Academic journal article Education

American Academy of School Psychology

Academic journal article Education

American Academy of School Psychology

Article excerpt

The American Academy of School Psychology is a professional organization whose membership is composed of school psychologists who have earned the Diploma of the American Board of Professional (ABPP) with specialization in school psychology. The American Board of Professional Psychology was incorporated in 1947. It is the oldest national credentialing body for professional psychologists. Board certification (awarding of a Diploma in an approved psychological specialty) signifies the holder successfully completed the requirements for a Diploma in the specialty (American Board of Professional Psychology, 1997a). This includes a comprehensive examination designed to assess the competencies of the candidate at the highest level of professional standards. The Diploma in School Psychology has been awarded through the American Board of Professional Psychology since 1968. Holders of the Diploma in School Psychology are eligible for membership in the American Academy of School Psychology, formed in 1994. This paper addresses the merits and challenges of the Academy. It also addresses the issue of having an organization composed of professionals who have earned their peer's recognition as competent and skilled at the highest level of practice.


The Academy was formed in 1994 and established its By-laws in 1995. John Brantley of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill served as the first president during the academic year 1994-95. Charles King, Rosa Hagin and I followed him in order. The purposes of the Academy are to advance school psychology as a science and practice and to promote and enhance the discipline in its various settings and through its professional organizations. Its specific purposes are, (1) to recognize, recommend and otherwise support credentialing in School Psychology; (21) to advance School Psychology as a science and practice, and (3) to facilitate communication among members of the Academy on a variety of professional issues (The American Academy of School Psychology, 1995).

The Academy is currently composed of approximately 145 members, about forty percent of who are retired. This poses one of the challenges for the Academy and will be commented upon later. The Executive Committee consists of the elected officers of the Academy. These are the president, the president-elect, the past-president, the secretary and the treasurer. The Academy has one annual meeting held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. Correspondence with the membership generally takes place on an as needed basis and usually deals with specific issues before the Academy.

Merits of the Academy

There are several merits in having an Academy composed of members who have demonstrated their professional skills at the highest level as judged by a panel of peers. Most professional organizations require educational attainments as conditions for membership. In addition, demonstrated ethical behavior, letters of recommendation, and, perhaps, other qualities must be presented for admission to membership to most professional organizations. There are few professional organizations that admit members on the basis of demonstrated competence in practice years after obtaining the doctoral degree. Board specialization in medicine is an obvious example. Likewise, achieving the Diploma of the American Board of Professional Psychology is Board Certification in an area of approved psychological practice that can be gained only after a minimum of three years of supervised postdoctoral practice.

There are two general reasons, personal and professional, why an individual might wish to obtain such board certification. Personal reasons include gaining a sense of satisfaction by peer recognition that one's level of competence in one's professional discipline is at the highest level. Board certification provides additional leadership opportunities in one's discipline and area of practice. …

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