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MSPA Western MA Chapter Spring Conference 2018: Social Emotional Assessment and Learning - Supporting Individual and School Wide Efforts

  • 06 Apr 2018
  • 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Red Barn at Hampshire College, 893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002 Directions at:


Registration is closed

Social Emotional Assessment and Learning - Supporting Individual and School Wide Efforts

The Western MA Chapter of MSPA spring conference is focused on addressing the social and emotional needs of students in the schools. This two session conference will focus on both assessment and social emotional learning. Session one will focus using assessment of social-emotional needs of individual students as part of a problem solving model designed to support them within the school setting. Session two will focus on the unique contributions that school psychologists can make to assisting schools in supporting the social emotional learning of students in the schools.

Session 1: Social Emotional Assessment within a Problem Solving Framework

This presentation aims to support school psychologists as they complete a comprehensive behavioral, social, and emotional assessment process using updated tools and methods. Dr. Whitcomb will walk participants through a protocol for assessment that is aligned with a problem-solving approach to social-emotional concerns and can be easily integrated with functional behavioral assessment. She will review direct and indirect methods for collecting information that allows individuals to screen for and validate concerns as well as how to think through the use of social-emotional assessment for progress monitoring school-wide, class-wide and individual interventions.  


Attendees will be able to:

  • Identify ways to screen for and assess social emotional difficulties
  • Develop a protocol for completing social emotional assessments in conjunction with FBAs
  • Develop plans for interventions at the individual, class-wide and school wide levels to address social-emotional concerns
  • Set up progress monitoring plans to assist in determine the effectiveness of interventions being implemented

Presenter Bio

Dr. Sara Whitcomb, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the UMASS Amherst School Psychology Program. She received her doctorate from the University of Oregon and her masters from Harvard University. Her dissertation focused on the effect of a social emotional learning curriculum (Strong Start) on the emotional knowledge and skills of first grade students. Dr. Whitcomb's interests include social/emotional evaluation and learning, school counseling and support, home-school collaboration, and resiliency and its impact on school success. Dr. Whitcomb continues to develop the Strong Start SEL series initially developed by her mentor, Kenneth Merrill.  She is also a PBIS trainer for the MA DESE PBIS Academy.   

Session 2: Social Emotional Learning: School Psychologists in Leadership Roles

As social-emotional learning is being implemented into schools in Massachusetts and around the country, school psychologists have the opportunity to use their unique competencies and skills to assist schools in this important work. School psychologists must have a thorough understanding of the basic principles of SEL in order to guide schools in regard to: 1) 3-5 year planning; 2) choosing one or more of the recommended strategies and interventions to infuse SEL into schools and districts; 3) implementing evidence-based strategies; and 4) making sure that SEL is not ‘just one more thing.’ This presentation will give you an in-depth view of SEL from the federal, state, local, and classroom levels. 


Attendees will be able to:

  • Learn roles and strategies for infusing SEL competencies and skills into the whole school environment through leadership and consultation with school staff    
  • Explore the research around the strongest evidence-based curricula
  • Broadly understand cultural differences and how these affect SEL    
  • Relate SEL competencies to ESSA, Massachusetts initiatives, and school climate    through advocacy    
  • Explore Tier 2 SEL interventions through counseling    

Presenter Bios

Gayle Macklem, MA, LEP, NCSP, Adjunct Faculty School Psychology Department, William James College, is a licensed school and educational psychologist. Currently she is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of School Psychology at William James College, and is the Senior Writer and an instructor in the Graduate Certificate Program in School Climate and Social Emotional Learning through William James College’s Freedman Center for Child and Family Development. She has served in the field of education for more than 30 years as a school psychologist/team chairperson and has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has developed a number of prevention programs in schools, worked as a consultant to schools, and is the author of four textbooks. She has served on the Board of the Massachusetts School Psychology Association for many years as Technology Chair and currently as the Editor of the Newsletter.

Barbara Miller, PhD., LEP, NCSP, Assistant Professor, School Psychology Department, William James College. Dr. Miller received her PhD. in Clinical Psychology and is a licensed school and educational psychologist. She has worked in the public schools across all grade levels for more than 30 years and has taught at Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Dr. Miller has also worked privately as a consultant and advocate for families. She is a long time active member of the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association, where she currently serves as the chairperson for the Advocacy and Legislative Action Committee which is dedicated to serve the social, emotional, and educational welfare of all children and adolescents. She serves on a number of statewide committees dedicated to advocating for the implementation of social and emotional learning in schools in Massachusetts. 

Accommodations & Other Information

The Red Barn is handicap accessible and arrangements can be made to provide necessary accommodations.

A lunch is served. Please email any needed accommodations or dietary restrictions to one week PRIOR to the workshop.

Payment Information

For those wishing to pay by purchase order, please complete registration, print the invoice, and mail invoice and district purchase order at least one week PRIOR to the conference to:

MSPA-West, P.O. Box 149, Belchertown, MA 01007

OR PO materials can be emailed to Rob Santiago at, again at least one week PRIOR to the conference.

For those wishing to pay by check, please complete the registration form, print the invoice, and mail check made out to MSPA at least one week PRIOR to the conference to:

MSPA-West, P.O. Box 149, Belchertown, MA 01007

Continuing Education Policy

The Massachusetts School Psychologists Association is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to offer contact hours. The DESE requires the completion of a pre-test, which is to be completed prior to the workshop start time. A post-test is also required and will be given at the end of the workshop. Participants must attend the ENTIRE CONFERENCE and satisfy state regulations in order to receive contact hours. Each participant is responsible for knowing and meeting the DESE licensure requirements.

CE HOURS: The Massachusetts School Psychologists Association is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists to sponsor continuing education (CE) for psychologists. In keeping with NASP requirements, these are awarded in contact hours only. CE hours will be awarded at the close of the workshop.  MSPA maintains responsibility for this program and its content.



For general inquiries, please contact


Massachusetts School Psychologists Association (MSPA)
1 Wells Avenue,  Suite 007.
Newton, MA 02459

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