School Psychs: Who are They and What Can They Do?

November 9, 2021
Laura Hall, D.Ed, NCSP
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Care Options for Kids, formerly The Hello Foundation has always had a dedicated handful of school psychologists, but we have welcomed 20 school psychologists to our ranks this year! The role of a school psychologist varies from state to state and even from district to district, so we thought we'd kick off National School Psychology Week (NSPW) with a primer on what this invaluable member of the school team does.

Text reads: SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS support student' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They are experts in learning, behavior, mental health, school systems. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has provided this resource to help educate districts, administrators, parents, and school staff on school psychologists and how they can be an asset to education. 

What do school psychologists do? NASP states that "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." On a day-to-day basis, you might find us . . .
— Conducting psycho-educational evaluations and writing reports
— Scheduling and facilitating eligibility and IEP meetings with staff and parents
— Consulting with staff and families to navigate the special education process and better understand students' learning and mental health needs
— Facilitating manifestation meetings
— Writing functional behavioral assessments and plans
— Assisting staff with behavior plan setup
— Managing data collection and analysis for student academic and behavior progress
— Participating in pre-referral and referral process for students who are struggling
— Supporting students, staff, and families through crisis, trauma, and change

Why do schools need school psychologists? School psychs contribute immensely to the overall functioning and well-being of a school community. We are uniquely qualified to help with academic achievement, student mental health, supporting the unique needs of all students, school climate, and the school-home connection. NASP has published a research summary on how school psychologists improve student and school outcomes, which is full of excellent references that link research to our everyday practices. 

Where can I learn more about school psychologists? NASP is a fantastic place to start! This page has more information about the profession, becoming a school psych, and our professional standards. You can also learn more about us by talking to us! Make sure you know who your school and district school psychologist is, and take some time to meet with them. They can offer so much insight into your school and district and help you bridge the gap between regular and special education. 

Happy National School Psychology Week!