President's Message

Moving forward for children and adolescents: The Division 16 2013 agenda

The plan is to continue the strategic plan developed several years ago to advance science, practice, and policy for school psychology.

By Vincent C. Alfonso

I am honored and proud to lead Division 16 in 2013. From my perspective, the division has made many significant strides towards being one of the more active and influential divisions within the American Psychological Association (APA) thanks to many who have preceded me in this position including Tammy Hughes, Cecil Reynolds, Bonnie Nastasi, Karen Stoiber, and Elaine Clark. I would like to express special thanks and recognition to Shane Jimerson for his guidance, tutelage, and patience in working with me and preparing me for this undertaking. He has been an engine powering the division forward and for that I and all of us are very grateful.

I would like to acknowledge those Executive Committee (EC) members who completed their service in 2012 including Karen Stoiber and Sue Swearer. At the same time please allow me to welcome David Shriberg and Amanda Sullivan to the EC of the division. These individuals along with the returning EC members are committed to working diligently and tenaciously for all members of the division and for the best interests of children and adolescents. In addition, I would like to acknowledge Rosemary Flanagan as editor of The School Psychologist (TSP) and Jennifer Cooper as president of the Student Affiliates of School Psychology (SASP).

In thinking about the goals for the division in 2013, I knew that I wanted to continue the good work that my predecessors had done rather than create a brand new agenda that could derail us from the strategic plan that was put in place several years ago. Enumerated below are the goals that I discussed with the EC at our mid-winter meeting that took place in Washington, DC on January 24-25, 2013 at APA headquarters:

  • Continue the strategic plan that was developed several years ago to advance science, practice, and policy for school psychology.

One of the major initiatives of the division with respect to advancing science, practice, and policy was the creation of working groups.

The original three groups, Globalization of School Psychology, Social Justice and Child Rights, and Translation of Science to Practice and Policy, continue to forge forward under the leadership of Sissy Hatzichristou, Stuart Hart, and Susan Forman, respectively. The EC voted unanimously at the mid-winter meeting to add a fourth working group, Mental Health in the Schools, that will be led by Jim DiPerna (Vice President for Convention Affairs and Public Relations) and Stacy Overstreet (Vice President for Education, Training, and Scientific Affairs). The EC was fortunate to meet with Chief Executive Officer of APA, Norman Anderson and his staff to discuss the White House's proposals regarding gun control and mental health. In fact, the EC provided written feedback to APA and the division is committed to working with APA in the future to ensure that we are having a positive impact on children and adolescents.

  • Continue to become more integral participants in APA via elections to boards and committees (APA governance).

The EC recently reached out to the division membership requesting volunteers to be nominated for various APA boards and committees. This effort has been led by president-elect Linda Reddy as chair of the division's Governance Committee. I am delighted to report that many members responded to Linda's outreach and will appear on the nominations ballot for various APA boards and committees. I invite others to e-mail Linda (lreddy@rci. rutgers.edu) of their interest in becoming active members of the division and APA. In addition, the division will have a third council representative in 2013 thanks to all the votes in support of the division! There is no better way to influence the governance of APA than having multiple council representatives and we will be fortunate to have three in the months ahead. Finally, three division members attended the annual Division Leadership Conference that took place in Washingon, DC in late January. I would like to thank Robin Codding, David Shriberg, and Amanda Sullivan for their time and energy in representing us at the meeting.

  • Increase membership.

It is no secret that membership in many organizations has been decreasing and our division is no different. Therefore, in the near future we will begin a membership campaign under the leadership of Vice President for Membership, Jessica Hoffman. The division will be reaching out to past members via e-mails, letters, and phone calls to encourage former members to consider rejoining the division and taking advantage of all that the division has to offer.

  • Increase communication within the EC and within the division.

The mantra of the division for 2013 is communication! I have no doubt that with increased communication within the EC and the division, we are stronger, better, and more productive. More than a year ago, we began the President's Committee which consists of the president, past-president, and president-elect. The members of this committee speak bi-weekly to discuss issues, concerns, initiatives, and strategies. When we have a president-elect-elect in a few months, that person will join the committee. In addition, I have requested that Shane, Linda, and I communicate with specific EC members on a monthly basis to ensure regular contact within the EC. Finally, we hope to begin regular announce-only e-mail blasts to inform all division members of the good work that is happening in the division.

  • Continue to develop our excellent Web site and what we can offer members via the site.

The division Web site is simply the best source of information about what is happening in the division. If you have not visited the Web site, I strongly encourage you to take a look and learn! David Shriberg is our Vice President for Publications and Communications and this year Shane Jimerson is the chair of the Technology Committee. They are always open to new ideas so please send them e-mails with your thoughts (dshribe@luc. edu and jimerson@education.ucsb.edu, respectively).

  • Continue to involve and integrate students in the division via SASP.

During the past two years, SASP has become more involved in the division's activities and we have integrated students in the division more so than ever before. Most recently, several students volunteered to become members of the division's working groups. The participation of students in the division is vital to the continuation and growth of the division. Clearly, students are our future and we should do as much as possible to encourage them to become active regular members after they graduate. I would like to thank Jennifer Cooper for her leadership of SASP and for involving more students in the division.

  • Maintain presence on the School Psychology Leadership Roundtable (SPLR).

I have been attending meetings of the SPLR on a regular basis. This "roundtable" includes several other school psychology groups whose primary focus at this time is the Affordable Care Act. All of us are eager to see and hear how this act will affect school psychologists and of course the children and adolescents we serve. In future issues of TSP, I am sure we will provide you with updates and important information on this landmark act.

  • Communicate with future leaders of the division the strategic plan and initiatives that have been in place for the past 5-7 years and plan for the future.

The EC is making concerted efforts to ensure that future leaders are aware of the initiatives that have been in place for several years. For example, the past presidents of the division have communicated the strategic plan with members via e-mails, the Web site, and TSP. EC members are encouraged to run for different elected positions in the division and in APA for continuity and consistency. Our Governance Committee has been communicating regularly with interested individuals about the direction of the division. Finally, the EC is thinking about revisiting and modifying our strategic plan in the next year or two.

As we begin a time of perhaps unprecedented attention to children and adolescents, please take some time to learn about the division and think about becoming more active. I am available to answer your questions and assist you in navigating through the myriad activities of the division and offer you a genuine and heartfelt welcome!