Who are School Psychologists?

School psychologists apply their expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior in order to help children succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists have specialized training in both mental health and education, and know how to identify and lower barriers to learning. These barriers can include developmental or learning disabilities, behavior difficulties, teaching styles, school/classroom climate, problems at home or with friends, violence, trauma, and mental health problems. School psychologists collaborate with parents, school staff, and other professionals to create safe, healthy and supportive learning environments so that all students can learn and achieve their best.

What School Psychologists Do?

School psychologists provide interventions to students, consult with teachers, families, and other school-employed mental health professionals (i.e., school social workers), work with school administrators to improve school-wide practices and policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate needed services. A large part of their job is to assess children for special education services. School psychologists use many different approaches, but generally provide these core services:


Intervention & Collaboration

Improve Academic Achievement

Promote Positive Behavior and Mental Health

Create Safe, Positive School Climates

Strengthen Family-School Partnerships

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 or a doctoral degree, both of which include a year long supervised internship. Graduate preparation develops knowledge and skills in: data collection and analysis; assessment; 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.

Where School Psychologists Work in Our District

Every school in District 196 employs a school psychologist. At Diamond Path Elementary School of International Studies, the school psychologist maintains part time hours on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Adapted from: "What Is a School Psychologist", Andrea Canter, Helping Children at Home and School II: Handouts for Families and Educators, NASP, 2004, and from www.nasponline.org