Values and Assumptions

  1. The focus of the conference is on current and future needs of children, families, and schools and the capacity of school psychology to provide services to meet the needs.  The focus of the conference is not simply to advance the field of school psychology or protect the jobs of school psychologists.
  2. Diversity—of the clients we serve, of school psychologists, of other professions—will be celebrated and respected at all times.
  3. We are faced with a shortage of school psychologists, with some parts of the country impacted more than others.  However, the shortage cannot be addressed adequately by simply recruiting more individuals to the profession.  We recognize that we must consider alternatives to, and possible restructuring of our service delivery practices, as well, in order to plan for the shortage and ensure that adequate services will be provided to children, families, and schools.
  4. In order to maximize our future services to benefit children, families, and schools, we recognize that we must consider all aspects of school psychology, including pre-service graduate training; services provided by individual school psychologists and school psychological services units; the organizational components of school and community agencies; public advocacy at the local, state, and national levels; etc.
  5. The conference participants are encouraged to be innovative—to go beyond the “tried and true” of school psychology practice.
  6. The conference will provide many opportunities for discussion on-site and at remote sites, but will be structured and organized to focus on outcomes and actions.  It is important that the conference be viewed as much more than an opportunity for talk and interaction---the conference must lead to the actual implementation of plans at the local, state, and national levels.
  7. A number of professional groups are participating in the conference, including the eight major national sponsors and many groups at the state and local level.  One outcome of the conference will be a national agenda that all eight sponsoring associations will be asked to contribute to in some way.  Groups at the state and local level are asked to develop agendas that serve the purposes of the state and local groups, but that also may contribute to the national agenda.
  8. To facilitate accomplishment of conference goals, a problem-solving process will be used in the 2012 Futures Conference. On-site and remote site participants will proceed systematically through problem-solving steps, beginning with pre-conference activities and continuing through conference and post-conference tasks. Although a number of different group activity models could have been selected for the conference, the problem solving model was selected because it is a familiar model for most participants, is expected to result in efficient and effective activities, and will allow the contributions of both on-site and remote site participants.
  9. It was necessary to limit the agenda in order to have sufficient time and resources to implement the recommendations that result from the conference.  Thus, pre-conference activities included selection of three themes that will be the focus of the conference. We will maximize our influence by concentrating on our efforts on no more than six to eight outcomes.  We recognize that we cannot possibly cover all issues at the conference, but must focus on the most important.
  10. When conceptualizing strategies we will be able to do more by recognizing the importance of resources that exist beyond school psychology.  Social workers, counselors, other psychological specialties, paraprofessionals, etc. represent important mental health resources.  All professions will be treated with respect for their potential contributions to services for children.
  11. Some of the associations participating in the conference historically have disagreed about certain guild issues.  Discussion of these issues of disagreement (e.g., doctoral/specialist entry level, licensure for private practice) should be conducted at other venues, not at the 2012 Futures Conference.
  12. The on-site and remote conference participants represent a wealth of backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints.  The diversity of participants is recognized as an important contributor to the success of the conference.  Differences of opinion are expected (and welcomed), and all participants—and their viewpoints—will be treated with courtesy and respect.
  13. In order to facilitate the effectiveness of the conference in developing workable action plans, the conference schedule has been carefully planned.  Please stay on time and on task.  Please note that break-out group facilitators on-site and at remote sites have been given structured tasks to accomplish for each breakout session.  Facilitators will keep all group activities moving along at a fast pace .
  14. All breakout participants are expected to contribute equally to discussions, brainstorming, and action planning.  Participants will allow others in their group with opportunities to contribute to the discussion, will stay on task and focused on the topic of discussions, and will not dominate the discussions in their group. Group facilitators will promote contributions from all participants and will keep discussions from getting bogged down on less relevant topics, and will prevent discussions from being dominated by one or two outspoken individuals in the group. 
  15. Change is inevitable and naturally will result in some anxiety about the future of school psychology.  Although our conference is about improving services to children, families, and schools, we must recognize and be sensitive to the anxiety and fear within our profession. We must anticipate the predictable consequences of change.