The mission of FASP is to advocate for the mental health and educational development of Florida's children, youth, and families and to advance the profession of school psychology.
FASP was founded in 1957 at the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Florida Psychological Association, which was held at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Miami, Florida.
FASP'S first official newsletter was created and financed by Dr. J. David O'Dea. Dr. O'Dea served as President of FASP from 1969-1970.
FASP began the tradition of hosting the Annual Conference in the fall, in Orlando, November 7-9, 1974 at the Court of Flags.
FASP can boast an outstanding lineage of past presidents. Of the past presidents, Orange County Public Schools has produced the most past presidents to-date (Dr. Kelly Livesay, Mr. Nick Mystic, Mrs. Faye Henderson, Mrs. Lisa Coffey, Mr. Clark Dorman, and Ms. Monica Oganes)
Although most FASP documents are missing from the late 1950's to the mid 1960's, John Wells was able to reconstruct important highlights about FASP's early years. The information was obtained from materials provided by Executive Board members, professional organizations in the state, video taped interviews with Past Presidents, annual convention booklets listing school psychology programs and issues, committee minutes and publications as well as newsletters and position papers. Some excerpts from this information follow.
On March 23, l957, a group of five individuals met at the Mitchell residence on River Boulevard in Tampa. The purpose of this meeting was to finalize a draft of the FASP constitution and to plan a workshop for psychologists attending the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Florida Psychological Association in Miami. The attendees were Dicksie P. Mitchell (owner of the residence), Dean Rochester, Thelma Voorhis, Ray Sandiford and B.C. Moss. Since other states had already established associations for school psychologists, Florida was following this pattern of development.
The official beginnings of the Florida Association of School Psychologists took place prior to the Eighth Annual meeting of the Florida Psychological Association (FPA), which was held at the Golden Nugget Hotel on Miami Beach, May 2-4, l957. This event was co-chaired by Dr. Robert M. Allen of the University of Miami and Dr. Thelma Voorhis, a school psychologist with the Pinellas County School System who later became the first FASP President. Approximately 25 to 30 people were present to review and approve the drafted constitution.
Representatives from Florida State University, the University of Florida, the University of Miami, and the Florida Department of Education and four of our future presidents were contributors.
The annual convention of the FPA provided a forum for issues that began to emerge and FASP members were offered an allotment of time for presentations. Topics included the need for school psychology training programs, the role of the State Department of Education, the identification of children for programs for the mentally retarded, and crisis consultation with public school teachers. For a fee of $5.00, members of FPA could register for the annual meeting and pay their association dues. Hotel rates were $8.00-$10.00 for a double room.
In May 1957, the Florida legislature passed a law requiring that psychologists who are engaged in the practice of psychology and are accepting direct or third party payments, be certified by the State. As a result, Governor Collins appointed members of the Florida Board of Examiners of Psychology. Richard W. Husband of Florida State University chaired the board, which also included FASP president, Thelma Voorhis of St. Petersburg.
At the annual meeting of FPA held at the Colonial Inn and Desert Ranch in St. Petersburg on May 8-10, l958, seventy-eight individuals from diverse backgrounds were registered to attend the FASP presentations. They included psychologists with an interest in children, professors and assistant professors from the universities with training programs for school psychologists, mental health clinicians, school psychologists, and graduate assistants enrolled in specialty programs. Representatives from private schools, directors of special education programs, coordinators for testing and guidance, school social workers (visiting teachers), and Deans from junior colleges and high schools.
The keynote symposium dealt with certification requirements, professional training, and other issues brought to the attention of the FPA membership by the appointed board. This meeting began the discussion and heightened animosity that eventually created a schism between FPA & FASP.
In 1962 the State Department of Education adopted the certification for school psychologists. This early certification recognized the title of School Psychology. It required 60 graduate hours of training and a teaching certificate, although no teaching experience or internship was needed. Additionally, the state did not require a list of specific courses or areas of study as part of the certification process. Florida State University was the first institution in Florida to officially offer a degree in school psychology.