School psychology is a discipline that applies the principles of clinical psychology and educational psychology in order to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. Although students are their primary clients, school psychologists often collaborate with teachers, administrators, parents, and community services. They are involved in such services as providing treatment to reach individual goals, utilizing prevention and early intervention to limit students’ troubles, providing crisis and trauma intervention, bringing awareness to mental health issues, educating about diversity, administering assessments to help with diagnosis of specific problems, advocating for students within the community and school system, and providing case management and consultation.
For students, school psychologists provide counseling, instruction, and mentoring for those students who struggle with social, emotional, and behavioral problems. They help increase achievement by identifying barriers to learning and by determining the instructional strategies to improve learning. With students and their families, school psychologists teach parenting skills and help enhance home-school collaboration. They also help evaluate students for special education services and help coordinate meetings between parents and school.
With teachers, school psychologists collaborate regarding academic barriers to learning, designing and implementing student progress monitoring systems and academic/behavioral interventions. They also help motivate students to engage in learning by creating positive classroom environments. School psychologists also work with administrators to collect and analyze data related to school improvement and student outcomes, implement school-wide prevention programs, promote school policies and practice to ensure student safety, respond to crises, and design and implement comprehensive school mental health programming.
After learning about school psychology and all of the duties and responsibilities that the profession entails, I have gained much appreciation and respect for school psychologists. I imagine that it must be very stressful to collaborate and coordinate with so many different parties regarding such complex and important issues as children’s academic and mental health. School psychologists have to be well organized, dependable, flexible, patient, empathic, and have good written and interpersonal communication skills. It also seems as though they have to be good at resolving conflicts between parties because often parents may not agree with teachers or administrators and vice versa. This would require school psychologists to be good at calming, reassuring, and listening to individual parties, and at the same time providing constructive feedback and offering solutions to problems.