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What is a school psychologist?

School psychologists have specialized training in both psychology and education to team with educators, parents, and other mental health professionals to ensure that every child learns in a safe, healthy, and supportive environment. This is achieved as they utilize their understanding of school systems, effective teaching, and successful learning.

School psychologists are trained in areas of mental health, child development, school organization, behavior, and motivation. In order to become a school psychologist in New York State one must be certified or licensed by the State Education Department. School psychologists training consists of a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours including an internship, which is 1 year in duration.

What do school psychologists do?

School Psychologists work at adapting their skills in meeting the needs of children. They are usually involved in providing these services:

Consultation

School psychologists serve as consultants when they

  • provide strategies and alternatives to teachers about problems in learning and behavior
  • help others in facilitating understanding of child development and how it affects learning and behavior
  • contribute to working relationships between educators, parents, and community services

Assessment

School Psychologists serve in the capacity of assessing children when they use a wide variety of techniques at an individual, group, and systems level to evaluate academic skills, learning aptitudes, personality, emotional development, social skills, learning environments, and eligibility for special education.

Intervention

School Psychologist serve as key facilitators in developing interventions when they

  • work face-to-face with children and families
  • help solve conflicts and problems in learning and adjustment
  • provide psychological counseling
  • provide social skills training, behavior management, and other strategies.
  • help families and school deal with crises, such as separation and loss.

Prevention

School Psychologist serve as agents of prevention when they

  • identify potential learning difficulties
  • design programs for children at risk of failure
  • provide parents and teachers with the skills to cope with disruptive behavior
  • help foster tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of diversity in the school community
  • develop school-wide initiatives to make schools safer and more effective.

Research and Planning

School Psychologists are involved in research and planning when they

  • evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs
  • generate new knowledge about learning and behavior
  • contribute to planning and evaluating school-wide reform and restructuring

Health Care Provision

School Psychologists are involved in providing mental health services when they

  • collaborate with school and community-based personnel
  • work with children and families to provide integrated community services focusing on psychological wellness
  • developing partnerships with parents and teachers in order to help facilitate healthy school environments

Where Do School Psychologists work?

Most school psychologists are employed in public schools, but they also may work in private schools, health centers, clinics and hospitals, private practice, and in college or university settings. The following presentation was presented to the Spackenkill Board of Education in 2016 regarding the role of the psychologists and social workers in our district. 

Role of Psychologists and Social Workers



Where Can I Learn More About School Psychologists and Obtain School Psychology Resources?


Helpful Resources for Mental Health
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill  www.NAMI.org
Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services http://co.dutchess.ny.us/countygov/departments/socialservices/ssindex.htm 
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry www.aacap.org
National Mental Health Association  www.nmha.org 
National Mental Health Consumers' Self Help Clearinghouse  www.mhselfhelp.org 
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  http://www.mentalhealth.org