Who are School Psychologists & What do they do?
School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams who support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community. School Psychologists help schools successfully:
- Improve student achievement, by promoting student engagement, collecting and analyzing data, planning and implementing evidence-based interventions, monitoring progress, and providing instructional and behavioral consultation;
- Promote positive behavior and mental health, by assessing school-wide and individual student emotional and behavioral needs, providing individual and group counseling, promoting positive peer relationships and social problem solving, and coordinating school-based mental health services;
- Support diverse learners, by assessing diverse learning needs, providing culturally responsive services to students and families, planning appropriate Individualized Education Programs for students with disabilities, and monitoring and communicating with families about student progress;
- Create safe, positive, school climates, by supporting the planning and implementation of social-emotional learning, conducting school climate assessments, overseeing the implementation of school-wide positive behavioral supports, identifying and intervening with students at risk, and providing crisis prevention and intervention services;
- Strengthen family-school partnerships, by helping families understand their child’s learning and mental health needs, assisting in the navigation of special education processes, connecting families with community service providers when necessary, enhancing staff understanding and responsiveness to diverse cultures and backgrounds, and helping students transition between school and community learning environments; and,
- Improve school-wide assessment and accountability, by generating and interpreting useful student and school outcome data, collecting and analyzing data on risk and protective factors related to student outcomes, and planning services at the district, building, classroom, and individual levels.
(National Association of School Psychologists; www.nasponline.org)