Welcome to MASP
MASP is the only Michigan organization that represents school psychologists at both the state and local levels and conducts important activities on your behalf. Through professional development, advocacy, governance, and publications, the board at MASP works hard to represent school psychologists throughout the state of Michigan. Are you a school psychologist who would like to know more on how to get involved? Please click here!
MASP Vision: Empower school psychologists through leadership, professional training, and legislative advocacy; to promote best practices in academic achievement, positive behavior and emotional development, and mental health; to support quality educational programs and services for Michigan students and their families.
What is a School Psychologist?
School psychologists apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. They provide assessment, support, and intervention services to students, while partnering with families, teachers, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments. They also work with school administrators to improve school-wide policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate services for students. Click here to learn more about school psychology.
Sharon Dusney Recognized by MASP with Lifetime Achievement Award
The Michigan Association of School Psychologists (MASP) is pleased to announce its highest award and would like to congratulate Sharon Dusney, the first recipient of our MASP Lifetime Achievement Award. The MASP Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an outstanding school psychologist who has had an impact on the field in Michigan and has dedicated his/her professional life to the development and improvement of school psychology. The announcement was made during our May 11th Board meeting and recognized Sharon for 31 years of service to MASP and her commitment to our profession.
Sharon currently serves as the Director of Special Education for the Garden City Public Schools. Derek Fisher, GCPS Superintendent of Schools, in his letter of support, wrote: "I can think of no better nominee to recognize with the MASP Lifetime Achievement Award than Sharon Dusney. Sharon's professional career and commitment to serving students and families, exemplifies and honors the professional standards of the Michigan Association of School Psychologist (MASP)."
Sharon began her career as a school psychologist with the Romulus Public Schools after graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 1992 with a Specialist Degree in Arts and Sciences. She went on to serve as a school psychologist and later as Supervisor of Special Services with the Van Buren Public Schools from 1994 to 2005. In 2005, Sharon took on the role of Director of Special Education with the Garden City Public Schools where she has served since that time.
Sharon has been an important presence within MASP for many years, having served as President (1996-97), Treasurer (1998-99), Secretary (2009-10), and Region 10 Director, at various times, for 22 years. Sharon has also held leadership roles with the Michigan and Wayne Country Associations for Special Education Administrators, serving as President (2007-08), Treasurer (2006-07), and Secretary (2005-06).
One of Sharon’s many strengths and passions as a MASP leader has been her commitment to our graduate students and in strengthening the future of our profession. This commitment was demonstrated in Sharon’s presentations for graduate students at annual MASP Conferences which focused on job applications, interviews, and preparing for a career in school psychology. As a special education director, Sharon was able to share candid information from an administrative perspective for those embarking on their careers. Sharon’s impact on early career professionals and our field has been significant for decades. A current MASP leader shared this reflection: “I first came to know Sharon as a MASP student representative during my first semester of graduate training. As a freshly minted student, Sharon initially struck me as a seasoned, passionate, and incredibly principled professional who, even 17 years later, this impression has not wavered.
Other MASP colleagues shared these thoughts about Sharon:
Sharon Dusney is truly a pioneer and leader in our field, and she encompasses exceptional, well-rounded leadership skills: excellent communication, strong interpersonal relationships, passion, and dependability.
Sharon encapsulates and is a prime model for our practice domains of initiative and dependability, communication, and ethical responsibility. She is such an incredible asset to our field and will be terribly missed. One thing I know for certain is that just as Sharon has impacted me and countless others, her legacy will continue to have a ripple effect through our profession and association.
Statement on School Violence Prevention
In light of the recent Oxford tragedy, MASP is taking action regarding school violence and advocating for safety and wellness. In an effort to promote school safety and mental health, we developed a Statement on School Violence Prevention which was approved and adopted by our Executive Board in December of 2021. We hope that this can be an important advocacy tool to help support school psychologists and others in their efforts for effective consultation and systems level change to ensure that all Michigan schools can learn and thrive in a safe and supportive environment.
Statement on School Violence Prevention
(Adopted by the MASP Executive Board on December 15, 2021)
The mission of the Michigan Association of School Psychologists (MASP) is that all Michigan students achieve their fullest potential. In order to accomplish this mission, we must work to ensure that students learn and thrive in school environments that are safe and free from violence. In that spirit and in the wake of the senseless tragedy in Oxford, MASP joins the call for the passage of common sense and reasonable gun safety legislation in Michigan, as well as to increase the availability of school psychologists and access to comprehensive school mental and behavioral health services.
As part of the National Association of School Psychologists' (NASP) commitment to ensure all children's safety, well-being, and ability to thrive in school, at home, and throughout life, NASP adopted the "Resolution to Support Efforts to Prevent Gun Violence" in January, 2018. This resolution outlines key, evidence based, policy solutions to preventing gun violence (articulated below) which MASP supports. Access to firearms is highly associated with increased risk of injury and death among youth. And research is clear that exposure to gun violence is highly associated with diminished social, emotional, and academic well-being among youth. It is our responsibility to advocate for the policies and practices that will reduce gun violence.
Addressing mass gun violence must include preventing access to firearms by individuals at risk of hurting themselves or others. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics from 2019 (CDC), there were 39,707 firearm-related deaths in the United States with 23,941 of these deaths by firearm suicide. During that year, there were 1,220 gun deaths in Michigan which included 83 children and teens (ages 0 through 19).
MASP aspires to protect children from gun violence by encouraging and supporting solutions that create safer, healthier schools, homes, and communities. We support Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s call to lawmakers to enact common sense gun safety measures. Nessel says the tragedy in Oxford should provoke a conversation about Michigan's gun laws and how we can keep children safe in our schools. "I think it's important that we sort of dissect what occurred, and think about what we can do better to potentially prevent a tragedy like this from occurring in the future in another school, in another town in another part of the state." Nessel says she would like to see changes to Michigan gun laws to prevent this sort of violence. "It's time for us to reevaluate the laws that we could be potentially putting in place that could have stopped this from happening.”
In conjunction with common sense gun safety laws, we must also improve access to comprehensive school mental and behavioral health services which helps to promote student learning and safety. Providing ongoing access to mental health services promotes school safety by helping to create a positive learning environment in which students feel connected to their school community and a sense of belongingness. The continuum of school mental health includes promoting wellness, resiliency, skill building, and help-seeking behaviors. These are critical to student well-being and to identifying students who may need more intensive services or for those who require immediate intervention, including those at risk of harming themselves or others.
MASP endorses the following actions which represent best practice principles in preventing school violence:a comprehensive approach to school safety (NASP Framework for Safe and Successful Schools);
increased access to comprehensive school mental and behavioral health services;
improved ratios for school psychologists and other school-based mental health professionals as well as more effective use of existing school psychologists; and
limiting inappropriate access to firearms.
MASP supports approaches that protect children, as they are particularly vulnerable when it comes to gun violence both as direct victims and as being traumatized by the exposure to the deaths of family members, friends, neighbors, and community members. This includes:rigorous enforcement of existing gun laws;
eliminating inappropriate youth access to guns;
improving awareness of evidence based safe gun practices, including secure storage of firearms;
restricting the presence of guns in schools to only commissioned and trained school resource officers;
ensuring greater protection to keep guns out of the hands of individuals deemed at risk of hurting themselves and others;
comprehensive background checks for all gun purchases;
extreme risk protection orders that allow family members or police officers (when notified by school/family or when responding to an incident) to petition the court to remove someone’s access to weapons when they are deemed a threat to self or others;
bans on weapons that can do mass destruction in a short period of time (e.g., fully automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines); and
evidence-based threat assessment policy and practice; mental health evaluations and re-entry plans, including ongoing mental and behavioral health support for students identified as being of imminent threat to themselves or others; and enhanced student access to mental health supports in schools and communities.
In conclusion, MASP believes that effective laws and policies can reduce gun violence as well as create safer, and welcoming learning environments, all while upholding the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, MASP advocates strongly for improving access to comprehensive school mental and behavioral health services. This work is critical to helping all children to learn and achieve their highest potential, now and throughout life. Collectively, we share this responsibility. MASP looks forward to working with other educational and mental health organizations, as well as engaging in advocacy and discussion with state and local policy makers, to create laws and policies based on best practices and research.
The statement can be found at: MASP Statement of School Violence Prevention
References:NASP Research Summary: Gun Violence and Youth, 2019
NASP Resolution: Supporting Efforts to Prevent Gun Violence, 2018
NASP Framework for Safe and Successful Schools, 2013 (Updated March 2015)
In November of 2021, the MASP Board adopted the MASP Social Justice and Multicultural Ethics Committee Anti-Racism and Critical Race Theory (CRT) Position Statement, and MASP signed on as a partner to the Psychologists and Mental Health Clinicians Stand Against the School-to-Prison Pipeline: An Official Statement of the Michigan Psychological Association.
2021 Michigan School Psychologist of the Year: Joe Sbar
The MASP School Psychologist of the Year (SPOTY) is awarded for excellence in the provision of school psychological services by a field-based practitioner and is selected from nominations from across the state. MASP has selected Joe Sbar as this years award winner. Joe Sbar is currently a school psychologist with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District in Sault Ste. Marie and throughout his 10-year career has served as a clear example of service to children, families, schools, and the profession as both a practitioner and an advocate. Read the press release to learn more about Joe and his accomplishments.
Critical Shortage of School Psychologists in Michigan
On December 30th, Governor Whitmer signed into law the new Critical Shortage legislation:
ACTION BY THE GOVERNOR: HB 4694 MPSERS and Substitute Teaching
The bill would modify MPSERS to allow retirants to be employed at a reporting unit under certain circumstances without forfeiting their retirement allowance or health care coverage. For critical shortage areas, the bill would push back a sunset to July 1, 2025; strike a three-year limitation; and remove the 12-month waiting period for retirants who do not work in the month of their retirement and who are working under an extended COVID-19 learning plan. Comparable changes would be made to the MPSERS section on substitute teachers and independent contractors. The bill signed by the governor and assigned Public Act 267 of 2020.
Member's Only Section
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There is a need for MASP members to consider volunteer service on the MASP board. There are key positions that are open to support your fellow School Psychologists state wide. Please contact any board member for more information and to ask any questions you might have.
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