School Psychology is one of our newer travel career opportunities, while also being a lesser known discipline. So, what exactly does a school psychologist do? School psychologists are an important part of a school, and an integral member of the special education team. They work with teachers, students, and families to facilitate the teaching and learning processes.
They possess a unique skillset, specializing in mental health, learning, and behavior and applying their expertise to support student success in each of these areas. To better paint a picture of what that relationship looks like, we have a snapshot of a typical day in the life: School Psych Edition!
Conduct Psychological Evaluations
A school psychologist’s workload is based on referrals from teachers, parents, and school administrators—whether students are struggling in specific facets of school life or excelling. With access to each student’s interdisciplinary records, they are able begin a preliminary evaluation of areas in which the student requires educational support. As part of the evaluation process, they may observe a student during the course of their school day, or interview the student directly for more information.
Collaborate with the general and special education team to develop Student IEPs
Since each student’s situation is different, a school psychologist must work with teachers, administrators, staff, and family to ensure IEPs are current and provide information to write accurate goals and progress.
Teach Pro-Social School Behaviors to Students
To help students adapt to their school environment and achieve success, school psychologists teach them compensatory strategies and provide tools to help the student throughout their education and beyond.
Conduct Counseling Sessions with Students
Another job function of a school psychologist is to provide counseling to address a variety of issues. These sessions can be individual, or group focused, with the psychologist documenting the proceedings to address student needs that arise.
Work with Staff to Develop Evolving Intervention Methods
School psychologists also have to ensure their schools are following proper protocol in teaching and other practices with regard to students. To stay on top of the school, a psychologist might directly monitor a teacher’s methodologies, offer constructive feedback, and keep data on student performance in the classroom.
Facilitate Conflict Resolution Exercises with Students
If two (or more) students are involved in a conflict during school, a psychologist can work with them to help resolve the issue and offer alternative solutions for future situations.
Meet with Parents:
The relationship between a school psychologist and parents is paramount for student success. To keep each parent consistently updated on their child’s progress, a psychologist must meet regularly with them—either face to face or on the phone. This way, the psychologist is also aware of circumstances at home that might trigger certain behaviors from a student.
There you have it—a typical day for a school psychologist. As you can see, they are instrumental in supporting the success of every student they work with. Hopefully this snapshot provided some insight into the field of school psychology and the people who call it home. Next time you bump into your school’s psychologist in the hallway or the teacher’s lounge, or collaborate on a student IEP, strike up a conversation!