“Helping children thrive in school, at home, in life.”
This statement, promoted on the home page of the National Organization of School Psychologists, speaks to my heart in a very personal way. It is the current motto of our profession, our creed, and the purpose-driven reminder of what we are about every day, even when others may not be so sure about what our jobs even entail. We know that what we do is crucial to the lives of the children and the families that we serve.
Helping all children thrive! To thrive means to prosper or flourish. As school psychologists we are asked not only to help our students meet grade level standards, but to prosper. This is not always an easy task. Each day we are challenged to do the impossible – to carry and successfully complete heavy caseloads; to navigate the murky waters of special education law; to maintain our codes of ethics while simultaneously attempting to appease those that disagree with us; to consult and collaborate our way through multiple school buildings, all while ensuring and protecting the mental and emotional well-being of the children in our districts. Helping children thrive is beyond challenging when school psychologists are burdened with so many overwhelming duties on a daily basis. Quality provision of services to children remains a demanding endeavor.
As your new WVSPA president, I take great pride in serving as your first two-year term leader. My goals are to continue to bring awareness to the many issues that are at the forefront of our field, and to promote and support ongoing legislative efforts that those before me have worked so tirelessly to develop and introduce to our state leaders. Additionally, the delivery of mental health services to children in schools remains a central focus of mine. During my term, it is my sincere wish that we are able to work together with stakeholders and state leaders to cultivate mental health service programs in schools that directly involve school psychologists. Too many of our children are not able to access necessary mental health resources in this state, and I strongly feel that it is time to fight for change with regard to that unfortunate circumstance.
Our country is currently experiencing a politically ambiguous time in many areas but especially in education. With hot topics such as the future of Medicaid, the Reauthorization of ESSA, and school choice, the roles and duties of school psychologists may begin to shift as new policies and procedures take effect, depending on the direction they take as our new political leaders make decisions that could redefine our traditional ways of conducting business in schools. As a state organization, we will remain current on these topics by adhering to NASP guidelines and standards, and we will offer support to you as we pilot our way through this time of uncertainty.
Recently, our incredible WVSPA technology team (Christina Hare and Holly Yoke) redesigned our website. Here you can access information about upcoming events, including our fall conference to be held at Oglebay Resort in October, as well as a plethora of resources to assist you in your career. I encourage all of you to visit the website regularly and contribute your thoughts and ideas. Without you, the members, WVSPA would not possible! We value you and your support, and I personally look forward to talking with each of you over the next two years and serving you to the absolute best of my ability.