Hello and welcome, fellow school psychologists, to the 2021/22 school year!
After many months, it is exciting to have students back into school buildings full time. I would like to acknowledge that with this excitement may also come anxiety and trepidation. Since March 2020 our students (and us!) have faced a world full of uncertainty. While the desire to get back to “normal” is real, we are also coming up against our own stressors and new challenges. The Oregon Department of Education has released the Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework for the 2021/22 School Year. This framework specifically discusses the need for mental health supports and identifies four pillars of practice, including, “1) trauma informed care, 2) social emotional learning, 3) racial equity, and 4) strengths-based, culturally relevant prevention and intervention programs within a system of care.” ODE’s guidance also encourages that both students and staff be provided with ongoing space and creative outlets to make sense of experiences and process stresses, emotions, trauma, and grief.
Over the summer, the OSPA board met virtually for the annual retreat. We are excited to engage our members and continue advocating for our profession at the local and state level. The board has also been working to plan the fall 2021 conference! Presenters will be touching on topics such as Multi Tiered Systems of Support, social justice, educator wellness, and early childhood. Registration information will be provided on the OSPA website.
In closing, I would like to give my appreciation to each one of you for the work you are embarking on. Your presence in the lives of students and families is seen and respected. It is with this that I wish you a safe and healthy school year!Calley Ekberg