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Department of Educational and School Psychology Contributes 18 Presentations to Recent State and National School Psychology Conferences

Students and faculty from the Department of Educational and School Psychology contributed 18 presentations at the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania (ASPP) conference in October and National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) conference in February, underscoring IUP's leadership in the field.

Faculty and students presented on topics including assessment, mental health services, and School Wide Positive Behavior and Intervention Support.

The ASPP conference was held in State College, Pa., on October 18–19, 2012. The NASP conference was held in Seattle, Wash., on February 12–15, 2013.

The mission of ASPP is to represent and support school psychology through leadership in order to enhance the mental health and competence of all children. NASP’s mission is to empower school psychologists by improving effective practices to improve students’ mental health, behavior, and learning.

Rate of Improvement Projections: An Aid to Special Education Decision-Making

Boneshefski, M., Kuncelman, C., & Kovaleski, J. F. (2013). Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

The authors addressed rate of improvement (ROI) projections as an aid to special education decision-making. This presentation displayed oral reading fluency rate trajectories of students achieving at 100 percent, 75 percent, 50 percent, and 25 percent of the levels compared to grade level peers. ROIs were projected between one and five years for students in grades 1 through 6. Participants gained information about using ROI trajectories to help determine and communicate to parents the amount of time it will take students to achieve at a level of proficiency.

Disproportionate Discipline: Causes of Disproportionality and Outcomes for Minority Students

Boneshefski, M., & Runge, T. (2013). Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

The authors examined the factors contributing to disproportional discipline outcomes for African American students in an elementary school that implemented a schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports system. Session attendees learned about the factors that lead to disproportionality in school discipline and the outcomes for ethnic minority students. Implications for teacher and administrative practices that will better meet the educational and behavioral needs of minority students were also presented.

Using RtI for SLD Identification: Comparing Progress in Best Practices Across a Number of States: Symposium

Bush, K.L., Coulter, A., Deni, J., Kovaleski, J. F., Reschly, D., Lillenstein, J., & Pasternack, R. (2013). Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

The authors addressed the use of Response to Intervention (RtI) for Specific Learning Disorder (SLD) identification. The authors presented both national and state perspectives on rules for SLD identification using RtI. Common problems with RtI systems implementation and suggested resolutions were identified, as well as the multiple elements of comprehensive evaluations using RtI. In addition, the authors offered opinions about challenges regarding their state’s implementation process. Symposium attendees gained perspective on various approaches to SLD identification using RtI.

SWPBIS After Six Years: A Cohort Study

Gorlaski, A., Wagner, H., Boneshefski, M., & Runge, T. (2013). Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

Schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports (SW-PBIS) is a commonly used model to address problem behaviors in schools. The authors presented a project designed to track cohorts through six years of SW-PBIS implementation. During the first year of full implementation, there was an increase in the number of tangible reinforcers distributed and a decrease in office discipline referrals. Attendees learned about long-term effects of implementation and methods to increase effectiveness over time.

Considerations for Sustained Implementation of SWPBIS

Gorlaski, A., Wagner, H., & Runge, T. (2013). Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

Schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports (SW-PBIS) is an evidence-based practice for decreasing problem behaviors and promoting positive behaviors within the school setting. Implementing SW-PBIS requires a high degree of dedication, and sustained programming requires a number of building and systems-level supports. Using quantitative and qualitative data, the authors examined the average length of time needed for full implementation of SW-PBIS, the variables of sustainability of SW-PBIS, and the reasons schools discontinue SW-PBIS initiatives.

Gifted and Non-Gifted Learners: Behavioral Social and Emotional Differences

Holtzman, D. R., Boneshefski, M. J., & Coyne, T. (2013). Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

The authors explored the unique behavioral, social, and emotional characteristics of gifted learners. The Behavior Assessment System for Children–Second Edition (BASC-2) was administered to teachers, parents, and students. The results of these ratings scales were analyzed to determine how gifted students differ from their typically developing peers in areas such as problem behaviors, social skills, and emotional functioning. The potential implications of using this information for eligibility decisions were also examined.

The Role of School Psychologists in RTI Data-Analysis Teaming: Symposium

Hyson, D. M., Kovaleski, J. F., Lillenstein, D., Pedersen, J., McNamara, K. M., & Richardson, R. (2013). Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

The authors addressed the role of school psychologists within effective grade-level teams. The purpose of this symposium session was to discuss and define the role of school psychologists in the functioning of effective grade level teams (GLTs), provide participants with specific steps to implement as they guide GLTs through the process of analyzing student benchmark data, and subsequently make instructional decisions at the grade, class, and student level based on available data.

Evaluating the Clinical, Forensic and Educational Validity of the SAVRY: A Meta-Analysis

Linaburg, M., Hunter, K., Roche, C., & McGowan, M. R. (2012). Poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania, State College, PA.

Using the Stanford-Binet’s Non-Verbal Composite Scores to Evaluate Gifted and Talented Learners

Linaburg, M., Wick, M., & McGowan, M. R. (2012). Poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania, State College, PA.

The Missing Link: SW-PBIS and Academic Performance

McFall, S. R., Runge, T., Staszkiewicz, M., O’Donnell, K. (2013). Poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

The authors discussed School Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS) and its effects on student performance on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA).

An Interactional Approach to School Based Mental Health

McLaughlin, C. L., & Christner, R. W. (2012). Poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania, State College, PA.

The Impact of Increased Resources on State Standardized Test Scores in an Urban, Low Socio-Economic Elementary School

McLaughlin, C. L., & Vasbinder, S. (2012, October). Poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania, State College, PA.

NASP Distinguished Lecture: Leaders of the Pack—School Psychologists as Leaders of School Change

Shapiro, E. S., & Kovaleski, J. F. (2013). Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

School psychologists have the training, knowledge, and expertise to lead. The authors of this study highlighted the ways in which school psychologists in Pennsylvania have risen to the challenge of leading school change.

School Wide Positive Behavior and Intervention Support: A Tier II Implementation

Spayd, M. A., McGurk, D. G., & Runge, T. J. (2012). Poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania, State College, PA.

Effectiveness of Check-In Check-Out SWPBIS Program

Spayd, M. A., McGurk, D. G., & Runge, T. J. (2013). Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

The authors examined data on the effectiveness of a Tier 2 intervention (check-in, check-out) for schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports (SW-PBIS) at the junior high school level. Office discipline referrals and individual behavioral data were presented to demonstrate the program’s effectiveness. Attendees of this session were provided with information concerning SW-PBIS as well as Tier 2 interventions for academic or behavioral support.

SWPBIS After Six Years: A Cohort Study

Wagner, H. D., Boneshefski, M. J., Gorlaski, G. M., & Runge, T. J. (2012). Poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania, State College, PA.

The authors presented information about implementing a School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) system. Data were collected from an urban elementary school in Pennsylvania. The school monitored discipline data using office discipline referrals (ODRs). Discipline data allowed the SWPBIS team to determine the types and locations of problem behaviors as well as proportionality of discipline among racial minorities. In an SWPBIS system, appropriate behaviors are reinforced. Students received a Trojan Treasure Note ticket as a tangible reinforcer when observed behaving according to the rules and expectations. Program effectiveness was examined using ODR and reinforcer data. The authors examined the utility of using reinforcers to target locations that the school identified as problem areas. Also examined was the proportionality of ODRs distributed among racial minorities. Attendees were provided with information concerning the use of data to drive the decision-making process in the SWPBIS model.

Professional Roles and Collaboration: Exploring the Provision of Mental Health Services in Schools

Wagner, H. D., Thompson. T. L., & McGowan, M. R. (2012). Poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania, State College, PA.

The authors examined the working relationships between school psychologists and school counselors within the state of Pennsylvania. The goals of this study were to clarify professional roles with the hope that collaboration between both professionals increase, to examine barriers to collaboration between the two groups of professionals, and to examine the role of school psychologists and school counselors in working with community mental health services provided in the school setting.

Effects of Parents’ Perceived Invitations for Involvement on Involvement Behavior

Yagle, K., Vandervort, J., Maragouthakis, E., & Black, L. (2013). Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.

The authors examined parents’ perceptions of invitations in relation to their parental involvement behavior. Differences in perceptions between parents of children classified with a special education disability and parents of children in general education was also presented. Session attendees gained a better understanding of what factors influence parent involvement behaviors and which type of invitation is best suited for each parental group.

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