Presidential Perspective 2018-2019 #1

Dear ISPA Members,


I write my first Presidential Perspective to you with all of the energy and excitement that comes with the beginning of the school year!  I am honored to hold this position as your ISPA President and look forward to a year filled with positivity and growth for our organization’s 40th year!  This is my 5th year of involvement in ISPA leadership, having spent three years as Secretary, prior to becoming part of the presidential team last year. This year I wanted to build upon Roz’s theme of Leading Lasting Change, and continue with the momentum that came out of last year.  My theme this year was inspired by ideas that originated from books we read in our ISPA professional book club. Both, The Will to Govern Well, and The End of Membership as We Know it, referenced the importance of partnerships for sustainability of organizational membership.  I was drawn to this idea because I felt that it fit so well with what we do as School Psychologists.  We partner with parents, teachers, administrators, community organizations, and most importantly: students; in order to progress toward the goal of improved academic and social emotional outcomes for our students.  My theme with year is Positive Partnerships with Purpose.  In addition to advancing our partnerships with other organizations and entities, I want to also underscore the importance of remaining positive about the work that we do, and always keeping our purpose in the forefront.  We must have an idea of our purpose if we are to know where we are heading. My goals for ISPA this year include increasing value for our members, therefore increasing numbers of members and attendees at our events, such as Fall Conference and Convention.  One way we are adding value to ISPA membership is offering the ISPA Supervision Credential. We partnered with university faculty including Mark Swerdlik, Dennis Simon, and Tracy Cruise to develop and facilitate training to obtain the ISPA Supervision Credential.  The first of its kind, this credential is recognized by NASP as a distinct professional competency, and this training is offered throughout the state this year and is absolutely free to all ISPA regular members. I am looking forward to attending training myself in Chicago in the coming weeks.  


Another goal I have this year is to continue to elevate our profession and to advocate for the myriad of roles that a School Psychologist can hold in the schools.  One byproduct of the unprecedented level of school violence that we have seen in recent times is the elevation of school psychologists to the forefront of supporting schools and students.  We will be seeing this in upcoming legislation in Illinois and I encourage you all to pay close attention to the role that we as school psychologists can play in supporting school based mental health.  I have known many school psychologists who have been considered the “steady hand” in crisis situations. Our knowledge and qualifications allow us to play an important role in supporting students and our districts in preparing for and responding to crises. I myself am currently undergoing PREPaRE training, having had Workshop 1 in the Spring and looking forward to Workshop 2 in October.  I am reminded about the vital and unique role we as school psychologists play in crisis preparedness and response. A previous survey from our membership committee indicated organization-wide interest in crisis response resources. I can only imagine that this interest has increased in the years since those survey data were collected. It is my hope that we can utilize ISPA resources, such as our Community Forum feature on our website to jumpstart a Crisis Response community.  Please feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected]  if you have interest in moving this important work forward.  

While my current position as an administrator distances me from working directly with children, I am reminded every day by my own children why our work as School Psychologists is so important.  My three-year-old began Pre-School this year, and while she seemed to adjust fairly well to the change, among the feedback I received from her teacher was that she talked too much during nap time.  Being my daughter, this did not entirely surprise me, as we are a chatty people.  When I asked my daughter why she was talking so much during nap time, her response was simply, “I just have so much to say.”  We should listen to our students, as they do just have so much to say. The wisdom and “kid logic” that we are privy to from our students are really things to which we should pay attention, and ways by which to live.  As I embark in my year as your ISPA President, I pledge to listen to you and to work to meet the needs of our members as best I can. I welcome dialogue and constructive ideas as we continue to evolve our organization to meet the needs of the modern School Psychologist in Illinois.  


Daphne Perry, MA SSP


Illinois School Psychologists Association 2018/19