Out in Front
Updates from the MSPP School Psychology Program
Masters of our Universe(ity)
Susannah Hansen, Year 2 Student
After surviving 8 professors, 1 daunting first-year exam, 35 credits, 11 rigorous courses, a teacher licensing exam, 200 hours of practicum, and countless hours of studying ….we had made it! Well, sort of. If you want to be a school psychologist, getting a master’s degree is a bit like cresting a hill on a hike and seeing a beautiful vista – and then realizing there are still hours to go before you reach the summit.
Still, this past Saturday was a milestone. My classmates and I organized and participated in a small ceremony to recognize completion of our master’s degree. While we still have a year of classes, a year of internship, and a praxis exam to go (at the bare minimum), we all made it through to this important step. We were honored to share the moment with our families and friends, and touched by the presence of faculty members who chose to come to school on a Saturday to attend. One of our professors gave a heartfelt speech sharing his words of wisdom as we trod along on our way to a challenging, rewarding, and often befuddling career (wait, what do school psychologists do again?).
We sealed the deal with a champagne toast and plentiful Italian food in a large conference room on the third floor of the new building, with sunlight streaming in the tall windows. While we still have “miles to go before we sleep,” or rather, much work to be done before becoming licensed school psychologists, stopping to take in the view and recognize our efforts thus far felt wonderful. And now, to the top!
Editor’s Note: Susannah is perhaps too modest to mention that she was the student speaker, and that students planned every aspect of the event, from the invitations and menu to the Jeopardy quiz show entertainment.
MSPP and MSPA
Gayle Macklem, Faculty Member
MSPP is a strong supporter of the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association (MSPA). Every second Tuesday, MSPP hosts the MSPA Board of Directors Meeting, providing a central and accessible meeting place. In addition to the physical support, several MSPP faculty members are MSPA Board members and are very active in support of school psychologists in Massachusetts.
Two MSPP faculty members were recognized with awards at the June 2012 MSPA Board meeting. Bob Lichtenstein, director of the MSPP School Psychology Program, currently serves as chair of the MSPA Education Committee and has been a major contributor to the MSPA model for evaluating school psychologists, as required by recent legislation. Gayle Macklem received an award for her work on the Technology Committee of MSPA. Gayle is the MSPA website editor and editor of two online MSPA courses: The Ethical Practitioner and Beyond Resilience. Gayle and Bob developed units of these online courses, which provide professional development for school psychologists.
MSPA and Me
Alanna Hicks, Year 1 Student
As the MSPA student representative for MSPP I have had some great opportunities this year. Not least of these opportunities is the chance to connect with in the area. In my first month of school, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the MSPA Fall conference. As a volunteer I was able to attend the conference free of charge. I learned a lot about suicide prevention from the speakers at this conference, and also enjoyed the chance to connect with school psychology students from other schools and with practicing school psychologists.
More recently, MSPA held a student social night at Jillian’s in Boston. This was a great chance to socialize with other students as well as other members of the MSPA community. It was a fun and casual event with free food, pool tables and a great raffle. Getting involved with a professional organization is a great way for school students to connect, network and enhance their education in an ever-changing field.
Front row, left to right: Eden Gudonis, Year 3; Alanna Hicks and Christine Anderson, Year 1. Lurking in the shadow is Derek Peterson, Year 3.
Coming Home…to Newton
Bob Lichtenstein, Program Director
Amanda O’Connor, Administrative Assistant
With our move in late August to our bright, modern facility in Newton, MSPP has come full circle. The original location nearly 40 years ago was a rented school building in Newton. Our new home offers spectacular views of surrounding wetlands, easy access to major highways and to downtown Boston, and state-of-the-art classroom facilities and technology.
Coming full circle is also an orienting strategy. We have all had the experience of getting lost in our spacious new surroundings, as we venture to other floors in search of the Financial Aid Office, the Freedman Center, or colleagues in other departments. Walking in circles has proven to be a winning strategy for getting your bearings and, sooner or later, arriving at your destination.