attending sessions beginning Thursday, and we will have our social hour on Thursday evening. On Friday we will provide a full breakfast and lunch, along with breakfast on Saturday. The conference ends around lunchtime on Saturday. We also provide unlimited coffee!
Registration will be open soon at wsasp.org. Register as soon as possible to take advantage of the early registration discount. Please be aware that there will be an extra charge for those registering one week prior to the conference. We will also be asking you to let us know which sessions you are likely to attend as it helps us arrange proper rooms for the sessions.
ESA Behavioral Health Professionals Roles Specific to Social and Emotional Health and Wellness
Revised April 2022 by the ESA Behavioral Health Coalition
Originally Published in 2016 by the ESA Behavioral Health Coalition
Members of the ESA Behavioral Health Coalition, 2022:
Carrie Suchy, NCSP, School Psychologist
Cassie Mulivrana, NCSP, School Psychologist
Jodi GreyEyes, MA, School Counselor
Marin Marks, MEd, School Counselor
Carrie Syvertsen, MSW LICSW, School Social Worker
Caesy Morphis, MSW, School Social Worker
Liz Pray, MSN-Ed, RN, NCSN, School Nurse
Heather Graham, MSN, RN, School Nurse
The Education Staff Associate (ESA) Behavioral Health Coalition is a grassroots advocacy group with members representing the Washington State Association of School Psychologists (WSASP), the Washington School Counselors Association (WSCA), the Washington Association of School Social Workers (WASSW), and the School Nurse Organization of Washington (SNOW). We originally created this document in 2016 as an easy reference about how our professions each provide direct and indirect mental and behavioral services to students as school-based mental health professionals. After five years our group agreed to revise these documents to better reflect our current best practices. These documents are based on the best practice models from each of our national organizations, and refer to the education provided in nationally-approved training programs for each profession. This is not to imply that all professionals in these roles are providing all of these services, nor is this to be seen as an exhaustive list of all services these professionals may provide. All four professions promote the use of evidence based practices and interventions, and this is to be implied in the information provided below. These documents specifically address the social and emotional health and wellness of our students, which is only one domain of service each profession provides. It should be noted that many of our colleagues in Washington state are staffed at a ratio incompatible with the provision of comprehensive services. It is the intention of the ESA Behavioral Health Coalition to raise awareness of the scope of training of these professionals and to advocate for more collaborative services models allowing all four professionals to work together in serving Washington’s youth. All four of our professions advocate for collaboration with one another and other professionals within a Multi Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to provide an Interconnected System Framework (ISF), and all four professions are qualified and trained to participate on MTSS teams as well as to provide data, expertise, and recommendation for universal supports. We also recognize that special education services happen throughout all three tiers and are not tied to a specific tier, and so special education or IEP related services are not referenced in the MTSS aligned tiered document.
In working on the revisions to this document in 2021, the ESA Behavioral Health Coalition agreed that equity and social justice needed to be more visible in this document. All four professions agree that equity and social justice drive each interaction we have with students, families, and the community. Each of our professional organizations have positions or statements regarding the responsibilities of these professionals in the work of equity and social justice. The ESA Behavioral Health Coalition stands in solidarity with these statements.
We believe that systematic racism must be eliminated from the United States and this elimination can begin with school systems, school staff, families, and children. Racism, a public health crisis, threatens the health, educational attainment, and well-being of children and adolescents. School systems hold a profound formative influence in the lives of students. Where racism exists, students of color experience adverse impacts on their health, well-being, and learning. Schools must be systems within communities where antiracism is the default culture and climate (NASN). We have an ethical responsibility to engage in social justice and anti-racism action (NASP). We believe that all students have the right to an accessible and high-quality education within an equitable, safe, supportive, and healthy learning environment (WSCA). We advocate for the equitable treatment of all students in school and in the community (ASCA). We are well positioned to be transformational leaders in promoting equity, inclusivity and supportive school environments. Guiding efforts to heal our communities is fundamental to our practice not only through the direct services provided, but also through advocacy efforts (SSWAA).
ASSESSMENTS IN THE TIME OF COVID 19: A REVIEW OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY PRACTICES IN WASHINGTON STATE FROM SPRING 2020 TO FALL 2021
Laree Foster, Ed.M., M.A., NCSP, Vancouver Public Schools
Vincent C. Alfonso, Ph.D., Gonzaga University
Leayh Abel, Ed.S., NCSP, Vancouver Public Schools
Cassie Mulivrana, M. Ed.S., NCSP, Snohomish School District
The Washington State Association of School Psychologists (WSASP) Assessment Committee created a series of surveys to gather data regarding the experiences of school psychologists related to assessment practices in Washington state during the COVID-19 pandemic. The surveys were conducted in Spring 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021, respectively. Survey results document the role of school psychologists during an unprecedented pandemic and offer reflections about how the field of school psychology may be influenced in the future. Results from the most recent survey from Fall 2021 are summarized. Click here to see the full article
Professional Judgment: General and Specific Definitions of What it Means for School Psychologists
WSASP Ethics Chair
Tacoma School District
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent reopening of schools, there are revived questions of how professional judgment may be used effectively to (1) promote the professional practices of school psychologists, and (2) to promote special education eligibility for students suspected of having disabilities and in need of specially designed instruction as essential components of their curriculums. There are questions regarding the meaning of professional judgment. This piece argues that professional judgment has multiple meanings depending on the context where such judgment is considered. One of those contexts is purely individual, applying to any school psychologist or practitioner employed to promote the educational needs of students depending on one’s credentials and job description. The other is specific to group determination based on the statistical error and typically is applied to establish special education eligibility, when applied, using the Specific Learning Disability category. A short description of professional judgment, individual and collective, is the basis of this paper.
Will We Ever Clarify the Use of Professional Judgement (PJ) in our Evaluation Process?
Shoreline School District
We currently have a very limited perspective on the term Professional Judgment as it applies to our evaluations. Contrary to its intuitive roots, the term is not, at least in WAC form, meant to apply to our thinking process. It is focused on our inability to apply the discrepancy tables to determine SLD eligibility BECAUSE we have evidence that the standardized test results we obtained are of questionable validity.
And what exactly is this limited definition of Professional Judgment? From the WACs, 392-172A-03070 (pg.44):
“(2) Where the evaluation results do not appear to accurately represent the student's intellectual ability or where the discrepancy between the student's intellectual ability and academic achievement does not appear to be accurate upon application of the discrepancy tables, the evaluation group, described in WAC 392-172A-03050, may apply professional judgment in order to determine the presence of a specific learning disability. Data obtained from formal assessments, reviewing of existing data, assessments of student progress, observation of the student, and information gathered from all other evaluation processes for students being identified for a specific learning disability must be used when applying professional judgment to determine if a severe discrepancy exists. When applying professional judgment, the group shall document in a written narrative an explanation as to why the student has a severe discrepancy, including a description of all data used to make the determination through the use of professional judgment.”
So my first side note will be, “What exactly results in us questioning the validity of our test of either cognitive functioning or academic achievement?”
5 strategies to gain parent buy-in early in MTSS
Cara Nissman, LRP Publications.
This article was forwarded to WSASP by Bill Elvey, Special Education Services, OSPI
Parents should know about a district's multi-tiered system of supports long before their child gets to the point of needing Tier 3 interventions. It should be clear that MTSS is a "comprehensive continuum of evidence-based, systemic practices to support a rapid response to students' needs, with regular observation to facilitate data-based instructional decision-making." 20 USC 7801 (33). Otherwise, parents may lose trust in the district and question whether staff members view parents' participation in their child's education as a priority. Special education directors should ensure staff members take the following steps to build parents' trust in MTSS from the beginning.
How to build trust of parents in MTSS
1. Learn parents' concerns.
Survey parents at the beginning of the year to find out:
•What they think are their child's main struggles.
•What issues regarding their child's education are important to them.
•What resources they need.
Later in the semester, survey them again to see if and how their concerns have changed. Draw on this information when meeting with parents to show an understanding of their needs.
2. Clarify what MTSS is.
Provide parents with information in print, in email, and in person on how MTSS works, including what progress monitoring looks like, and how the process helps students. Also, consider posting videos about the MTSS model on the district website. Use simple language. Do not use any jargon.
3. Be culturally sensitive.
Bring school personnel and families together for cooking, music, and other activities that show and allow them to discuss cultural traditions and experiences, and so people get to know one another and build mutual understanding and trust, which will be necessary later if they must collaborate on a child's intervention.
4. Offer parent training
Make classes available to parents throughout the year on how they can support their child's academic and social-emotional growth. Include:
•Guest speakers on timely topics.
•Lessons on how to motivate their child.
•Tips for communicating expectations to their child.
•Ways to reinforce interventions they are receiving at school.
5. Give parents leadership roles.
Give parents who want to be involved the opportunity to disseminate information about interventions available to other parents. They can help put fellow parents at ease about the MTSS process. Also, ensure parent-teacher associations know how to explain MTSS.
Cara Nissman covers autism, school psychology, and IEP team issues for LRP Publications.
Sumner-Bonney Lake School District
I love Diet Coke… Probably a weakness of mine. I also love reading and books in general… probably a good thing. This is where this short story starts. I was in line at McDonald’s to get my $1.00 extremely large Diet Coke and I was listening to my favorite author, Harlan Coben, on an audio book in Spanish.
When I paid, the young lady spoke to me in English. But, the line was long and she then noticed my book was in Spanish. She said to me, like I have heard a thousand times before, “YOU speak Spanish?” My response would translate to, “Of course, why wouldn’t I?” She gave an honest and great answer, “Because, you don’t look anything like someone who would speak Spanish!” I asked, in Spanish, “Is it because I am white?” She answered, very strongly and with a beautiful smile, “Yes, and you are old!”
The word prejudice used to either mean, or at least imply, pre-judging. Currently, there is an argument that it actually never meant that, but I have zero doubt that pre-judging was the implication. We, as humans/animals needed to have prejudices. If we didn’t, we would not have survived. However, sadly, we have taken that and racist and racism and made a big mess of all of those words and concept.
Backing up for a moment, when I was a little kid the world around me thought that I was retarded (I am using that outdated term because it is what I remember some people calling me). Much later in life, when writing about that in a book that Ushani and I wrote, I had a reader tell me that the same thing happened to their cousin for the same reason. As little kids, neither of us could effectively communicate. Our speech and language was severely impaired, not just a mild problem. That cousin went on to graduate first in their class at John Hopkins medical school. Both of us were “pre-judged” by what was a small part of us as human beings.
Another reason for writing this short article was a recent experience I had with a student. There is a student at the school in which I am currently working who has a lot of unwanted behaviors. Recently, she was screaming in the hallway and was being ignored. There were some very good reasons for this, but that is a story for another day. I made the choice to ask her if she needed help, and she told me through her tears that she had hurt her foot. So, we got her an ice bag and took care of that. She had been ”pre-judged.”
How on earth does this have anything to do with racist and racism? Well, usually, racist issues and racism occur when there are judgments made about other people that are based on the surface level. Like, that old white man cannot possibly speak Spanish. That wasn’t racist or racism, but in my opinion, it has the relationship of being the slippery slope that can lead a person to racist behaviors or racism, especially if they grow up in an environment in which those believes are held, and fostered.
What can we do? Like with that young lady at McDonald’s, we can each make the choice to assume positive intent. Some people will tell me that that is too simple. Some people will tell me that that is hard, after so many micro aggressions against them over time. Maybe those people have a valid point, but what is the risk? If we always assume positive intent, we will sometimes be wrong. However, we will likely enter into countless discussions with our emotions and thoughts in a much better place. Therefore, in the end, our outcomes will be far more positive. And, we will be spreading positivity to those around us, instead of the fears and ignorance that feed prejudice, and potentially racism. The best part is that this is simply an individual choice that each of us gets to make. And, if we fail today, we can try again tomorrow, and succeed tomorrow.
Letter to the editor: A final piece of advice from an old school psychologist
Shoreline School District
As I embark on the end of my 49-year educational career (35 of which saw me as a school psychologist), I would like to give one parting word of advice to a group of professionals I truly admire. Actually, this will be much longer than one word - my apologies. If you choose to wade through this, please understand that it represents ONLY MY OPINION.
Washington schools are in the midst, albeit early in the midst, of revamping their views of how to assist struggling learners. Rather than simply put them in remedial classes based on gut instinct or parent/doctor/attorney insistence, we are going to attempt to do a better job of identifying at-risk students (be it academic, social-emotional or behavioral) through universal screening, initiate low-level intervention that will help many but not all of them, engage in a deeper diagnostic assessment of their skill deficits for those not progressing, and then if necessary, intensify, individualize or change the interventions. This is known as a multi-tiered model of system support or MTSS. It will hopefully encompass all disability categories across all ages. My guess is that it will start out with a focus on reading at the elementary school level. Big mistake but that’s another essay.
Click here for the full article
LEGAL CASE AND COMMENTARY: Screening test confirms child needs IDEA referral, services for dyslexia
Case name: M.W. by Moore-Watson v. Rankin County Pub. Sch. Dist., 122 LRP 5444 (S.D. Miss. 01/05/22).
Synopsis and commentary by Steve Hirsch, Shoreline School District
Ruling: The U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi held that a district violated its child find duty when it failed to timely evaluate a grade schooler with dyslexia, ADHD, and a speech impairment. It also determined that the district denied the second-grader FAPE. The court partially reversed a hearing officer's decision in the district's favor but denied the parent's request for tuition reimbursement.
What it means: Numerous factors could contribute to a young child's poor performance on a screening test. Still, if the district has concerns after screening a child for a disability, it should take a closer look at the child's academic record and circumstances to determine whether he should be referred for an IDEA evaluation. When this grade schooler initially failed a dyslexia screening test, the district should have immediately reviewed the child's grades, teacher comments, and other records. This review would have enabled the district to promptly identify signs that the child had dyslexia and initiate the evaluation process in a timely manner.
WSASP 2021-2022 Officers:
- President: Cassie Mulivrana
- President Elect: Carrie Suchy
- Past President: Alex Franks-Thomas
- Secretary: Gina Caulton
- Treasurer: Arick Brannen
WSASP 2022-2023 Officers:
- President: Carrie Suchy
- President Elect: Mikael Olson
- Past President: Cassie Mulivrana
- Secretary: Gina Caulton
- Treasurer: Arick Brannen
WSASP AREA REPRESENTATIVES 2021-22
SCOPE ADVERTISING GUIDELINES
Over 2000 school psychologists and other educators currently receive the SCOPE
1) The services or products offered (advertised) shall provide potential direct and/or indirect benefit for school psychologists; children; and/or families. Benefits are not to be limited to the field of education.
2) The advertisements must be in good taste, meaning suitable for viewing by children and otherwise non-offensive i.e. non-sexist, nonracist, etc.
3) The company purchasing the advertisement space must be an established company in business for over five years and with known products. If the company's status does not meet this criterion, WSASP may require a catalog of products or services offered; a sample of products offered to preview; and/or references of prior service recipients. If the product/services are judged to be of likely benefit, the account will be accepted.
4) Product and service accounts are to be encouraged. Paid political advertisements and paid public policy statements will not be accepted unless approved by the executive board.
5) The Scope Editor will use the above guidelines to accept or decline advertising accounts.
6) The Scope Editor will refer questionable accounts to the WSASP executive board when the guidelines above are not sufficient to make judgment.
7) The WSASP executive board reserves the right to reject any accounts deemed below our standards of professionalism or of possible detriment to our Scope readers or association. The WSASP Board has approved these guidelines for organizations or individuals interested in advertising in our newsletter.
8) WSASP address is: 816 W Francis Ave, #214, Spokane, WA 99205
* For rates and conditions please email: SCOPE@wsasp.org