W-06: “The Biggest Loser”: Redefining the School Psychologist’s Role at the State and Site Level to Leverage Student Services

9:00AM – 12:00PM | Capitol View

With a clear need for expanded and enhanced mental health services for students, California state policymakers are looking to schools as places to serve students and communities. School psychologists have long been part of the educational community. Yet what, exactly, they do beyond their role in special education is not well known. This workshop will focus on how school psychologists can advocate for student services and build programs to promote school climate, mental health and wellness and multi-tiered system of support, and much more. Participants will learn:

  • Threats to the profession: Behavioral Health & AB 8
  • Opportunities to broaden the school psychologist’s role
  • Resources on educating administrators on the school psychologist’s broad scope of practice
  • Reasons for the school psychologists to engage in LCFF/LCAP planning
  • Using LCAP to advocate for student services at the site level

Tom Sopp, MA, LMFT, is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child therapist and school psychologist. He has served in the role of school psychologist for the last 20 years and currently is a practicing school psychologist with the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), a large, culturally diverse, urban school district. Tom’s current assignment is the Family Resource Center, LBUSD, where he supports school sites by assessing the site’s tiered support services, collaborating with staff to add intervention services, providing individual and group counseling services to students, modeling whole class instruction, providing parent training, and providing professional development to school staff. In addition, he is CASP’s Advocacy & Leadership committee chair.

Laura Wasco, Legislative Director and Advocate, Ball/Frost Group LLC. Throughout her career, Laura has always been involved in education. She was part of the grassroots campaign to pass Propositions 71 and 98. She was a partner in a consultancy firm where she specialized in K-12 policy issues and through the years has gained expertise in the budget process, teacher credentialing, school facilities, career technical education, mental health services and special education. She is also skilled at looking at a legislative issue from both the public and policy standpoints and then foreseeing how it will be implemented at the local level. A valuable talent when she works closely with the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Department of Health Care Services, and the Department of Finance. She’s also expert at monitoring and lobbying the legislature, including testifying on bills, negotiating amendments on bills and working with other organizations on issues of common interest.

Reynaldo Vargas, Psy.D., is the Legislative Chair for CASP. He is a Bilingual School Psychologist and a Program Administrator with the Downey Unified School District, located in Los Angeles County. He has worked with families and children in a variety of roles for the last 15 years. In his current role, Rey works with district and site administrators as well as families and students to maximize the opportunities for students. He also oversees the Medi-Cal Billing Programs as the LEA Coordinator.

Note: Workshop handouts will be placed online prior to the event. CASP will charge $10 per day for anyone requesting printed handouts.
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