November 13-17 is National School Psychology Awareness Week. The goal of this week is to recognize the role that school psychologists play in schools and to join others across the country in making a commitment to be agents of positive change in schools. This year's theme is Power Up! Be a Positive Charge. Read on to learn more about the field of school psychology and ways that education professionals can be agents of positive change.
What is a school psychologist?
School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They have expertise in assessment, 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. It is recognized as the #1 Best Social Service Job according to U.S. News and World Report rankings.
What training do school psychologists receive?
School psychologists receive specialized advanced graduate preparation that includes coursework and practical experiences relevant to both psychology and education. When applying to a school psychology graduate program, applicants most often have an undergraduate degree in psychology, but other majors are considered, such as education, family-child studies, or sociology. School psychologists typically complete either a specialist-level degree program (at least 60 graduate semester hours) or a doctoral degree (at least 90 graduate semester hours), both of which include a year-long 1,200 hour supervised internship. At FSU, we offer a M.S./Ed.S. in School Psychology as well as a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and School Psychology. In graduate school, school psychology students are trained in:
- Consultation and collaboration
- Academic, mental health, and behavioral interventions
- Prevention and intervention services, and school-wide practices to promote learning
- Special education services
- Crisis preparedness, response, and recovery
- Family-school-community collaboration
- Diversity in development and learning
- Professional ethics, school law, and systems
Where do school psychologists work? The vast majority of school psychologists work in K-12 public schools. They also provide services in a variety of other settings, including private schools, preschools, school district administration offices, colleges, universities, school-based health and mental health centers, community-based day treatment or residential clinics and hospitals, juvenile justice programs, and independent private practice.
What do school psychologists do? School psychologists provide direct support and interventions to students, consult with teachers, families, and other school-employed mental health professionals (i.e., school counselors, school social workers) to improve support strategies, work with school administrators to improve school-wide practices and policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate needed services. They help schools:
- Improve academic achievement
- Promote positive behavior and mental health
- Support diverse learners
- Create a safe, positive school climates
- Strengthen family-school partnerships
- Improve school-wide assessment and accountability
- Monitor individual student progress in academics and behavior
Why do children need school psychologists?
All children and youth can face problems from time to time related to learning; social relationships; making difficult decisions; or managing emotions such as feeling depressed, anxious, worried, or isolated. School psychologists help students, families, educators, and members of the community understand and resolve both long-term, chronic problems and short-term issues that students may face. They are a highly skilled and ready resource in the effort to ensure that all children and youth thrive in school, at home, and in life. School psychologists are often an integral member of the team of professionals that conduct evaluations, create individualized educational plans, and determine eligibility for special education.
Where can I learn more about the field of school psychology?
For additional information about school psychology, visit the National Association of School Psychologists website: NASPonline.org.
What is the FSU School Psychology program like?
The School Psychology Program at FSU is a three-year, NASP-approved program, with two years of on-campus coursework followed by a two-semester internship. Graduates receive both a master's (M.S.) and a specialist (Ed.S.) degree and leave ready to enter the workforce. Graduates are also eligible to receive the National Certification in School Psychology credential after passing the national exam. For additional information about the school psychology programs at FSU, visit the M.S./Ed.S. in School Psychology or Combined Ph.D. Counseling Psychology and School Psychology program pages.
Who are the School Psychology faculty?
There are three faculty at FSU who specialize in School Psychology. Dr. Angela Canto is an associate professor whose research involves working with youth and families affected by trauma, crisis, and pediatric health conditions to identify factors that impact behavioral, academic, and social outcomes. Her goal is to develop effective interventions and training approaches to support professionals' work with this population. Dr. Kathleen Krach is an assistant professor whose research includes the overlapping fields of multilingual assessment, technology-based assessment, and social-emotional assessment. Her goal is to integrate these three areas by developing computer-based, social-emotional assessments that can be administered in multiple languages. Dr. Lyndsay Jenkins is the newest school psychology faculty member in the program. She graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2012 with a Ph.D. in Psychology, specializing in School psychology. She primarily conducts research on bullying and school violence, particularly the role bystanders play in preventing bullying.