and School Psychologist
A Lifeline for Parents When Problems Arise at School
One of the most under-utilized and most effective
services available to our children as public school students
are the services offered through your school's guidance
counselors. Your school psychologist's or counselor's
primary focus is in helping to create and maintain an
environment that will foster the best academic, social and
emotional development for his or her student's. In
today's school systems, finding a sympathetic administrative
ear can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility.
The assistance of a good counselor can literally be the
light at the end of a very dark tunnel for many parents and
From student-teacher conflicts
to peer conflicts, confrontations and literally everything in between, your guidance
counselor's office can help. Make it a point to meet
your school psychologist and introduce your child.
If your child has socialization issues discuss those
problems with the psychologist and ask how they might be
able to assist.
As one of the most
invaluable services made available to parents and public
school students please take
the time to read through this information and visit the
National Association of School Psychologist web site for
Who Are School Psychologists
psychologists help children and youth succeed academically,
socially, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents,
and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive
learning environments for all students that strengthen connections
between home and school.
psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education.
They must complete a minimum of a post-Master’s degree program that
includes a year-long internship and emphasizes preparation in mental
health, child development, school organization, learning styles and
processes, behavior, motivation, and effective teaching.
psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in
which they work. They also may be nationally certified by the
National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB).
psychologists work to find the best solution for each student and
situation and use different strategies to address student needs and
to improve school and district-wide support systems.
psychologists work with students individually and in groups. They
also develop programs to train teachers and parents regarding
effective teaching and learning strategies, effective techniques to
manage behavior at home and in the classroom, working with students
with disabilities or with special talents, abuse of drugs and other
substances, and preventing and managing crises.
In addition, most
school psychologists provide the following services.
with teachers, parents, and administrators to find effective
solutions to learning and behavior problems.
understand child development and how it affects learning and
working relationships between teachers, parents, and service
providers in the community.
eligibility for special services.
skills and aptitude for learning.
social-emotional development and mental health status.
psychological counseling to help resolve interpersonal or family
problems that interfere with school performance.
with children and their families to help resolve problems in
adjustment and learning.
training in social skills and anger management.
and schools manage crises, such as
death, illness, or community trauma.
for children at risk of failing at school.
tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of diversity within
the school community.
programs to make schools safer and more effective learning
with school staff and community agencies to provide services
directed at improving psychological and physical health.
partnerships with parents and teachers to promote healthy school
effectiveness of academic and behavior management programs.
implement programs and strategies to improve schools.
evidence-based research to develop and/or recommend effective
The majority of
school psychologists work in schools. However, they can practice in
a variety of settings including:
private school systems
state agencies, and other institutions
Growing Up Is Not
All children and
adolescents face problems from time to time. They may:
Feel afraid to
go to school
organizing their time efficiently
Fall behind in
their school work
family matters such as divorce and death
drugs and alcohol
situations, such as applying to college, getting a job, or
aptitudes and abilities
psychologists help children, parents, teachers, and members of the
community understand and resolve these concerns. The following
situations demonstrate how school psychologists may typically
The teacher noticed
that Carla, an able student, had stopped participating in class
discussions and had difficulty paying attention. The school
psychologist was asked to explore why Carla’s behavior had changed
so much. After discovering that Carla’s parents were divorcing, the
school psychologist provided counseling for Carla and gave her
parents suggestions for this difficult time. Carla’s behavior and
self-esteem improved, and she felt more secure about her
relationship with her parents.
psychologists can be trusted to help with delicate personal and
family situations that interfere with schooling.
were concerned about his difficulty in reading. They feared that he
would fall behind and lose confidence in himself. In school the
teacher noticed that Tommy understood what was presented in verbal
form, but that he needed the help of his classmates to do written
work. After observing Tommy and gathering information about his
reading and writing skills, the school psychologist collaborated
with his parents and teachers to develop a plan to improve his
reading and writing. The plan worked, and both Tommy’s reading and
his self-esteem improved.
psychologists can help prevent future problems when they intervene
with learning problems early on.
A Potential Dropout
David was a high
school student who often skipped class. He had very poor behavior
and had been suspended from school on various occasions for
fighting. After establishing a relationship with David, the school
psychologist taught him simple techniques to relax and to control
his aggressive behavior. David’s mother and his teacher worked
together on a plan designed by the school psychologist to establish
limits and to improve communication.
psychologists recognize that changes in the school environment and
at home can improve the quality of life for children and their
Association of School Psychologists:
Suite 402, 4340 East West Highway,
Bethesda, MD 20814;
NASP represents and
supports school psychology through leadership to enhance the mental
and educational competence of all children.
was developed by Arlene Silva, University of Maryland school
psychology graduate student intern at the NASP office (summer 2003),
with contributions from NASP staff and leadership.