Before I started working in a school, I just assumed that school psychologists provided counseling to students all day. I mean, what else could they be up to?
Well, they do a lot more than that. I should note that I see a huge degree of variability among school districts in how they utilize their school psychologists. Also some are assigned to multiple schools:
1) Psychological Testing – School psychologists are responsible for testing that determines if students have learning problems. However, testing varies across districts. In many districts, school psychologists only perform psychological testing. In particular, bilingual school psychologists are often tasked to test across several schools because of severe Spanish-speaking personnel deficits.
2) Attending meetings – The school psychologist attends a lot of meetings. Actually, many school psychologists test and then attend meetings exclusively. Some meetings are related to eligibility for special education services for individual students. Also school psychologists can lead meetings with staff related to the Response-to-Intervention (RTI) program. Psychologists can have meetings with parents, too. It all depends on the school
3) Counseling – Students who visit the psychologist for counseling. It can be short-term, for students without individual education plans (IEPs), who need a little counseling based on a crisis that will be resolved. Little known fact: students who have IEPs usually go to the school social worker to have their minutes serviced. However, depending on the intensity of the need, the student may see the school psychologist for additional support.
4) Coordinating school-wide intensive interventions – When students struggle academically, imagine the school psychologist playing a part in the intervention. At one of my school, the school psychological collaborates with the reading specialists to manage the building-wide intervention plan. Planning includes which interventions and who implements them.
5) Managing state testing – Making sure that each classroom has the correct state testing materials often falls to a school support person. The psychologist is often the person who is charged with managing and coordinating state testing.
6) Crisis intervention – If there is a student in crisis or a crisis within the school, the school psychologist and/or the school social worker will be involved. From providing direct support to a student or staff member to addressing a larger group, it can vary depending on the crisis and the school, but the school psychologist will have a role.
7) High school and college application process and advising – School psychologists that are focused on middle school and high school assist students in the application process for high school and for college. They would make phone calls and investigate options for students.
8) Special education case management — Many school psychologists are tasked with managing the paperwork related to individual education plans (IEPs) and eligibility as well as scheduling meetings and talking to parents.
Have I included everything? Let me know what you are thinking by commenting below or sending me an email. Thanks, guys!