• School Psychologist

    Evelyn Razryadov


    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 1200 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.

    Where Do School Psychologists Work?

    The vast majority of school psychologists work in K-12 public schools. They also provide services in a variety of other settings, including:

    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

    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 student motivation and engagement

    Conduct psychological and academic assessments

    Individualize instruction and interventions

    Manage student and classroom behavior

    Monitor student progress

    Collect and interpret student and classroom data

    Reduce inappropriate referrals to special education.

    Promote Positive Behavior and Mental Health

    Improve students communication and social skills

    Assess student emotional and behavioral needs

    Provide individual and group counseling

    Promote problem solving, anger management and conflict resolution

    Reinforce positive coping skills and resilience

    Promote positive peer relationships and social problem solving

    Make referrals to and help coordinate community services provided in schools

    Support Diverse Learners

    Assess diverse learning needs

    Provide culturally responsive services to students and families from diverse backgrounds

    Plan appropriate Individualized Education Programs for students with disabilities

    Modify and adapt curricula and instruction

    Adjust classroom facilities and routines to improve student engagement and learning

    Monitor and effectively communicate with parents about student progress

    Create Safe, Positive School Climates

    Prevent bullying and other forms of violence

    Support social–emotional learning

    Assess school climate and improve school connectedness

    Implement and promote positive discipline and restorative justice

    Implement school-wide positive behavioral supports

    Identify at risk students and school vulnerabilities

    Provide crisis prevention and intervention services

    Strengthen Family–School Partnerships

    Help families understand their child's learning and mental health needs

    Assist in navigating special education processes

    Connect families with community service providers when necessary

    Help effectively engage families with teachers and other school staff

    Enhance staff understanding and responsiveness to diverse cultures and backgrounds

    Help students transition between school and community learning environments, such as residential treatment or juvenile justice programs

    Improve School-Wide Assessment and Accountability Monitor individual student progress in academics and behavior

    Generate and interpret useful student and school outcome data

    Collect and analyze data on risk and protective factors related to student outcomes

    Plan services at the district, building, classroom, and individual levels

    Why Do Children Need School Psychologists?

    All children and youth can face problems from time to time related to learning; social relationships; making difficult decisions; or managing emotions such as feeling depressed, anxious, worried, or isolated. School psychologists help students, families, educators, and members of the community understand and resolve both long-term, chronic problems and short-term issues that students may face. They are a highly skilled and ready resource in the effort to ensure that all children and youth thrive in school, at home, and in life.

    Accessed from NASPonline.org