Sunday, July 9, 2017

APA Psychology Summit Day 1

After hours of travel, we gathered on the campus of Weber State University at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. Some arrived for meetings on the 8th. Most of us arrived today traveling from Connecticut, Puerto Rico, Arizona, Michigan, California, Florida, and other far-flung locales from around the US. Why are we here? Take a look at the details of the Psychology Summit at this link.

Several different groups had lunch at a local pizza place called the Pie Pizzeria. For the math aficionado among us, all the staff had a large 𝝅 on their shirts.

The heat and the altitude combined with a long day of travel created many thirsty travelers. The campus gave us a water bottle in our welcome bag and there are refill stations around campus near every drinking fountain. Great use of resources! Nearly everyone commented on the beauty of the mountains. Some even went for hikes before the events of the late afternoon.

In the morning before everyone else arrived, the steering committee made final decisions about what approaches each of the eight strands were to take. From 2 to 4, there was another leadership meeting that included the current TOPSS board. At 4 pm, all 70 of us or so gathered for refreshments and had a big getting to know you set of conversations as well as some reunions. We were reminded that during all of our work this week, we needed to keep our mission in mind: "to create the best future for high school psychology education." Further solidified later in the talks was the message that there are many people who have taught psychology in some form in secondary schools going back almost 200 years. We are building on their work and the work we are doing is not some final product. We are only beginning this process for others to build on. The is a start point, not an endpoint. There will be many opportunities for people around the country to become involved in what we begin this week.

Dr. Randy Ernst and Dr. Amy Fineberg, steering committee co-chairs, introduced the evening and prepared us for the week to come. CEO of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Arthur Evans send a pre-recorded message to our group. Dr. Jaime Diaz-Granados, Executive Director of the APA Education Directorate share some wisdom. Dr. Tony Puente, President of the APA shared a history of teaching high school psychology showing us where it has been. At the end of his speech, Dr. Puente gave Randy Ernst an award for which no one was aware ahead of time recognizing Randy's contributions over the past 35 years to the teaching of high school psychology.
Randy Ernst and Tony Puente pose after the night's dinner

Kristin Whitlock, TOPSS Chair, introduced Charlie Blair-Broeker, a 38-year veteran of high school psychology. Charlie gave a humorous look at the history of teaching psychology during his lifetime, from the old reel-to-reel projectors to electric typewriters and more. The younger in the audience looked upon some of the tools of education with either bewilderment or horror as they appeared to not be aware of technology before computers. Just saying.

Charlie Blair-Broeker
Tony Puente

The evening was ultimately filled with one of hope and forthcoming effort recognizing that each of us has a part to play in the next steps of what happens in the history of high school psychology. Stay tuned for more.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

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