Welcome to the 2012 Conference on the Future of School Psychology. For the past year and a half, the Futures Planning Committee has been privileged to engage in intensive planning that culminates in this meeting. We believe that the activities in which you will engage in during the conference will provide crucial guidance to our discipline to ensure our relevance and responsiveness in meeting the needs of children, their families, and their schools. All of us will work to lay out school psychology’s role in addressing critical issues that face children, families, and schools in the 21st century. Past conferences have represented significant milestones in forming school psychology’s identity - milestones that have both guided and marked our development into a mature specialty within American psychology. We know who we are and where our competencies lie. Now is the time for us to turn outward, to apply our extensive expertise and organization to improving the health, education, and mental health of those we serve.
The 2012 conference will be a single point in time where we will pause collectively by turning off cell phones and taking a hiatus from email. We have worked to ensure that input to the decisions we will make is as broad-based as possible. There are a number of host sites around the world where school psychologists, university faculty and graduate students are gathered to analyze, debate, and discuss school psychology’s contribution to children, their schools, and their families. Additionally, every school psychologist that has a computer and wants to participate can contribute to every step of the process.
There is a long road ahead. We will not change the profession overnight. However we must recognize the tremendous resources school psychology can marshal to effect change. The participants at the 1954 Thayer conference could not have imagined that 15 years later the National Association of School Psychologists would form and over the next 43 years grow to an organization of 23,000 school psychologists. Or that the American Psychological Association would have an annual budget in excess of $60 million. Could anyone have forecast that that NASP, Division 16, the Society for the Study of School Psychology, Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs, Trainers of School Psychologists, American Academy of School Psychology, American Board of School Psychology, and the International School Psychology Association would be sponsoring a multi-site conference asking hard questions about how the specialty of school psychology can use our collective resources to better meet children’s needs?
We have a lot to accomplish. Regardless of whether you are student in training, at the early, mid, or well-seasoned stage of your career, it will be stimulating to wrestle with the pivotal questions facing our specialty. We have high hopes for the 2012 Futures conference. It is a working conference, including significant background preparation, challenging discussions, critical analysis, consensus building, and much effort to follow-up.
In preparation for the 2012 Futures Conference, you may wish to peruse resources from the 2002 Futures Conference. Several of the resources from the conference are available on the 2002 Futures Conference website.