Above, are members of the class of 2004 with Dr. Merydith at the conference.
Critique By Aubrey Elmore
RIT School Psychology students attended the 31st Annual NYASP Conference. This year's conference theme, "Building Visions for Tomorrow", offered School Psychologists opportunities to reflect on the current professional issues, gain the knowledge, and the various perspectives to meet the needs of today's children and to plan for the future.
An overwhelming number of the second year school psychology graduate students attended the Friday morning panel discussion that focused on the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. Short presentations by professionals from three local school districts occurred. This helped us learn more about this important legislation that will greatly impact school districts for many years to come. Also, Mr. Jim Viola from the New York State Education Department provided additional information from the state's perspective on this new act of legislation. For example, NCLB focuses on the achievement aspect in the schools and all students must reach proficiency within twelve years. When stating all students this includes: students with disabilities, the 5 subgroups of race/ethnicity populations, students with limited English proficiency, students from poverty stricken families, and students of migrant status must meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) in all categories.
Kevin Duffy, Adjunct Professor from RIT, led the panel discussion at the NYASP Conference. During the fall quarter, Professor Duffy instructed the second year school psychology graduate students in the course, Alternative Assessment. As part of the course requirement, Professor Duffy requested each student research and write a paper on this new legislation in order to become more knowledgeable in this area. Additionally, students were asked to interview professionals in the field on this new Act passed by Congress. Unfortunately, few professionals were familiar with the NCLB Act of 2001. Overall, RIT students were well prepared for the presentation.
As Ms. Susan Nablo, Assistant Superintendent from the Lockport City School District, simply stated during her presentation, "The main thing is to keep the main thing our main thing, otherwise we will be the ones left behind…the main thing is instruction in the schools!" In closing, the overall common theme provided by the panel was that this is a great time for school psychologists to enter the districts if you want to make a difference with these kids.
The RIT school psychology graduate students also attended an interactive session where they were able to ask questions about internship, job opportunities, interviewing, and any additional current student concerns. Lynne Thies, Ph.D., School Psychologist and Adjunct Professor at St. Johns University, led the student roundtable discussion. Professor Thies recommended when interviewing for internship positions, it is important to not just be interviewed but to interview the school, as well.
Also, it is imperative to consider individual expectations and the personal experiences one desires to accomplish during this year of training. Internship is a year to develop skills, learn, and become more competent professionals in the field of school psychology. Also, it was suggested to consider how up to date the school district currently is and how accessible the supervisor will be to you. Overall, be aware of your own individual needs when considering internship placements. Also, Professor Thies suggested becoming very knowledgeable about the laws and ethics prior to your internship year. Finally, when searching for an internship it is important to look for a supervisor who maintains a continuation of education, nationally accredited, and open-minded to the current developments in the field.
Professor Thies also thought it was important to stress that an intern does not replace an employee during the internship year. In other words, be used not misused! Finally, when sending resumes always follow-up with a phone call to the district. This adds a little personal touch that makes such a big difference. Also, Professor Thies suggested that prior to your interview it is recommended to research and gather information about the school district to show the interviewer your enthusiasm and knowledge about that particular school.
Overall, RIT school psychology second year graduate students' feelings regarding the student roundtable discussion were extremely positive. They expressed an enthusiasm about internship searching and interviewing in the spring. Most importantly, RIT students felt the school psychology program, professors, and practicum supervisors have guided, prepared, and trained each student to feel competent in preparing for this transition from education training to the professional application of their acquired knowledge.
Critique By Cathy Offen
The New York Association of School Psychologists (NYASP) conference was held October 24-26, 2002 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Rochester. The conference was widely attended by all the first and second year RIT school psychology students. For the first year students (class of 2005) the conference represented a great opportunity to meet influential people in the field of school psychology and learn more about their areas of interest, research, and practice. Among the more notable presenters was the esteemed Dr. Albert Bandura, the psychologist best remembered for his Social Learning Theory and the importance that observational learning has on shaping children's behavior. Many RIT students attended his presentation regarding the impact self-efficacy has in education. Some of RIT's own School Psychology professors (Dr. Paul McCabe, Dr. Virginia Costenbader, and Dr. Jennifer Lukomski) also presented. Dr. Paul McCabe talked about the social behaviors of language delayed preschoolers. Dr. Virginia Costenbader spoke about the debate regarding inclusion of emotionally disturbed children into regular education classrooms. Dr. Jennifer Lukomski gave a presentation about the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in the schools. The students of RIT were both proud to see their teachers being so well received by other professionals and also appreciative of learning new materials that hadn't been previously covered in their classes.
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter was an invited guest. She was presented with the "Friend of Children and Families" award for her contributions she has made to children and families as a public servant. It was particularly pleasing to be reminded that we have representatives such as Louise Slaughter in our government who are such great advocates for children and help support this work that school psychologists do.
Among the speakers whom the School Psychology students found most informative, was Dr. Caroline Magyar from the University of Rochester who conducted a workshop on Asperger's disorder. Her workshop was packed with more people than there was room for, all of who were eager to learn and absorb more about this intriguing disorder. Dr. Magyar described the identifying characteristics of Asperger's disorder, as well as provided an overview of educational interventions useful to school psychologists with the most up-to-date research and current knowledge.
The conference provided a great deal of new and useful information for practicing school psychologists and graduate students alike. For RIT's students, it was a chance to learn from well regarded practitioners about what the latest areas of research are within the field of school psychology. And more importantly, it's cool when conferences are held in the same town where you go to school. Very little travel time to fret about!