A school psychologist is a professionally-trained psychologist who specializes in services for pre-school and school-age children, adolescents, their teachers and families. They work with all school personnel to help make education a positive and rewarding experience for students and to assist them in achieving their potential as productive members of society.
School psychologists bring a unique perspective to education in research and planning. They assist in evaluating the effectiveness of academic programs, as well as the effectiveness of classroom or school-wide behavior/learning approaches.
Please visit www.ChildrensMentalHealthMatters.org to learn more about mental health issues and to find helpful resources.
Here are 5 things you should know about mental health and students:
- Good mental health is essential to success in school and life.
- Schools are a natural place to meet children's mental health needs.
- Children who receive mental health support are happier and do better in school.
- School-based mental health services provided by trained professionals are a wise investment.
- School psychologists and school therapists can provide a continuum of mental health services that support students' wellness and academic achievement.
- Help identify issues that may impact learning, and are primarily responsible for assisting schools in identifying educational disabilities such as autism, specific learning disabilities, intellectual disability, or emotional disability, as mandated by state and federal law.
- Administer tests of cognitive abilities, social-emotional functioning, adaptive functioning, memory, executive functioning, and others.
- Assist school personnel in developing effective academic interventions and behavioral strategies for students
- Are trained in counseling and crisis interventions and may offer brief counseling or lead topic-specific counseling groups
- Perform student threat assessments as requested by school principals.
Core Services School psychologists tailor their services to the particular needs of each child and each situation. They use many different approaches, but must provide these core services:
- giving effective alternatives to teachers, parents and administrators about problems in learning and behavior
- helping others understand child development and how it influences learning and behavior
- strengthening working relationships between educators, parents, and community members and groups
- academic skills
- memory and learning skills
- personality and emotional development
- learning environment and school climate
- eligibility for special education
- adaptive and maladaptive behavior
- working collaboratively with children and families
- helping to solve conflicts and problems in learning and adjustment
- providing short-term psychological counseling for children and families
- providing social skills training, behavior management, and other intervention strategies
- helping families and schools deal with crises, such as separation and loss
- identifying potential learning difficulties
- designing programs for children at risk for failure
- providing parents and teachers with the skills to help manage difficult circumstances
- helping foster tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of diversity in the school community
- developing school-wide initiatives to make schools safer and more effective
- promoting positive school climates for all children to succeed
- teaching and learning strategies
- classroom management techniques
- working with students who have disabilities or exceptional talent
- substance abuse
- crisis management
- staff/professional development
- parenting education
Research and Planning
- to evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs, behavior management systems, and other services
- to generate new knowledge about learning and behavior
- to contribute to planning and evaluating school-wide reform and restructuring