The following has been adapted and modified as found on the National Association of School Psychologist’s website: www.nasponline.org
School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students that strengthen connections between home and school. School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education. They must complete a minimum of a post-Master’s degree program that includes a year-long internship and emphasizes preparation in mental health, child development, school organization, learning styles and processes, behavior, motivation, and effective teaching.
What School Psychologists Do
School psychologists work to find the best solution for each student and situation. They use different strategies to address student needs and to improve school and district-wide support systems. School psychologists work with students individually and in groups. They also develop programs to train teachers and parents about effective teaching and learning strategies, techniques to manage behavior at home and in the classroom, working with students with disabilities or with special talents, addressing abuse of drugs and other substances, and preventing and managing crises.
In addition, most school psychologists provide the following services:
- Collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to find effective solutions to learning and behavior problems.
- Help others understand child development and how it affects learning and behavior.
- Strengthen working relationships between teachers, parents, and service providers in the community.
- Are a resource for administrators and others regarding special education law and best practices.
- Evaluate eligibility for special services.
- Assess academic skills and aptitude for learning.
- Determine social-emotional development and mental health status.
- Evaluate learning environments.
- Provide psychological counseling to help resolve interpersonal or family problems that interfere with school performance.
- Work directly with children and their families to help resolve problems in adjustment and learning.
- Provide training in social skills and anger management.
- Help families and schools manage crises such as death, illness, or community trauma.
- Design programs for children at risk of failing at school.
- Develop programs to make schools safer and more effective learning environments.
- Collaborate with school staff and community agencies to provide services directed at improving psychological health.
- Develop partnerships with parents and teachers to promote healthy school environments.
Research and Planning
Growing Up Is Not Easy
- Evaluate the effectiveness of academic and behavior management programs.
- Identify and implement programs and strategies to improve schools.
- Use evidence-based research to develop and/or recommend effective interventions.
All children and adolescents face problems from time to time. They may:
- Feel afraid to go to school
- Have difficulty organizing their time efficiently
- Lack effective study skills
- Fall behind in their school work
- Lack self-discipline
- Worry about family matters such as divorce and death
- Feel depressed or anxious
- Experiment with drugs and alcohol
- Think about suicide
- Face difficult situations, such as applying to college, getting a job, or quitting school
- Question their aptitudes and abilities
Parents can request help from the school psychologist, for educational purposes, if it fits within the guidelines above. The school psychologist may refer you to other professionals within the school system or to agencies outside the school system for additional help if your request goes beyond available resources or professional duties. Educationally relevant screenings may be conducted. A review of records may help a parent decide if more formal action is warranted. The school psychologist might be part of a team of parents and professionals who work to correct an issue before it needs formal assistance.
Confidentiality is the ability to share concerns without general public knowledge. School psychologists will share information only to those who have a direct need to know such as the principal, nurse, or classroom teacher. Any written material that pertains to the child, such as a request for screening or assessment for program, will have a copy placed in the student’s permanent folder. Student files are confidential and kept locked and secured from the general public. Student files may be reviewed by the parents. Confidentiality cannot be maintained if the student reports that they are being abused, neglected, or express intent to harm themselves or others.
Assessment for Special Education
Assessment for Special Education services is an involved and often lengthy process. Parents have a right to assessment at public expense if there is a suspected disability. The assessment must be completed within 60 days to determine whether the child meets the definition of a disability, whether their needs exceed the curriculum and resources of regular education, and what services are recommended to help their child make reasonable progress.
Parents are provided a copy of “Whose IDEA Is This?” that explains special education processes in detail each time the district or parent requests formal assessment for Special Education. Parents should read this and ask for explanation and clarification as needed.
The school psychologist will gladly explain the process verbally prior to consent. Informed consent is an explanation of what will be done and what your rights are prior to signing. No individual testing will occur without signed consent.Barbara Bakos, Supervisor330-533-8755 ext. 1068