Find Your Focus - National School Psychologist Week

Category : Academics

National School Psychologist Week Highlights the Essential Work Being Done with Students

Tuesday , November 12 , 2019

PVSchools School Psychologists

Find Your Focus is the theme of this year’s National School Psychologist Week – November 11th-15th. National School Psychologist Week highlights the important work that school psychologists do to help students thrive. 

At PVSchools, our school psychologists believe in advocating for equitable access and opportunities for all students. They promote academic progress, as well as emotional, social, and psychological wellness through the identification of strengths, needs, interventions, resources, and supports. School psychologists seek to empower students with developing self-advocacy skills.

“We believe positive home and school collaboration is essential to facilitating prosocial behaviors and academic gains. We value innovative, evidence-based, culturally competent, and ethically sound practices and recognize that positive, supportive, safe and inclusive learning environments are essential to student success,” said Suzanne O’Dea, lead school psychologist.  

Students Benefit When There Are School Psychologists on Campus

In PVSchools and across the nation, school psychologists play an essential role in the lives of students. School psychologists provide students with short-term support and crisis response intervention. 

“School psychologists use psychological and educational assessments collected through special education evaluations to assist in the design and development of Individual Education Programs (IEP) for students with educational disabilities,” said O’Dea.  

School psychologists consult with teachers, families, and other school-employed mental health professionals such as school counselors and school social workers to enhance evidence-based practices. They work with school administrators to improve school-wide practices and policies and collaborate with community providers to coordinate vital services.

“Children and youth experiencing academic and social or emotional challenges may require additional supports identified through the school’s Student Teacher Assistance Team (STAT).  School psychologists consult with STAT in an effort to ensure that all children and youth thrive in school, at home, and in life,” added O’Dea.

Why It’s Important to Have School Psychologists

The National Association of School Psychologists recognizes that school psychologists are “uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They apply their 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.” 

How the School Psychologists of PVSchools Help Students 

School psychologists are primarily assigned to school sites according to the total general and special education enrollment, and the number and type of specialized special education programs on a campus.  Currently, PVSchools has 38.70 full-time employees of school psychologists assigned to meet the diverse needs of 42 separate school sites with a total enrollment of more than 30,000 students who attend PVSchools. There are additional school psychologists responsible for training, bilingual evaluations and consultation services, preschool evaluations and screenings, and for conducting non-profit private school evaluations. 

School psychologists promote proactive solutions by consulting with teachers to develop positive behavior support plans and assist in identifying strategies to improve student achievement. Some school psychologists assist leadership teams with the design and implementation of tiered schoolwide positive behavior supports and academic interventions for low achieving students.

“There really is no such thing as a typical day for a school psychologist. We may be conducting individualized student assessments in cognition, academics, adaptive behavior, or social-emotional development, consulting with parents, teachers, administrators regarding student needs and strategies to help support student learning and social-emotional development, collaborating on the development of positive behavior support plans or responding to a student in crisis,” added O’Dea.  

PVSchools value school psychologists for their contributions in supporting our students, families, and educators in the district.