Who Are School Psychologists?
School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams that 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.
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. 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. Graduate preparation develops knowledge and skills in:
- Data collection and analysis
- Progress monitoring
- School-wide practices to promote learning
- Resilience and risk factors
- Consultation and collaboration
- Academic/learning interventions
- Mental health interventions
- Behavioral interventions
- Instructional support
- Prevention and intervention services
- Special education services
- Crisis preparedness, response and recovery
- Family-school-community collaboration
- Diversity in development and learning
- Research and program evaluation
- Professional ethics, school law, and systems
School psychologists must be credentialed by the state in which they work. They also may be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB). The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) sets standards for graduate preparation, credentialing, professional practice and ethics. The NASP Practice Model (2010) outlines the comprehensive services that school psychologists are encouraged to provide.
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 successfully:
- Improve Academic Achievement
- Promote Positive Behavior and Mental Health
- Support Diverse Learners
- Create Safe, Positive School Climates
- Strengthen Family-School Partnerships
- Improve School-Wide Assessment and Accountability; Monitor individual student progress in academics and behavior
How Do I Contact a School Psychologist?
Every school has access to the services of a school psychologist, although some school psychologists serve two or more schools so may not be at a particular school every day. Most often, school psychologists can be reached by inquiring at the school directly, the district's central office or locating contact information on the school or district website.
Please see the assignment link on the right side of this page to find contact information for your child’s school psychologist. Also click the link to the WCPS School Psychology website to learn more about your child’s school psychologist.