A school psychologist is certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide specialized services to school children. Every school psychologist must have at least a Master's degree and 30 additional graduate credits (including an extensive internship) in school psychology. To be permanently certified, she or he must also show competence over three years of supervised work. Many school psychologists have also earned doctorate in school psychology.
School psychologists receive special training in child development, learning processess, emotional and behavioral adjustment, and psychological and instructional testing. School administrators, principals and teachers rely on school psychologists when planning educational decisions about school children.
A school psychologist works in various ways to enhance your child's school experience. The psychologist may work with children from pre-school through age 21 and may:
· Work with the Response To Intervention and Instruction (RTII) which provides special support in the regular classroom to children who have not profited from the regular education program.
· Evaluate the effectiveness of special techniques and materials used by the teacher.
· Identify children who might need special education attention.
· Help develop an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) for children who receive special education services.
· Conduct assessments with students who might need gifted education services.
· Participate in student assistance programs to help children who might have drug-related or emotional problems.
· Counsel students and parents regarding learning and behavior problems.
School psychologists consult with counselors, administrators and others about our child's learning and adjustment. Most important, the school psychologist will consult with you, as the child's parents, and his or her teachers to understand your child's needs.
The school psychologist develops recommendations for your child's education by talking with you, your child and your child's teachers; observing your child in the classroom; administering standardized psychological tests; assessing the way your child is benefiting from the current school curriculum; and gathering reports (if any) from other professionals. This information is shared with you and the other members of the evaluation team (such as the teacher, school administrator and counselor). Otherwise, these records are confidential and will not be shared with anyone without your permission. Together, the team tailors an educational program that is appropriate for your child. A report of the team's conclusions and recommendations is also made available to you.