Schools 2002: Striking a Chord in Nashville Attendees Learn From Each Other, Hear From Assistant ED Secretary School Matters
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School Matters  |   September 01, 2002
Schools 2002: Striking a Chord in Nashville
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School-Based Settings / School Matters
School Matters   |   September 01, 2002
Schools 2002: Striking a Chord in Nashville
The ASHA Leader, September 2002, Vol. 7, 1-11. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM1.07162002.1
The ASHA Leader, September 2002, Vol. 7, 1-11. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM1.07162002.1
This summer, Schools 2002—the largest ASHA schools conference to date—brought a sold-out crowd of more than 600 school-based clinicians to Nashville, TN, to rethink their roles, network with colleagues, connect with ASHA leaders and staff, and share ideas and solutions.
Conference themes focused on redefining roles and looking at caseload as only one part of the school clinician’s broader workload. The July 12–14 conference also featured sessions on a variety of clinical and professional issues, poster sessions, a roundtable luncheon with Assistant Secretary of Education Robert Pasternack, and much more.
The conference drew praise from members. First-timer Victoria Squier of Columbus, OH, said it “surpassed my expectations. I walked away with something from each course and particularly liked the session on word finding. I’ll be back next year!”
Mississippi clinician Carol Thigpen agreed. “The conference was absolutely wonderful,” she said. “My favorite parts were the sessions and the focus of the conference. Our time was well spent.”
A Time for Change
The first day of the conference featured a full-day workshop on “Caseload to Workload: Redefining Your Role in the Schools,” as well as a roundtable luncheon and keynote address. During the caseload workshop, members of ASHA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Caseload Size introduced attendees to a new approach for defining their caseloads in terms of total workload.
Pasternack, head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, addressed conference attendees during the roundtable luncheon. “My presence here today is in recognition and respect for the fine work you do every day,” he said.
He focused on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its implementation, adding that “the answers don’t reside only in Washington, they reside with you.” He also called for the elimination of the IQ discrepancy model, improved training for educators, increased bilingualism among educators, and—a crowd favorite—reduction of paperwork.
“If someone can prove more paperwork means more results, I might change my mind,” he said. “But as long as I’m here, we’re going to work hard to reduce paperwork.”
Following Pasternack’s remarks, conference attendees, presenters, and ASHA leaders engaged in roundtable discussions on a wide variety of issues, including advocacy, autism, classroom amplification, literacy, and salary supplements.
Keynote speaker Kathy Cleveland Bull concluded the day’s presentations by offering a framework for attendees to think about change. Founder and president of N-Compass Consulting, Bull applied concepts from Spencer Johnson’s book Who Moved My Cheese? to help attendees realize the need for change and to apply it to their own professional and personal situations.
“Since Sept. 11, everything has changed,” she said. “But change has always been a part of your life and of your profession.”
Bull said the stages of change include endings (leaving the known behind and plunging into the unknown), the neutral zone (an ambiguous time during which you have left behind the old but haven’t identified what is to come) and new beginnings (successful transition from the unknown to the known).
Moving through the stages, she explained, involves the “four Ps of transition communication:” communicating the purpose of the change, the picture (what it will look like), the plan (how you’ll get there), and the part (or role, how each individual fits in). She said it can take 5–8 years to implement real, significant change throughout a system.
Following the keynote address, the exhibit hall opened, featuring 37 exhibitors who provided attendees with a variety of materials and products. Throughout the weekend, exhibitors hosted a reception, breakfast, and lunch for attendees.
Sharing Ideas and Strategies
Day two of the conference offered attendees a variety of sessions: “Identifying Young Children With Language Impairments: Measurement Issues” with Mabel Rice, “Word Finding Errors: Differential Diagnosis and Retrieval Strategies” with Diane German, “Enhancing Children’s Phonological Skills” with Barbara Hodson, “Collaborative Classroom Success: Small Steps to Big Gains” with Ellen Pritchard Dodge, “Second Language Acquisition: Assessment and Intervention Strategies” with Noma Anderson, and “Teaching Narration Through Children’s Literature” with Ronald Gillam.
That night, about 250 conference participants, friends, and relatives enjoyed an evening at the Grand Ole Opry. Performers included Little Jimmy Dickens, Porter Waggoner, Charlie Pride, and newcomers Joe Nichols and Mandy Barnett.
The final day began with poster sessions, a new addition to the conference. Approximately 30 posters were presented on a wide range of topics, including bilingual issues, the language of math and science, collaboration, and distance learning.
Day three also featured concurrent sessions on “Treatment of Children Who Stutter” with Edward Conture, “Learning Disabled or Low Achieving? Research and Practice” with Douglas Fuchs, “Supervision for SLPs: From Boss to Mentor” with Jean Blosser, and “Comparing Phonological Awareness Programs: A University/School Partnership” with Colleen Worthington.
A Call to Action
Wayne Secord, an SLP and director of the National Center for Speech-Language Pathology in Schools, concluded the conference, encouraging attendees to pull together everything they’d learned at Schools 2002 as they returned to their schools to “Step Out and Do It!” He discussed the need for clinicians to redefine themselves, take leadership roles, and build partnerships.
“Something has to change about how we work in schools,” he said. “I hope you walk away from this conference with changing paradigms. I want you to see yourself as something other than a therapist.”
After Secord’s comments, Kristi Kimmell of Clarksville, TN, said, “I feel revitalized, energetic, and ready to try new things. I’m really looking forward to the school year.”
Robin Hallums, also from Clarksville, said, “This was a very informative conference, providing a renewal of bedrock values. It was exciting to review what I do from the perspective of what we heard, to think about what kind of changes we can effect, and to step outside the therapist role.”
Schools 2002 was sponsored by The Psychological Corporation, AGS, Subaru, and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. Sponsors also included ASHA Special Interest Divisions—Division 1, Language Learning and Education; Division 3, Voice and Voice Disorders; Division 5, Speech Science and Orofacial Disorders; Division 13, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders; and Division 16, School-Based Issues.
The Schools 2002 Session Anthology—including all session handouts and poster abstracts—can be purchased through Product Sales at 888-498-6699. The anthology costs $30 for members and $45 for nonmembers. Audiotapes of conference sessions are available from AVEN Communications— or call 206-440-7989.
Watch The ASHA Leader and ASHA’s Web site for details on Schools 2003, scheduled for July 11–13 in Anaheim, CA.
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September 2002
Volume 7, Issue 16