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Special Education and Gifted Education » Role of Psychologist

Role of Psychologist


School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community.


School psychologists receive specialized advanced graduate preparation that includes coursework and practical experiences relevant to both psychology and education. School psychologists typically complete either a specialist-level degree program (at least 60 graduate semester hours) or a doctoral degree (at least 90 graduate semester hours), both of which include a year-long 1,200-hour supervised internship. Graduate preparation develops knowledge and skills in:

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Assessment
  • Progress Monitoring
  • School-wide practices to promote learning
  • Resilience and risk factors
  • Consultation and collaboration
  • Academic/learning interventions
  • Mental health interventions
  • Behavioral interventions
  • Instructional support
  • Prevention and Intervention services
  • Special education services
  • Crisis preparedness, response, and recovery
  • Family-school-community collaboration
  • Diversity in development and learning
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Professional ethics, school law, and systems

School psychologists must be credentialed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). They also may be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB). The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) sets standards for graduate preparation, credentialing, professional practice, and ethics.

The Diplomate in School Neuropsychology credential is awarded by the ABSNP, LLC to applicants who demonstrate competency in school neuropsychology. The ABSNP, LLC requires documentation of one's professional skills and training, passage of a written objective examination, and an oral defense of a written case study. The ABSNP, LLC provides validation of a school neuropsychologist's professional skills and helps promote those skills to peers and to the public. Current Diplomates in School Neuropsychology have maintained their professional skills through documented annual continuing education requirements.


Improve Academic Achievement

• Promote student motivation and engagement

• Conduct psychological and academic assessments

• Individualize instruction and interventions

• Manage student and classroom behavior

• Monitor student progress

• Collect and interpret student and classroom data

• Reduce inappropriate referrals to special education.

Support Diverse Learners

• Assess diverse learning needs

• Provide culturally responsive services to students and families from diverse backgrounds

• Plan appropriate Individualized Education Programs for students with disabilities

• Modify and adapt curricula and instruction

• Adjust classroom facilities and routines to improve student engagement and learning

• Monitor and effectively communicate with parents about student progress

Promote Positive Behavior and Mental Health

• Improve students communication and social skills

• Assess student emotional and behavioral needs

• Provide individual and group counseling

• Promote problem solving, anger management, and conflict resolution

• Reinforce positive coping skills and resilience

• Promote positive peer relationships and social problem solving

• Make referrals to and coordinate services with community-based providers

Create Safe, Positive School Climates

• Prevent bullying and other forms of violence

• Support social–emotional learning

• Assess school climate and improve school connectedness

• Implement and promote positive discipline and restorative justice

• Implement school-wide positive behavioral supports

• Identify at-risk students and school vulnerabilities

• Provide crisis prevention and intervention services


Strengthen Family–School Partnerships

• Help families understand their children’s learning and mental health needs

• Assist in navigating special education processes

• Connect families with community service providers when necessary

• Help effectively engage families with teachers and other school staff

• Enhance staff understanding of and responsiveness to diverse cultures and backgrounds

• Help students transition between school and community learning environments, such as residential treatment or juvenile justice programs

Improve School-Wide Assessment and Accountability

• Monitor individual student progress in academics and behavior

• Generate and interpret useful student and school outcome data

• Collect and analyze data on risk and protective factors related to student outcomes

• Plan services at the district, building, classroom, and individual levels

Who is Chestnut Ridge School District’s School Psychologist?

Mr. Paul Engleman, NSCP, ABSNP

Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Diplomate of the American Board of School Neuropsychology

(814) 839-4195 x2008

[email protected]