The curriculum of school psychology training programs tend to be fairly similar so as to comply with NASP standards, however each training program has its unique character. The MSPP School Psychology Program has two particular areas of emphasis: mental health and prevention. Fittingly, one of our courses is Preventive Mental Health in the Schools—which, surprisingly, is not found in most school psychology programs.
Preventive Mental Health in the Schools is offered at the end of Year 1 in the MA/CAGS program. Also, since our advanced standing PsyD students who completed their specialist programs at other schools have not had a course like this, we offer a doctoral level section of Preventive Mental Health in the Schools. I invite you to view a video clip (below) from this section, which shows the class practicing and demonstrating a focus group—a useful data collection method. The subject of this focus group is the value of doctoral training in school psychology.
The course instructor, Gayle Macklem, is well known in state and national school psychology circles. She is a former president of the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association, a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops, and the author of several books including, most recently, Evidence-based school mental health services.
Students Work—and Play—with MSPA
Jason Zomick, a 3rd year MA/CAGS student, is currently representing MSPP as the student representative for the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association (MSPA). He also serves as the student member on the MSPA Board of Directors, as this is MSPP’s year in the rotation. In this role, Jason serves as liaison to MSPA student representatives from other local universities. Conveniently for Jason and for students who opt to attend MSPA Board meetings as visitors, the monthly Board meetings are held at MSPP.
Recently, MSPA hosted a second annual Massachusetts School Psychologist Association Fall Kickoff at Jillian’s on Lansdowne Street. Building on last year’s success, over twenty students and early career school psychologists from various districts and graduate programs attended for networking and mentoring opportunities, as well as fun and games. Several members of the MSPA Board attended including Wendy Price (President), Bob Babigian (President Elect), and Lauren Delahanty (Membership).
Event participants were treated to MSPA giveaways goodies such as Rubix cubes, stress balls and notebooks, and entered into a raffle for two free annual MSPA memberships and a stopwatch. MSPA looks forward to carrying on the Fall Kickoff tradition, and uniting students and early career practitioners in the field.
Jason Zomick (center) and MSPP classmates.
Annual Meeting and Party: We Celebrate “the Big 5.0”
As an annual tradition, the School Psychology Program celebrates the winter holidays by shifting the holiday party to early Spring semester, rather than contend with the end-of-semester crunch and holiday season overload. The event doubles as a mid-year program meeting. This year’s event, on February 1st, will recognize the program’s fifth anniversary by inviting our alumni to join MA/CAGS students, PsyD students, and faculty.
The event will feature a brief presentation by Dr. Joan Struzziero, local school psychologist extraordinaire. Dr. Struzziero is a practicing school psychologist in Scituate, an adjunct faculty member in the Northeastern and UMass Boston school psychology programs, co-author of the NASP publication, Professional Development and Supervision for School Psychologists, and co-chair of the MSPA Ethics, Professional Practice, and Credentialing Committee. Another item on the agenda is the announcement of early career supervision for graduates of our program, as well as other programs. In addition to helping novice school psychologists through challenging first jobs, this supervision will allow them to meet the requirements for the Licensed Educational Psychologist credential, which enables school psychologists in Massachusetts to engage in independent practice.