School Psychologists link mental health to learning and behavior to promote: High academic achievement. Positive social skills and behavior. Healthy relationships and connectedness. Tolerance and respect for others. Competence, self-esteem, and resiliency.
What Is the Role of a School Psychologist? Assessment. Consultation. Prevention. Intervention. Staff, parent, and student education. Research and program development. Mental health care. Advocacy. Systems change.
When Do Children Need a School Psychologist? Learning difficulties. Behavioral concerns. Attention problems. Problems at home or with peers. Fears about war, violence, and terrorism. Depression and other mental health issues. Coping with crisis and trauma. Poverty, violence, or life changing events. Advocacy of their learning and mental health needs.
When Should Teachers Collaborate With School Psychologists? Tackling challenging academic or behavioral situations. Implementing effective individualized instruction. Providing evidence-based practices and interventions (in accordance with new laws) to address students learning needs. Evaluating student progress towards individual goals and state standards. Advocating for resources within the school and community for all students and their families.
Assessment School psychologists work with children, parents, and staff to help determine a childs: Academic skills. Instructional level. Learning aptitudes, strengths, and weaknesses. Personality and emotional development. Social skills and behavioral concerns. Learning environment. School climate. Special education eligibility.
Assessment continued … School psychologists use: Observations. Interviews. Standardized measures. Curriculum-based measurement (CBM). Curriculum-based assessment (CBA).
School psychologists evaluate the origin and degree of a students strengths and weaknesses and monitor progress toward reaching academic goals.
Consultation: Child-Centered School psychologists: Provide knowledge to help improve student learning and mental health outcomes. Implement and manage academic and behavioral interventions. Help teachers, parents, and other professionals understand a childs development and learning. Meet or communicate with others involved with a child to determine the best way of managing or improving a particular concern.
Consultation: Consultee-Centered School psychologists: Collaborate with teachers to help them identify classroom-based problems and implement data- based interventions. Support implementation of effective instruction and behavior management at the classroom level. Assist parents to develop skills to help their children succeed at home and in school. Collaborate with the principal and other school personnel to identify systemic concerns and promote systems-level change.
School psychologists and teachers can collaborate when presented with challenging students, classrooms, or situations.
Prevention School psychologists: Implement programs to build positive connections between students and adults. Support early identification of potential academic skill deficits and/or learning difficulties. Design and implement programs for at-risk children. Foster tolerance and appreciation of diversity. Create safe, supportive learning environments.
Teachers know their students best. Teachers can help school psychologists with prevention efforts by identifying students at-risk and systemic concerns in the classroom, school, and community.
Intervention School psychologists: Work directly with children, teachers, administrators, and families. Develop individualized, classroom, and school- wide interventions for learning and adjustment. Design and implement crisis response plans. Provide counseling, social skills training, and academic and behavioral interventions. Develop strategies for modifying instruction to optimize student progress.
School psychologists can help teachers select, implement, and evaluate interventions that work for children with diverse needs.
Education School psychologists provide teachers and parents training in: Teaching and learning strategies and interventions. Parenting and disciplining techniques. Classroom and behavior management techniques. Working with exceptional students. Strategies to address substance abuse, risky behaviors, or mental illnesses that affect students. Crisis prevention and response.
School psychologists teach students, teachers, parents, and other professionals problem-solving strategies to address issues related to academic, behavioral, and psychological problems.
Research and Program Development School psychologists: Recommend and implement evidence-based programs and strategies. Conduct school-based research to inform practice. Evaluate effectiveness of programs and interventions independently and as part of a school-based evaluation team. Contribute to school-wide reform and restructuring.
School psychologists can help teachers, parents, and other professionals use data-based decision making to improve student and systemic outcomes.
Mental Health Services School psychologists: Deliver school-based mental health services such as group, individual, and crisis counseling. Coordinate with community resources and health care providers to provide students with complete, seamless services. Partner with parents and teachers to create healthy school environments. Promote mental health in the school setting.
School psychologists can help teachers understand and accommodate the unique needs of students with mental health problems in the classroom.
Advocacy NASP and state professional associations are dedicated to advocacy. School psychologists encourage and sponsor: Appropriate educational placements. Education reform. Legislative involvement. Community services and programs. Funding for adequate resources. Employment of highly qualified school personnel.
School psychologists and teachers can work together to advocate for the needs of students at the school, local, state, and national level.
Some More Specific Examples … School psychologists work with diverse populations and diverse needs!
Family Problems The teacher noticed that Carla, an able student, had stopped participating in class discussions and had difficulty paying attention. He asked the school psychologist to explore why Carlas behavior had changed so much. After discovering that her parents were divorcing, the school psychologist provided counseling for Carla and gave her parents and teacher suggestions to help her during this difficult time. Carlas behavior and self-esteem improved, and she felt more secure about her relationship with her parents.
School psychologists can be trusted to help with delicate personal and family situations that interfere with schooling.
Reading Problems Tommys parents were concerned about his difficulty in reading. They feared that he would fall behind and lose confidence in himself. In school the teacher noticed that Tommy understood what was presented in verbal form but that he needed help from his classmates to do written work. After observing Tommy and gathering information about his reading and writing skills, the school psychologist collaborated with his parents and teachers to develop an intervention to improve his reading and writing. The plan worked and both Tommys reading and his self- esteem improved.
School psychologists can help prevent future problems when they intervene with learning problems early on.
A Potential Dropout David was a high school student who often skipped class. He had very poor behavior and had been suspended from school on various occasions for fighting. After establishing a relationship with David, the school psychologist taught him simple techniques to relax and to control his aggressive behavior. Davids mother and his teacher worked together on a plan designed with the school psychologist to establish limits and to improve communication.
School psychologists recognize that changes in the school environment and at home can improve the quality of life for children and their families.
For More Information, Contact: National Association of School Psychologists (301)