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School Psychologists Needed

November 23, 2018

School Psychologists Needed

We recently celebrated School Psychology Awareness Week and the theme was, “Unlock Potential. Find Your Password.” On the website of the National Association of School Psychology, a password is defined as a key for unlocking any areas of potential in our lives. The goal is to connect with how modern youth unlock things — such as gaming levels, phones, devices and code — and to highlight how thinking about specific skills, assets or characteristics as “passwords” can lead to positive growth. School psychologists are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in unlocking the resources, skills and connections necessary to thrive in school and life. School psychologists are qualified members of school teams that support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. They apply their expertise in learning, mental health and behavior to help children succeed academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally. School psychologists join families, teachers, administrators and other professionals to create healthy and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school and community. Lastly, school psychologists improve schoolwide assessment and accountability by monitoring individual instruction and progress in both behavior and academics. School psychologists typically complete either a specialist-level degree program or a doctoral degree. Both require a yearlong supervised internship. The specialist-level degree is the national standard for entry into the field. A doctoral degree is typically essential to working in academia and pursuing research interests. Regrettably, research suggests that long-standing shortages of school psychologists continue to threaten students’ access to needed services. Further, researchers predict continuing shortages of school psychologists. However, two opposing forces — continuing shortages in school psychology and a growing need for services for students and schools — pose significant threats to the ability of schools to meet the needs of their students. In order to respond, the National Association of School Psychologists has developed an initiative that addresses factors contributing to shortages in school psychology. As part of this initiative, the association developed a resource guide with specific recommendations for how best to address the shortages in school psychology. The association also has developed a webinar that reviews the current resources available on its website that can help state and national leaders address school psychology shortages. Specific recommendations on how state and local school psychology associations can use the resources is also offered. The shortage in school psychology has the potential to significantly undermine the availability of high-quality services to students, families and schools. However, every school has access to the services of a school psychologist, although some serve two or more schools so they may not be at a particular school every day. School psychologists who serve school districts in Northeast Pennsylvania are highly credentialed professionals with a wealth of experience. 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. I encourage people interested in learning more about a career in school psychology to contact their local school district. Contact the writer: msanlamanna@gmail.com

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