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26 May 2022School Psychologist Blogs
26 May 2022
Here I go again, the day after a school shooting, off to support the fearful students and staff I work with.
I wish I could tell them something like this will never happen again (it will).
I wish I could tell them it won’t happen here (it has).
I wish I could tell them they are safe (are they?)
And I wish I could guarantee the safety of my own children, but I can’t. Because every time this happens, I think of the Newtown parents who woke up one day like it was any other morning, who got their kids dressed, fed them breakfast and hurried them out the door, as I do each morning. They kissed their child goodbye at drop off, and that was literally the last time they saw them alive.
I think of the children, how scared they must have been, and the staff who threw their bodies over children to protect them, and those who confronted the monster head-on. I think if I would have been as brave. I think of how that year, Connecticut went from a place of carefree childhood elementary schools to one where police officers monitored drop off and pickup. One where I suddenly questioned my office being in the front of the school, and where I realized the significant impact of my social-emotional interventions.
I was only a school psychologist for 3 months before Newtown occurred two towns away from me, so I don’t remember work before these horrific acts were part of it. Now, lockdown drills, sharing school violence resources, and assessing risk for violence are just a typical part of my job. In a time when educators are already burnt out and leaving the field, the last thing we need to worry about is if today’s day of work will be our last on earth. We need to do better.
21 May 2022
08 May 2022
#psychedpodcast is excited to welcome Dr. Melissa Bray and colleagues! Melissa A. Bray is a Professor and the Director of the School Psychology program within the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. She is a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. Dr. Bray is an elected member of the Society for the Study of School Psychology. She is licensed as a psychologist in the State of Connecticut, holds national certification in school psychology, state certification in school psychology, and licensure in speech language pathology. Since receiving her doctorate in 1997, she has published or has in press over 200 articles, chapters, and reviews in the professional literature along with many books; further she has presented over 150 scholarly papers at national and international conferences. In several studies on faculty productivity it was determined that Dr. Bray was the first or second most prolific contributor to the 5 primary journals in school psychology. Further, she serves as associate editor of the International Journal of School and Educational Psychology and has served as an associate editor of School Psychology Quarterly. Of interest, she is the co-editor of the first Oxford handbook of school psychology. She has also guest edited numerous issues of Psychology in the Schools including topics on video self-modeling, behavior disorders, positive psychology, statistical reform, childhood obesity, counseling, social emotional disorders, equity-based practice, and autism spectrum disorder. As co-principle investigator, she has secured over $2 million dollars in student training contracts. Of particular significance, Dr. Bray was the 2003 recipient of the prestigious American Psychological Association Division 16’s Lightner Witmer Award, the Division’s highest honor given to young scholars. She has also been involved in state, national, and international professional associations including service as Vice-President, Social, Ethical Responsibility, and Ethnic Minority Affairs, and President of APA’s Division 16 Executive Committee. Dr. Bray has also served as Division 16’s convention chair, hospitality suite coordinator, chair of the Division’s publications committee, and as a member of the conversation webinar series. She currently is D16 VP for Membership. Her research interests are in the area of interventions for communication disorders mainly stuttering and selective mutism, mind body health, integrated behavioral health care, and physical health and wellness, especially in the areas of asthma and cancer.
05 April 2022
Please join #psychedpodcast in welcoming Dr. Schonert-Reichl!
Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl is an Applied Developmental Psychologist and a Professor in the Human Development, Learning, and Culture area in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She is also the Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership in the School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. Dr. Schonert-Reichl began her career as a middle school teacher and then was a teacher for “at risk” adolescents in an alternative high school. She received her M.A. from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She was a National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellow in the Clinical Research Training Program in Adolescence at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry.
Dr. Schonert-Reichl is a renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL) research with children and adolescents, particularly in relation to the identification of the processes and mechanisms that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism, and resiliency. For more than two decades, Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s research has focused on the social and emotional development of children and adolescents in school and community settings. Her current projects include studies examining the effectiveness of classroom-based universal social and emotional learning (SEL) programs including the MindUp, program, the Taxi Dog Educational Curriculum, and the Random Acts of Kindness program. Dr. Schonert-Reichl is also conducting interdisciplinary research in collaboration with neuroscientists and psychobiologists examining the relation of executive functions and biological processes to children’s social and emotional development in school settings.
Dr. Schonert-Reichl has received numerous awards and honors for her work. She is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute and a Fellow of the Botin Foundation’s Platform for Innovation in Education. In 2009, Dr. Schonert-Reichl received the Confederation of University Faculty Associations BC (CUFA BC) Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award. As the associations highest honor, the award recognizes an individual for sustained outstanding contributions to the community beyond the academy through research or other scholarly activities over the major portion of his/her career. She is also the recipient of the 2007 UBC Killam Teaching Prize in recognition of excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching, and the 2004 Vancouver School Board Recognition Award for her work promoting social responsibility in students. In 2006, Dr. Schonert-Reichl was on the organizing committee for the visit of the Dalai Lama for the “Vancouver Dialogues,” and was the chair of a dialogue between the Dalai Lama and leading educators, researchers, and policy makers on the themes of cultivating compassion and educating the heart. In 2009, she was again in conversation with the Dalai Lama on the topic of social and emotional learning at the “Vancouver Peace Summit,” and she was then featured in a documentary about the event titled 4 Paths to Peace.
05 April 2022
April 5, 2022SHARE:
Several years have passed since I’ve been able to go home.
Not the one I sleep in every night with my family. I’m talking about the one I came home from the hospital to, and got on the school bus in front of, and ate my mother’s home cookin’ inside. And yes, it is cookin’ in the South. Her fried chicken alone is a memory that will last forever.
As I walked across the front porch, the little wooden swing was long gone, but the concrete steps and painted railings welcomed me. Inside, sturdy hardwood floors spoke up with the same creaks I’d come to know sneaking in late at night. My old bedroom that once gyrated to my 80’s music, where the walls muffled hundreds of phone calls to friends, still stood as if waiting for me to return to its safety.
What made the house special was so much more than the wood, brick, and stone my parents designed and built on land that came through my paternal grandparent’s farm. It stands for legacy. We all have a legacy. The lineage of family. The people who made you – you. Biology is half of who we are, while environment is the other. Seven generations before and after each one of us house the mystery of our unique selves and the future selves that continue on long after we finish our residence here on Earth.
Memories of our moments growing up are gifts we have of our caretakers and loved ones that linger deep inside. Mine come out in my cooking, gardening, raising children, grandchildren, and even the chickens I tend each day. Beyond my parents, I fondly recall the days of my grandmother singing to me and feeding me my favorite hot meals. She made me feel safe, and unconditionally loved. Her passion and outspoken convictions remind me now of the strength of the women before me.
I may not do her justice, but her memory is transferred to those who carry on beyond her and beyond me. The house of my youth is a wonderful reflection of years of life and growth that are not in vain, even after it is long gone.
Whenever you find yourself questioning the value of your everyday efforts, please remember the big picture. While we are busy tending the details of our lives, we build that legacy. It is never too late to share the best of ourselves and tell our story.
We all have a story. Who will you share yours with?
01 April 2022
Test Anxiety Strategies
Here at Wheelock Elementary School, our third graders will be taking the MCAS testing next week.
I thought I'd share some great strategies for any of our students who may get nervous.
Here are some helpful tips and hints:
1. Get a good night sleep
2. Eat a good breakfast
3. Create a personalized positive mantra for your child
- "I've got this!"
- "I am smart and I am prepared"
- "Everyone makes mistakes"
- "It's okay to take my best guess"
4. Help children to re-frame their nervous feelings:
If your child feels jittery or a bit sweaty, you can help re-frame this by telling them it's their bodies way of getting them excited for the challenge ahead. Like an athlete getting nervous before a big game.
5. Make sure to myth bust:
- Taking the MCAS has nothing to do with whether kids go to fourth grade or not
(some kids have this misconception for whatever reason)
- Also, remind kids that they can have all day if they need to, the MCAS are indeed untimed
6. Focus on the positives, most teachers do not give homework the week of MCAS
and there's usually extra recess.
Also a little extra treat at home after their hard work never hurt anyone :)
Further resources/articles that inspired these strategies:
01 April 2022
01 April 2022
I’ve made it known before that I am a huge Julia Cooke fan, and the book I wanted to share about today is one of my favorites that I find myself reading to my students over and over again.
I hear the Soda Pop Head song over and over and over in my head after reading this story about Lester, a boy who struggles with anger issues, and who other students are not very kind too. I think the things that make him mad are relatable to many of my students.
Do you have this one? If not, check it out!
23 March 2022
Join #psychedpodcast as we chat with Dr. Max Pearl!
23 March 2022
#psychedpodcast is pleased to welcome Dr. John Murphy! John Murphy is a Professor of Psychology & counseling at the University of Central Arkansas, a former finalist for NASP School Psychologist of the Year, and an internationally recognized practitioner, author, and trainer of collaborative, solution-focused approaches with young people, families, and school problems. He taught in public schools before working as a full-time school psychologist in Covington (KY, USA) Public Schools for 13 years. Dr. Murphy continues to provide therapeutic and consultation services to young people, adults, families, schools, and other agencies. His books have been translated into multiple languages, including the recent 3rd edition of the award-winning book, Solution-Focused Counseling in Schools. His work is featured in the NY Times bestseller Switch and the DVD training series, Child Therapy with the Experts. Dr. Murphy serves as a consultant and trainer for the North American Chinese Psychological Association (NACPA) and a Project Director with the Heart & Soul of Change Project, an international research/advocacy group that promotes respectful, client-directed services for marginalized persons of all ages and circumstances. He is a sought-after keynote and workshop speaker who has presented to thousands of helping professionals, teachers, parents, and others throughout the US, Europe, China, Japan, New Zealand, Vietnam, Canada, and elsewhere. His workshops are consistently rated as practical and inspiring. https://www.drjohnmurphy.com/index.html