Washington State Association of School Psychologists
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President's Message
Dear Colleague,

This is my last President's message! I say this both joyfully and with great hope as our association moves forward under the leadership of Sherri Bentley. Sherri will begin her Presidency in June 2014 and is currently planning for work to move forward during the 2014-2015 year. This work begins at our executive board summer retreat, a two day meeting where we review the work that's been done in the previous year and plan for upcoming initiatives and events. I'd like to provide a little summary of my own perspective regarding the past two years in our association (Yes, you've had to put up with me for TWO years, as we did not have someone run for president elect in 2012).

First, our membership in the association is clearly rebuilding! While our membership dipped during years affected by financial cutbacks (2010-2012), we see many new and renewed memberships coming in. We also have Area Reps now in every geographic region, and we are improving our overall communication capabilities. That being said, we continue to experience some challenges with communication, and I hope you will all join with us to improve our systems. First, several districts block our group email system from 123 Signup. If you want more frequent news from us but are not receiving emails, please talk with your tech support. Emails generally come in from the President (so right now from sruby@ewu.edu), but they are generated from our membership program, 123 Signup. Secondly, if you are not hearing from your Area rep, you may not be on his/her distribution list. We are trying to come up with better ways for our Area reps to connect with you, but we don't have a perfect system yet. Please find your Area Rep's contact on the back page of the SCOPE, and email him/her to be added to a list if you're not receiving communication.

Our goal for membership in the next years ahead will be to continue to build benefits for members. We are working diligently to develop a "Members Only" feature in our website. Because we are a volunteer organization, this work takes time, so stay tuned and feel free to jump on board with us if you have skills/knowledge/interest in website development!

Our executive board is very busy behind the scenes. We have a growing number of school psychologists volunteering to help with conference planning, governmental affairs, professional practice papers, and ethics/professional issues. I am very thankful for the work of Carrie Suchy, our NASP SPAN liaison and co-chair of the Governmental Affairs. She and co-chair Megan Frye are planning on reconnecting with several strong stakeholders in our state over the next few months. Carrie also manages our Facebook group and will be collaboratively planning an Ethics workshop at fall conference. I'm also very glad to say that Phil Koester has returned to our board after practicing internationally and is re-establishing leadership in the Ethics Committee along with Ginger Alonzo.

Finally, we are re-building much needed communication and relations with OSPI. We are very interested in seeing what our state's top educational office would like to see from school psychologists! One thing we are hearing is a need for fully comprehensive evaluations. As this need is expressed, it is time for us to fully consider what this means. When working with students, are we evaluating in all areas of suspected disability before taking a certain pathway in determining the presence of a disability, the adverse impact of the disability on learning, and the need for specially designed instruction? OSPI would really like to see this before we ever determine that, for instance, we are evaluating a student that we suspect has a Specific Learning Disability with a certain methodology/model. In conversation with OSPI, we all agree that we need to move toward assessment practices that provide meaningful guidance for intervention development. I truly believe that our draft of the Professional Practice Guidelines for Evaluating Students Suspected of Having SLD represents movement towards more meaningful assessment. Hope you'll read the document, available here: www.wsasp.org/position2013.html . This document is still a DRAFT, but we'll be voting to approve the document at fall conference in Skamania.

Speaking of fall conference, we have a fabulous line-up with many speakers and are featuring an in depth training by the co-authors of Essentials of Cross Battery Assessment, Third Edition, Dawn Flanagan, Sam Ortiz, and Vinny Alfonso. We will end their multi-session training with a panel discussion that will include Doug Gill, Director of Special Education for OSPI. The focus of this panel will be to define and clarify the important components of a comprehensive assessment. Hope you will join us!

As Past-President, I will be joining the Governmental Affairs group and will turn attention to advocating, along with these amazing leaders, for an expanded role of the school psychologist. We'll be targeting issues such as ratio of students to psychologists and Medicaid billing. We must ALL speak up regarding the potential of our profession to have positive impact on student academic and social/emotional growth at the individual, group, and school-wide level. Thank you for your support over the past couple of years. I am proud to call myself a school psychologist!!!


Susan Ruby, PhD, NCSP
WSASP President
Director, School Psychology Ed.S. Program
Eastern Washington University

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