Who are School Psychologists?
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.
School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work. They may also nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB).
What do School Psychologists do?
School psychologists work to find the best solution for each student and situation and 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 regarding effective teaching and learning strategies, effective techniques to manage behavior at home and in the classroom, supports that can be utilized to address the unique learning styles of students of all abilities, 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.
· Evaluate eligibility for special services.
· Assess cognitive abilities for indicators of areas of strength and weakness.
· Determine social-emotional development and mental health status.
· Evaluate learning environments.
· Provide psychological counseling to help resolve issues that may be interfering with academic success and positive mental health.
· Work directly with children, their families, and teachers to help resolve problems in adjustment and learning.
· Help families and schools manage crises, such as death, illness, or community trauma.
· Promote tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of diversity within the school community.
· Develop programs to make schools safer and more effective learning environments, thus contributing to a positive school climate.
· Collaborate with school staff and community agencies to provide services directed at improving psychological health and academic achievement.
Research and Planning:
· Evaluate the effectiveness of academic and behavior management programs.
· Use evidence-based research to develop and/or recommend effective interventions.
For additional information, please visit the website for the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) at http://www.nasponline.org/.