This week is School Psychology Awareness Week, so I wanted to devote a post to explaining what a school psychologist is and what they do. It seems that many people think a school psychologist is the same thing as a guidance counselor or are not really familiar with the term.
School Psychologists can work in many different settings such as schools (obviously), universities, hospitals, clinics, private practice, juvenile justice programs.
School Psychologists know more about psychology than any educator and more about education than any psychologist. They help bridge the gap between education and mental health in order to figure out how to help the child as best as possible.
School Psychologists perform many different assessments such as for classroom placement, special education or for specific mental health issues. They participate in meetings with other professionals and use their knowledge to come up with the best way to help each specific child. They may work with parents, social workers, special education staff, teachers, principals and many other types of professionals.
School Psychologists may also provide counseling in order to improve behavior, promote social support, and provide emotional support to individuals or groups. They are usually the front runners during a crisis and may provide training, counseling and other methods of support to teachers, students, parents and staff.
To put it simply, School Psychologists work to improve academic achievement, mental health, behavior and student quality of life overall. They can help prevent suicide, support students in stressful times, provide a better plan for a student struggling with school, and make many other positive changes in the lives of students.