Craig Donnelly, MD & Fellows
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry
February 3, 2022 8:00 am - 12:30 pm
The mission of NHASP is to provide a community for school psychologists in New Hampshire. The Association serves its members by:
NHASP has long maintained a commitment to dedicated and strategic action on behalf of our membership. Part of that commitment is the reliance on a clear strategic plan to guide organizational decisions.
In the spring of 2021, NHASP 2020-2021 president Travis Bickford announced the creation of an updated strategic plan for 2021-2026. This plan continues the strong traditions of NHASP as the leading organization for school psychologists in NH and continues to drive us to strengthen and expand our reach!
In September 2020, NHASP leadership created a Strategic Plan Committee and recruited membership volunteers who were charged with developing a plan that would guide NHASP’s work over the next five years. The goals are purpose-driven, actionable, and aligned to NHASP’s envisioned future. Additionally, the NHASP strategic plan will be further defined and adapted with annual review and action planning. This continuous improvement process will help NHASP celebrate accomplishments, address lessons learned, and respond to the emerging needs of not only its membership, but also to the children and youth of New Hampshire.
All children and youth have access to safe and supportive environments that promote their learning, behavioral, and mental health so that they thrive develop and promote resilience throughout life.
NHASP serves its members by advocating for comprehensive and integrated school psychological services that advance the learning, behavior, and mental health of all children and youth of New Hampshire.
A group of NHASP leaders, led by Nate Jones, has developed a guidance document on school psychology and the return to learning. Recommendations for screening and individual evaluations are given, as well as considerations for how to maintain a broad scope of practice.
The NHASP Study Group on Executive Skills, led by Peg Dawson, has developed two documents. First is a set of "Tips for Caregivers and Parents on Schooling at Home: What Role Do Executive Skills Play." This wonderful set of tips can be used by everyone working with our students during this time of remote learning. The second is a Message for Teachers on Stress and Executive Skills.
Additionally, the NHASP Ethics Committee has provided a guide on the "Delivery of School Psychological Services in New Hampshire During COVID-19 School Closures." This guide outlines many of the important considerations for school psychologists during this time.
The NHASP Executive board created a practice guidance document on Social Justice. It outlines the role that school psychologists and NHASP has in Social Justice. This is a commitment to have social justice as a core value, underlying the work of school psychologists in New Hampshire.
NHASP and the NH Association of Special Education Administrators (NHASEA) are proud to announce the joint adoption of a position statement on “The Appropriateness of Educational Teams Using Conditions and/or Diagnoses Identified by School Psychologists.” Adopted on November 18th (NHASP) and November 20th (NHASEA) 2020, this statement clarifies that school psychologists are able to identify conditions and diagnoses that IEP and 504 teams can then use for eligibility decisions and program planning.
Both NHASP and NHASEA are excited to announce this position statement, which can be accessed at www.nhaspweb.org/papers. Association leaders will continue to partner to promote this statement and advocate for practice changes in our NH schools where needed. In brief, the statement outlines that school teams should not require families to provide a diagnosis from a community provider, such as a physician or a private psychologist before determining eligibility. Additionally, while multiple eligibility areas require the school obtain a health assessment as part of the comprehensive evaluation process, the health evaluation does not need to provide this diagnosis. Instead, the school psychologist can be the professional who identifies the condition or diagnosis for the team to consider, along with the results of evaluations completed by other professionals as part of the team process.
We encourage everyone to read the position statement and consider the implications for practices in their school. Watch for additional resources on this topic coming in the near future. Thank you to all who worked on this position statement, including the NHASP writing committee of Nate Jones (chair), Ryan Long, Dave Smith, and Jonas Taub; NHASEA executive director Jane Bergeron; and Michael Opuda and attorney Gerald Zelin from Drummond Woodsum.
Dave Smith has been a vibrant and essential member of the New Hampshire Association of School Psychologists, working with countless children, adolescents, families and educators in his 30+ years as a school psychologist in New Hampshire. Dave engaged in a wide range of activities, including counseling, consultation, program development, and assessments throughout the state, including school districts in Lebanon, Dover, Hampton, Barrington, Northwood, Nottingham, Strafford, Laconia, Winnisquam Region, Gilmanton, and Franklin. Dave has a passion for being a lifelong learner and continues to engage in opportunities to further his knowledge in school law, school administration, learning disabilities, adventure based counseling, language disorders, and computer programming.
Dave has made essential contributions to the NHASP executive board for 29 years, taking on the roles of Newsletter Editor, Treasurer, and President. He is also a former School Psychologist of the Year. Dave has a keen attention to detail and understanding of what is needed to support the school psychology profession across NH. He was always considered the fiscal hawk and voice of reason on the board, and his understanding of ethical practice and common sense judgement led others to his counsel. NHASP thanks Dave for everything he has provided to others, and continues to do so.
NHASP is pleased to announce that Kathy Secinaro was awarded the 2019 School Psychologist of the Year award this past June, and honored at the ED’ies award ceremony for the work she does as a school psychologist in New Hampshire. Kathy is described by her colleagues as an individual whose "...enthusiastic initiative and efforts have made a tremendous positive impact in the lives of the children, parents, and staff at Barnstead Elementary School." She provides a full range of school psychological services to her community, demonstrates strong communication and collaboration skills, completes comprehensive evaluations, counsel’s students in crisis, and participates in systems change efforts to enhance the mental health of others. Mrs. Secinaro is described as a driving factor in the positive outcomes for kids and inspires fellow school psychologists to shine in their field.”
Another colleague writes, “As a current member of the New Hampshire Association of School Psychologists with many years of experience working in diverse school settings, Kathy brings an impressive toolkit to her work with students, staff, and families in our Barnstead school community serving approximately 500 students preschool through 8th grade. Kathy came to us highly regarded after several years of working collaboratively with school psychologists to deliver a broad range of assessments in the Rochester School District…working among 12 different schools. Prior to that, Kathy worked at Prospect Mountain High School, where she did all of the special education evaluations, as well as counseling for special education students…” Additionally, “Her broad range of experiences with students preschool through 12th grade, her strong communication and collaboration skills, and her strong ability to connect interpersonally with students, families, and staff have led her to be a key resource for our school.”
Congratulations to Mrs. Secinaro from NHASP and the education community!.
NHASP is excited to announce the 2018 recipient of the New Hampshire School Psychologist of the Year, Felicia Sperry. Felicia currently serves as the school psychologist at Mast Way Elementary School in Lee, which is a part of the Oyster River Cooperative School District. During her time in the field, she has far exceeded any criteria needed to earn this prestigious award through both her contribution to students’ lives and school psychology.
Although Felicia’s accomplishments are vast, her most recent leadership role on the district’s Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Committee is especially notable due to its far-reaching impact on the trajectory of students' mental health. Following tragic events within the district, the School Board tasked the two elementary schools with researching and implementing an evidenced-based social-emotional program that could be used across both schools. As the chair of the committee, Felicia led a group of educators and professional staff in researching applicable programs and determining which program best fit the needs of the schools. Following five years of committee work and discussions with administration, both elementary schools will pilot “Open Circle” during the 2018-2019 school year. While change takes time and can be contentious at times,
Felicia never once wavered from what was best for children. She remained energetic, committed, and persevered through a lengthy and arduous process. Due to her unwavering efforts, both elementary schools will begin to better educate the “whole child.” This pilot will also involve teachers completing the DESSA for all students in their classrooms, which is a social-emotional monitoring tool. This process will better allow for early intervention for mental health concerns and places mental health on an equal playing field with academic learning. In addition to this accomplishment, Felicia has developed and shared a school-based program to assist elementary school students with vital executive functioning skills. This involves her teaching students in all third-grade classrooms about specific areas of the brain and their relationship to various executive functioning skills. Felicia has also developed supplemental resources for classroom teachers to allow for greater generalization of learned skills, as well as has offered ongoing professional development to other practicing school psychologists.
I have been blessed to have Felicia as my mentor this year and have gained immense knowledge through our consultations and collaboration. Felicia is a school psychologist who has never lost her joy for the profession or her quest for further knowledge. She is in every form of the word, a true change maker. It is a pleasure to work with, laugh with, and learn from. All students and professionals who have the opportunity to work with her are better for it.
NHASP is pleased to announce that Nathaniel Jones, Ph.D. is the 2017 New Hampshire School Psychologist of the Year (SPY). Nate is a school psychology consultant working at SERESC in Bedford, NH, and is a NH and nationally certified school psychology, licensed psychologist, and board certified behavioral analyst (BCBA). Along with his consultation work for New Hampshire schools, Nate focuses his professional goals towards increasing coordination among educational, medical, and mental health agencies to improve outcomes for youth. This is seen in the professional development opportunities he facilitates and in his work as the coordinator of the Medical Educational Therapeutic Evaluation team at SERESC. Nate’s nomination letter included many wonderful comments from his colleagues who describe Nate as, “an exemplar of what it means to be a school psychologist. He inspires trust, shares his wealth of knowledge, and above all, puts kids first. As a mentor, he is somehow always magically available, even though he is busy working and volunteering a hundred different ways.”
Aside from his professional work, Nate’s advocacy as a school psychologist, in both state and national issues, is commendable. He is always willing to head to the “Hill” to support what is best for children and youth and keeps abreast of current issues in our field so that our association can disseminate information to others in our state. Nate has held many positions in our state association, including six years as state Delegate to NASP, NHASP President, co-chair of the NHASP Government and Professional Relations Committee, and our very own Webmaster. Nate is also the Western Region Representative for NASP on the national Ethics and Professional Practice Committee (EPPC).
The selection for SPY is always a challenging one for the nomination committee, as there are so many wonderful school psychologists among us doing incredible things for the students of New Hampshire. Nate is no exception to that, with his contributions being far-reaching and influential, so we would like to congratulate Nate with this award and thank him for all he does for school psychology.
NHASP has begun a new program to involve graduate students in school psychology in our association more directly. We have long had a graduate student representative as a member of our leadership team. This new program expands the role of graduate students by creating four student assistant positions.
For more information, please see the description of the program. For questions or if you are interested in applying, please contact NHASP Past-President
Meetings will be held from 4:15-6:15 at the NEA-NH building located at 9 South Spring St, Concord, NH. For the 2017-2018 year, the meeting dates are as follows: 9/13, 10/11, 11/8, 12/13, 1/10, 2/7 (1st Wednesday due to NASP Convention), 3/14, 4/11, 5/9, and 6/13. All NHASP members are welcomed and encouraged to come to our meetings.
NHASP Members with New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan. Governor Hassan is recognizing School Psychology Awareness Week with a Proclamation.
The NHASP Gallery is a collection of photographs and videos of various activities that NHASP is involved in. These photos are periodically updated. Enjoy viewing these artifacts!