Best Practice Guidelines for School Psychology Internships

Article excerpt

The NASP Delegate Assembly voted unanimously to endorse a new set of best practice guidelines for school psychology internships at its meeting in Boston on February 28, 2009. The guidelines, which were developed as part of the NASP standards revision process, are intended to:

* Promote quality preparation of school psychologists and service provision to children, youth, and families

* Foster the internship as an educational experience involving collaboration between university training programs and internship sites

* Encourage greater consistency in opportunities and support across internship sites

The guidelines were developed over several years, beginning with an examination of existing NASP training standards (NASP, 2000) and the school psychology internship guidelines of some national organizations and states. Drafts were then developed with input from various NASP constituencies, including NASP volunteer leaders, executive officers and staff, student leaders, and members of the Program Approval Board and Standards Writing Committee. They were also posted for comment on various NASP Listservs, and on the Listservs of the Trainers in School Psychology and the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs.

Although adherence by internship field sites is voluntary, it is hoped that the guidelines will encourage quality experiences, supervision, and support during what is universally recognized as a critical period in professional development. NASP will be exploring ways to make the guidelines relevant and helpful to school psychology graduate programs and field sites.

The guidelines address four general aspects of internships, including: principles, conceptualization, and management of the internship; depth, breadth, and focus of the internship; supervision, mentoring, and collaboration; and intern evaluation, feedback, and support. The specific guidelines are as follows. Note that an asterisk (*) signifies the existence of a corresponding NASP training standard. The 2000 NASP Standards for in School Psychology served as the initial base. Modifications in the guidelines will be made if/when the corresponding standard is revised.

I. Principles, Conceptualization, and Management of the Internship

1.1 The internship is conceptualized as a culminating training experience* in which the primary focus is on providing breadth and quality of training to the intern.

1.2 The site, preparing university program, and intern adhere to NASP Principles of Professional Practice/ Ethics

1.3 The internship site, university program, and intern have a written agreement* that includes a clear statement of the expectations and responsibilities of each party (including total hours and duties to be performed by the intern), benefits and support to be provided by the internship site, and the process by which interns are to be supervised and evaluated.

1.4 If the site solicits direct applications from prospective interns, it provides information about the site and the internship application and selection process. It notifies applicants whether or not they have been selected in a timely manner.

1.5 The site uses a title, such as "school psychology intern," that designates the training status of the intern. Psychological reports or similar professional reports to consumers, other professionals, or other authences must be signed by the credential ed intern supervisor.

1.6 In states in which provisional certification or an intern certificate is required for internship, the site makes the training program and intern aware of such requirements and assists the preparing program and intern as necessary in applying for or securing such credential.

II. Depth, Breadth, and Focus of the Internship

2.1 The internship for specialist level interns includes at least 1,200 hours, and the internship for doctoral interns includes at least 1,500 hours completed on a full-time basis over ? …