President’s Message Winter 2022
It’s beginning to look a lot like…winter. Winter is such a dichotomy, isn’t it? On one hand it’s the end – the end of the growing season, the end of daylight in the evenings, the end of the warmth and activity that summer holds. But it’s also the start of something new and wonderful – it’s endless possibilities, it’s rejuvenation and renewal, and it’s really, really pretty (well, some days). Winter is also a really busy season for WSPA. We’ve wrapped up the fall convention and are planning for the job fair and spring convention. We also have lots of new things in store for members coming up this year.
It was fun to finish out fall with our convention. This year we met in Oak Grove, just outside of Milwaukee at the brand new, beautiful Homewood Suites. We had a great time, while learning in-depth information about interventions, mental health, supporting marginalized students, supporting healthy teams, next level crisis prevention and intervention, and more. If you haven’t been to a convention in a while, our Whova app really makes it easy to navigate all the activities and to connect with colleagues and presenters. We also had a fun meet up Thursday night that we scheduled through the app. It was great to be able to relax and socialize with colleagues from around the state. Congratulations to Matt Burns and Katie Mork who led our leaderboard on the Whova app. We appreciate your engagement and enthusiasm! Watch for some WSPA swag in the mail in the coming weeks.
We brought our Totally Rad theme from this summer to the convention as well. As I mentioned in my last letter, our summer board meeting had a Totally Rad theme because we were starting the process of taking a radical look at all our practices and procedures. But the convention was Totally Rad for another reason. It really is a “totally radical” time to be a school psychologist. We’ve had some big challenges these last few years with COVID, shortages, concerns about the use of SEL and concerns about supporting our marginalized students. But with challenges come the opportunity for radical growth. We have so much opportunity to make a difference as a school psychologist right now. We are uniquely trained to support students in academics, behavior and social emotional skills. We know schools, we know kids and we know systems. It’s our time to SHINE (sorry for the NSPW pun) and make real change for our students.
I hope you’ve been enjoying our “WSPA Wednesday” social media posts. We’ve been keeping you updated on what is happening with the association every Wednesday with a fresh post. We even posted daily during National School Psychology Week (NSPW), concluding with a fun coloring contest. I love the coloring pages, Emily Prissel our new Public Relations chair created, and I hope you’ve enjoyed them too. They could be a neat addition to your calming corner at work (for you or the kids).
Speaking of National School Psychology Week, what a great opportunity to let people know about school psychology. Our Governor made a proclamation about the week, which we shared out for your use in your advocacy efforts. It’s also a great time to meet with district administration and share about the wide and varied role of the school psychologist. If you didn’t have a chance during NSPW, it’s not too late. It’s always a good time to promote school psychological services. We have great resources through WSPA, including information about advocating for a stipend for the NCSP, and NASP also has a ton of NSPW resources. Advocating for services and supports for kids is always part of what we do – we don’t need a special week for that.
This season I’m thinking about how to incorporate that winter rejuvenation and renewal in my life. I know it’s a really busy time in the life of school psychologists, but why should rest and renewal have to wait for summer? Winter is a time to hunker in, to rest, to read – to get ready for spring. I’m thinking about how to incorporate some things now that will help me in the busy months ahead. Maybe reading up on some topics or evaluating my practices to make sure they still serve me well. I also plan to do some work to support all of you practicing around the state. I hope you’ll join me in making some time for rest and renewal this winter. And I hope you’ll keep engaging with us on social media and by contacting me when you have questions or ideas for WSPA. I love hearing from you.
Katie Johnson, EdS, NCSP
President’s Message Fall 2022
Fall was my favorite season when I was a kid. I loved jumping in piles of leaves, riding bikes and playing kick the can until dark. I loved picking out school supplies and finding new school clothes. And I loved having access to the school library again. As I got older, I started to dread fall. As a young school psychologist, fall meant back to work and the end of freedom. It meant meetings till late at night and weekends writing reports. I didn’t want to hear about or think about back to school until the week it came. But now as a mid-to-late career school psychologist, I’m back to loving fall. I love the cool weather and taking walks in the evenings. I LOVE the return of hot tub season. And I love going back to school. I’m lucky enough to have a great job and fantastic students that I look forward to getting back to.
Fall also means getting back into WSPA. Though I’m new to the president position, I’ve been on the WSPA board for most of the last 17 years. I am so excited about the work we do as a WSPA board. I also feel like it’s hard to “get into” WSPA work during the summer when my brain isn’t focused on school. In the fall I get excited about the possibilities for the practice of school psychology and for what we, as an association can do to support our members and to support students across the state.
Fall is our time to finalize speakers and gear up for the fall convention. School psychologists need specific targeted training in order to keep their skills sharp and stay up to date on advances in the field. WSPA conventions are designed with the working practitioner in mind and provide the information we need to stay at the top of our field and also to fulfill the renewal requirements of the NCSP.
This fall we will also be expanding our advocacy efforts with the support of our new lobbyist, Jack O’Meara. Jack will be working with other pupil services organizations and our legislators on behalf of school psychologists and the students across Wisconsin who we serve. In this time of school psychology shortages, having a seat at the table is especially important. We have a great opportunity to make real change here in Wisconsin. Your membership dues support this important work. Stay tuned for updates about our efforts.
Fall is also the time our school psychology graduate programs gear up for a new school year. As we head into another year of significant school psychologist shortages across the state, it’s exciting to begin training a new crop of practitioners and welcome them into WSPA. In the last few years we’ve added two graduate programs to the state, a traditional training program at Alverno College in Milwaukee, and a non-traditional asynchronous online program in LaCrosse. So we have eight universities which provide two doctoral programs, and nine different EdS programs, including one tailored to students who work full time, one weekend based and one completely online. WSPA is fortunate to have a strong relationship with our training programs and to be able to support students as they develop into practitioners.
In addition to our lobbyist and graduate training programs, WSPA is also working on shortages by collaborating with DPI on a training program for practitioners who want to supervise practicum students or interns. With more students heading out to the field, we have a real demand for practitioners willing to share their wealth of knowledge. Something we hear frequently is that practitioners just don’t know how to supervise students or that they don’t feel they have the skills to be effective. WSPA hears you and is working to get you the information and skills that you need. We want to support you in bringing new school psychologists to your district and our state. Watch for more information coming this fall.
My theme for our WSPA board summer retreat was Totally Rad. We had an 80’s themed meeting with lots of fun and lots of hard work too. As a board we are taking a totally radical look at what WSPA does and how we support our members and the students in Wisconsin. I’m going to continue that theme throughout the school year and encourage you to come with me on this journey of taking a radical look at school psychology. We have so much opportunity right now and I’m excited to talk with you and work together toward the future of school psychology. (And to be completely transparent, I love 80s music, so keeping this theme rolling is totally awesome.)
So please come join me. WSPA is Totally Rad and we need leaders like you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on WSPA and on school psychology. Please drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) or stop and see me at the conventions. We also have open board chair positions and committee positions and are looking for someone just like YOU. Come join our movement.
President's Message: Summer 2022
Thank you all who attended our Spring 2022 In-Person Convention. It was a huge success with such relevant and passionate speakers! Thank you so much to the convention committee, especially Tammy Stowers-Tonn and Rob Dixon, for yet another well-done convention! There are no words to describe the energy of being connected and relating face-to-face with each other. It was such an honor to recognize School Psychologist of the Year Katelyn Oellrich from Mineral Point Unified School District! Congratulations Katelyn!
Our next in-person event will be WSPA’s Long Range Planning (LRP) and Summer Board Meeting. All WSPA members are welcome to join us for a time of reflection, planning, and socializing at Cedar Valley in West Bend, WI! There will be plenty of time to unwind, relax, and have fun connecting with others. It is a wonderful way to take a mini-retreat after a long school year. Because this event is essential to WSPA, we invite all WSPA members to attend free of charge (lodging and food are included when you register for free). If you are interested in attending LRP, please feel free to reach out to us or visit our website for more information.
Keep an eye out for our Spring Ballot, which will be sent via email. We will be voting on our Secretary Executive Board position. We are also voting on rephrasing the WSPA Vision & Mission statement and, most importantly, voting to make our Social Justice Committee a permanent Standing Committee.
Get your voice heard and advocate for our profession! If you are interested in joining our WSPA board, please consider one of the following positions: Technology Chair, Professional Standards and Practice Chair, or a Regional Representative for the Lake to Lake region, Central region, Chippewa Valley region, Pines region, Spawn region, Suburban region, or Coulee region. You can find more information about the board positions on our website or reach out to email@example.com. We would love to hear from you!
As my time as WSPA President comes to an end, I want to thank all board members for your work and support over the past two years. I am thrilled to welcome Katie Johnson as WSPA’s next President and have no doubt she will lead and represent our profession well!
President’s Message: Spring 2022
This time of year, I feel moved to start my newsletter by saying thank you for your service as a school psychologist. The past two years have been interesting. This school year has been the most challenging for me personally, making me more grateful than ever for my school psychologist colleagues, who continue to inspire, challenge, and push me to grow. Many of those friendships have been developed through serving on the WSPA board and being a WSPA member. Connection with family, friends, and colleagues has never seemed more important than this year.
If you, too, are looking for ways to connect with school psychologist colleagues and make a difference in our field, you may want to consider getting involved with the WSPA board. We currently have some open positions on the board. If you are interested, please feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, make sure to get the WSPA Spring Convention on your schedule. It is currently being planned for in-person March 3rd-4th and will not disappoint! There will be opportunities to attend PREPaRE 2: Mental Health Crisis Interventions: Responding to an Acute Traumatic Stressor in Schools, hear updates from DPI specific to the new EBD rule, learn ways to support the mental health needs of students, and much more!
We also are gearing up for our WSPA Employment Fair on February 25, 2022. It will be hosted at the Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells. If you are looking for a school psychologist job, you don’t want to miss this. The WSPA Employment Fair is the only Employment Fair in Wisconsin devoted exclusively to School Psychology! The fair will bring together employers and candidates/interns to get acquainted through networking and screening interviews. School districts from around the state and region are invited to meet with experienced school psychologists seeking a new district and school psychology students seeking an internship. You can learn more and sign up on our WSPA website: https://www.wspaonline.net.
Finally, it is never too early to plan for a summer getaway! WSPA Long Range Planning (LRP) 2022 is scheduled for June 23rd – 24th at Cedar Valley Resort in West Bend. All WSPA members are welcome to join us and collaborate with school psychologists across the state. There will be plenty of time to unwind, relax, and have fun connecting. It is a wonderful way to take a mini-retreat after a long school year. Because this event is essential to WSPA, we invite all WSPA members to attend free of charge (lodging and food are included when you register for free). If you are interested in attending LRP, please feel free to reach out to us or visit our website for more information.
In closing, may I encourage us all to stay connected with others and end with this quote from Helen Keller: ALONE WE CAN DO SO LITTLE. TOGETHER WE CAN DO SO MUCH.
President’s Message: Winter 2021
We have been busy at WSPA, and so appreciate your continued support and commitment. Thank you to
all who attended our Fall 2021 Virtual Conference. It again was a huge success with such relevant topics!
I want to extend a special thank you to the convention committee, especially Tammy Stowers-Tonn, Rob
Dixon, and Denise Meyer, for all of their work and collaboration with the Illinois School Psychologists
Association to pull off another fabulous virtual conference. We are excited to announce that our Spring
conference is expected to be in-person, March 3 rd -5 th , and tentatively scheduled at the Wintergreen in
the Wisconsin Dells.
As many of you know, our roles as school psychologists in schools are more prevalent than ever with the
increasing needs of our students and families. We are proud to announce that the Honorable Tony
Evers, Governor of Wisconsin, has officially proclaimed the second full week of November as National
School Psychology Week in WI. This gubernatorial proclamation will recognize school psychologists each
year in correspondence with the National Association of School Psychologists NSPW initiative. This is a
tremendous honor and serves to celebrate YOU and the work you do each day to ensure children and
youth thrive in school, at home, and in life. WSPA would like to recognize and thank Rachel Davis, Caleb
Flack, Eliza Godfrey, Miranda Zahn, Maria Szalkowski, and Carly Holtzman from the UW-Madison School
Psychology graduate program for the vital role in making this happen!
Please be sure to check out our website for resources and ways to connect with other school
psychologists in our state. One fantastic opportunity free to all school psychologists in WI is a monthly
Race Brunch being offered by our Social Justice Committee. This winter, our Employment Fair is also
back in person on February 25, 2022, at the Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. You can sign up
for either of these events on our website.
We are committed to advocating and promoting equitable services in our state for our children and
families as an organization. In addition, we will continue to promote our profession and provide
opportunities for school psychologists to collaborate and have access to relevant learning opportunities.
We appreciate all the work school psychologists do and would like to thank each of you for dedicating
your life to improving the lives of students.