School psychologists have specialized graduate school level training in the fields of psychology, human development and education. They use their professional expertise (skills and training) to work with students, parents, school personnel and systems to help all children reach their learning potential and to build skills to promote resilient mental and physical health. School psychologists are certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Additionally, some earn the crredential of Nationally Certified School Psychologist, and some have earned a PA License as a Psychologist.
Each school psychologist must have at least a Master's Degree and 30 additional graduate credits in school psychology and also a 1200 hour supervised internship. Some earn doctoral degrees. The responsibilities of school psychologists include: assessment, diagnostic eligibility determination, consultation, intervention, providing trainings and counseling.
School psychologists use a wide range of assessment techniques and procedures including administering psychological and educational tests to students who are experiencing difficulties and needs for support in their learning, social, emotional, or behavioral functioning. Testing is often conducted as part of a Multidisciplinary Team Evaluation to determine whether the student is showing a physical or mental disability that requires special education programs and related services. School psychologists also function as part of teams who conduct evaluations of students to determine whether they are mentally gifted and in need of specially designed instruction including accelerated, enriching, and/or advanced educational curricula.
School psychologists provide advice and recommendations to parents, teachers and other school personnel regarding children's learning or behavior problems. They may provide training in behavior management, social skills, or effective teaching practices.
School psychologists work as members of student support teams to develop interventions and programs for students who are experiencing learning or behavior problems.
School psychologists may provide individual or small group counseling to students to teach them social skills or coping strategies.
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 employs school psychologists who provide services to districts in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Somerset Counties. While working with multidisciplinary teams, they develop evaluation/reevaluation reports, as well as provide behavioral intervention techniques to staff when needed. The IU8 School Psychologists’ and Social Workers’ Consortium is a multi – day event that is held throughout the school year and serves as a networking opportunity for district psychologists and social workers to meet and receive professional development as well as share resources and ideas from different programs.