Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Transforming Our Role

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Transforming Our Role

Article excerpt

I remember (back in the 1970s) Dr. Mary Alice White and other professors in our graduate program insisting that we students conceptualize our roles as comprehensive in nature-serving all students in all aspects of their schooling. We were taught assessment skills; but also skills for behavioral, emotional, and instructional intervention. We were encouraged to take a systemic perspective in our work. Upon graduation, I realized that this was not the role of most practitioners in the real world; school psychology was still primarily about assessment, and school psychologists were very much diagnosticians.

Sound familiar? Nearly 40 years later, many colleagues describe assessment as the predominant (and sometimes only) activity they engage in. Some of these colleagues have chosen this role and have become highly skilled specialists in assessment of one type or another. Indeed, it is a time-honored and valuable role for school psychologists, and these colleagues derive a lot of satisfaction from it. Other colleagues lament the limitations imposed on their practice and feel constrained by this kind of role and wish they could take a broader approach to their profession. Effecting such a change, especially when traditional practice models are deeply established within the system, can be very difficult, and progress must often be measured in baby steps more than giant strides.

But things are much different today, and many of us now have roles that encompass the full range of school psychological services described in the NASP Practice Model. For those who want to advocate for expansion of their roles, the NASP Practice Model, the NASP Practice Model Implementation Guide, and the newly published Ready to Learn, Empowered to Teach and School Psychologists: Qualified Health Professionals offer specific recommendations and strategies for expanding school psychologists' roles in the areas of instruction and mental/behavioral health. …

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