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Special Education » Role of Psychologist

Role of Psychologist

Who are School Psychologists?

School Psychologists are professionals trained to work with preschoolers, children, adolescents, and their teachers and families. They work with all school personnel to help make education for students a positive and rewarding experience. The training requirements to become a school psychologist are a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours plus a year-long internship. Training emphasizes preparation in psychometrics, mental health, child development, learning, assessment and motivation. To work as a school psychologist, one must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which services are provides. School psychologists also may be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB).

What Do School Psychologists Do?

Depending on the setting (i.e., public or private schools, universities, clinics, institutions, private practice, community agencies and hospitals), school psychologist can be involved in a variety of tasks, including consultation, education, research, assessment and intervention.


*collaborate with teacher, parents, and school personnel about learning, social and behavior problems.

*help others better understand child development and its relationship to learning and behavior.

*strengthen working relationships between educators, parents and the community


*Provide educational programs on classroom management strategies, parenting skills, working with students with disabilities or gifted and talented students, teaching and learning strategies.


*evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs, behavior management procedures, and other services provided in the school setting

*conduct research to generate new knowledge to improve learning and behavior


Working closely with parents and teachers, school psychologists use a wide variety of techniques, to evaluate: academic skills, learning aptitudes, social skills, self-help skills, emotional development, behavioral functioning, eligibility for special education programs, school and classroom programs, career and vocational goals.


*work directly with students or families

*help solve conflicts and problems related to learning and adjustment

*provide counseling, social skills training, behavior management, and other interventions

*help families deal with difficult crises such as separation or loss

Role of the School Psychologist at Chestnut Ridge School District:

At Chestnut Ridge School District, we have one school psychologist for grades kindergarten through high school. Her role consists largely of consultation, education and assessment, with her primary responsibility being the evaluation of students experiencing learning, behavioral or emotional difficulties to determine eligibility for special education services. Assessments of bright learners are also conducted in order to determine eligibility for Gifted Support Services, as well as the evaluation of preschoolers transitioning to kindergarten from an early intervention program to determine needed supports upon entering school. Evaluation reports are produced by the school psychologist that include results of all input received and assessments conducted as part of the comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluation process; specific recommendations regarding the student’s needs are the culmination of the comprehensive evaluation process.

Our school psychologist is an active member of the Student Support Team, RtI Data Team, and provides input into curriculum/instruction/assessment issues, especially as they related to intervention programs. Additionally, our school psychologist conducts state mandated re-evaluations of students accessing special education programs outside the district, and provides input into the Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings conducted on students eligible for special education services.

Furthermore, she has trained the staff in the administration of a universal screening measure, DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), and has presented numerous sessions on topics relevant to Response-To-Intervention (both in and out of the district), including a presentation to the Pennsylvania State Elementary and Secondary Principals Association in 2008. Moreover, she is actively engaged in data analysis (AIMSweb, PVAAS, PSSA, 4Sight) of individuals/groups, the development of more effective pre-referral processes, and facilitated the implementation of our elementary Response-To-Intervention Model along with the elementary principal. For more information on Response-To-Intervention, please refer to that listing on the website.