School Psychologists Share Insights About Their Role During School Psychology Awareness Week
Category : CCSD
School Psychology Awareness Week is November 14-18. The theme is Small Steps Change Lives, which, according to the National Association of School Psychologists, highlights how taking small steps can build greater successes and develop the academic and social-emotional skills students need to promote personal achievement, growth, and resilience, as well as a sense of belonging and wellbeing.
CCSD has a team of school psychologists who are assigned to various schools by zone. While they work largely with our Special Education population, they assist any student who needs their expertise. In celebration of School Psychology Awareness Week, we asked CCSD School Psychologists to share some insights into their unusual school district job:
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
I really enjoy working with the students one-on-one and helping them understand the purpose of the testing we do. I explain that the testing we do helps us (the school team) to better understand how their brain works for learning. When we understand how their brain works, then we are better able to help them be successful in class. –Hilda Ortiz, Hasty Elementary School and District-Wide Student Assessments
The most rewarding things about being a school psychologist are getting to collaborate with a variety of school staff members (speech-language pathologists, facilitators, occupational therapists, physical therapists, counselors, administrative staff, ESOL teachers, etc.) and being able to help teachers identify ways to encourage their students’ academic performance. –Wendy Fuhrman, Teasley Middle School
The most rewarding aspect of working as a School Psychologist is the opportunity to make a difference early in the lives of students who struggle with academic problems, social issues, or controlling their emotions and/or behaviors. I find it very rewarding to see students receive the supports needed to be successful in school and in life! Additional rewarding aspects of School Psychology are the varied tasks and ongoing challenges …..the profession is never boring! –John Poidevant, Lead School Psychologist
The most rewarding part of my job is hearing a student say that they like school since they have received the help that they need. –Celeste Harrison, Dean Rusk MS and Sequoyah HS
What are your biggest challenges in your job?
While the time I am able to spend with children, families, and colleagues is what I find most rewarding, it can also be the most challenging aspect. Finding enough time in the day to spend with teachers and parents for consultation and problem solving, time for student observations, time for direct assessment with students, and time to attend ongoing trainings can make the work days, weeks, and months fly by as a school psychologist! — Julie Maxwell, Carmel Elementary and Boston Elementary.
Time is my biggest challenge. Frequently, I am consulting with teachers and other school personnel on students for multiple schools and I feel it is important to listen and exchange ideas. As the school psychologist, of course, testing is part of our role. We complete observations. We complete many meetings. We have comprehensive reports, reviews, and other information that we write. Managing time to get to all of these important roles can be difficult. However, it is always interesting to work with teachers, staff, and parents to come up with a plan to help a student! –Deborah Silberstein, Canton ES, Mountain Road ES, and County language proficiency screenings
What does your typical day look like?
My day is the never the same and that’s one of things I like about my job! I could either be in meetings or working with students anywhere from kindergarten to 8th grade! –Kimberly Murray, Sixes Elementary School and Freedom Middle School
As a CCSD school psychologist, my day can vary so much, it’s hard to nail down a routine/typical day. Just a few of the tasks I’m involved with on any given day include: consulting with teachers and support staff to determine the best research based intervention to address a student’s area of weakness, 1-1 psychological evaluation sessions with a student, attending IEP meetings, and observations of students. –Kim Nofi, Cherokee High School and RM Moore Elementary School
Why did school psychology appeal to you (more so than general practice)?
I changed my major about 5 times while in undergrad, always knowing that I wanted to help people, but wasn’t sure in what capacity. A professor introduced me to school psychology and I knew instantly that it was a perfect fit for me. I enjoy working with students individually and from an education lens. It provides daily challenges that require me to think outside the box and from various perspectives. No two days are alike! Unlike most people, I really enjoy analyzing data, writing reports and organizing paperwork all in an effort to figure out how each individual student functions and then being able to apply it to their daily lives within the school setting. I always adored school when I was younger, so my mission is to try to help others have a successful and enjoyable school career despite their challenges. –Laura Killen, Dean Rusk Middle and Holly Springs Elementary
I loved the idea of working with children on a daily basis and the variety of the tasks. Every day is always different and the kids say the greatest things! –Lisa Palmer
Being a school psychologist appealed to me because of the diverse roles and responsibilities we have in the school setting. It is impossible to get bored or run out of things to do in this profession! Plus, children spend so much of their time in school; it is the perfect environment to help make a positive impact on their lives. –Megan Foster, Sequoyah HS and Tippens Educational Center
School Psychology appealed to me more so than general practice because of the broad scope of practice. In private practice, psychologists tend to specialize and see children with a narrow range of problems or a specific set of disabilities. Working in the public schools provides me the opportunity to play a small role in the academic success of children from diverse backgrounds who present with a wide-range of behavioral, emotional, and academic difficulties. Being a school psychologist is a dynamic, intellectually stimulating job which requires flexibility and creative problem-solving. I consult daily with parents, teachers, and administrators in an effort to prevent small concerns from turning into big problems. The students are great, I learn new things every day, and there is never a dull moment! –Sharyl Williams-Bandy, Clark Creek ES and Bascomb ES