Monday, November 1, 2010

School Psychologists Promote Positive Possibilities

National School Psychology Awareness Week, November 8–12

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has designated November 8–12, 2010, as National School Psychology Awareness Week. This year’s theme, “Today is a good day to … SHINE,” helps students and schools focus on strengthening positive relationships and increasing positive experiences. The program involves a series of resources and activities that school psychologists can use to reach out to school staff, students, and parents to help students feel connected, supported, and ready to achieve their individual goals.

NASP represents more than 26,000 school psychologists who work in schools and other education and health settings. School psychologists work with parents and educators to ensure that every child has the mental health and learning support they need to succeed in school and life.

“This year’s theme ‘Today is a good day to … SHINE,’ expresses the importance of increasing the number of positive experiences students have throughout the school day,” says NASP President Kathleen Minke. “Students’ school and life success can be greatly influenced for the better through simple acts that reinforce a positive outlook, such as offering a kind smile, saying ‘thank you,’ trying something new, or encouraging a classmate.”

Additionally, school psychologists will be recognizing students who make significant progress toward their goals through the Student POWER Award program and honoring adult members of the school community who contribute in an outstanding way to improved outcomes for students through the Possibilities in Action Partner program.

“Too often, children focus on what they see as big problems or the things they can’t do, rather than what they can do,” emphasizes Minke. “We can help shift this perspective by highlighting small steps to making a positive difference, easy actions that are within their control.”

Positive habits in children’s daily lives also can contribute to the overall school community and climate, and promote the kinds of positive interactions and relationships that are critical to school and life success.
After its successful first year, NASP is once again rolling out the Gratitude Works program. An effort to have students around the country write letters of gratitude to someone who has made a difference in their lives or the lives of others, the program seeks to reinforce students’ practice of gratitude as one of many pro-social behaviors that can foster individual resilience and well-being and contribute to overall positive school climate.

School psychologists around the country are working with teachers to help students identify and honor school staff, family members, students, and other educators or community members who contribute to their ability to achieve their best. Some students are choosing to write letters of gratitude to people who they do not know personally, such as military servicemen and women and emergency responders.

Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan offers a school psychology program, which can be completed in three years of full-time study. This program has been accredited by NASP since 2000. As a program that adapts to the upcoming changes in the field, our Andrews University school psychology graduates are highly prepared for the field and have 100 percent job placement.

For further information contact Elizabeth Lundy, school psychology program coordinator, 269-471-6251 or lundy@andrews.edu.

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