School Psychologist Recognized This Week
BY TIM LUSSIER
Moore County Schools
The important role of school psychologists is being highlighted in the Moore County school system this week during National School Psychology Awareness Week.
The local school system has 11 psychologists to serve 23 schools. On any given day, the psychologists can be dealing with behavioral issues of a young child, a relationship crisis at the high school, testing for a variety of learning problems, or meeting with parents, teachers, students and administrators.
School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education, completing a minimum of a specialist-level degree program (at least 60 graduate semester hours) that includes a year-long supervised internship.
This training emphasizes preparation in mental health and educational interventions, child development, learning, behavior, motivation, curriculum and instruction, assessment, consultation, collaboration, school law and systems.
School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work. They also may be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB). Three of the 11 psychologists in the Moore County school system - Freda Alley, Mary Jackson and Ginger MacDonald - have national certification.
"We are fortunate to have a dedicated staff of school psychologists who truly are committed to serving children," said Tina Kissell, administrator for student services. "They are a diverse team of student-centered specialists with a range of skills. Each individual brings a set of valued talents to the team which benefits all schools in the system."
Moore County school psychologists work with students to provide counseling, instruction and mentoring for those struggling with social, emotional and behavioral problems. They also help students and their families to identify and address learning and behavior problems that interfere with school success and to evaluate eligibility for special education services (within a multidisciplinary team).
School psychologists work with teachers to identify and resolve academic barriers to learning and design and implement student progress monitoring systems and behavioral interventions. Additionally, they assist administrators to collect and analyze data related to school improvement, student outcomes and promotion of school policies and practices.
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