School Psychology

Julie Benson
Anita Kramer
Brent Schwierjohn
Kelly Witherbee
Laura Spates

What is a School Psychologist?

A school psychologist is a professional that collaborates with teachers, parents, students, and other professionals to create healthy and supportive learning environments to help students succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. School psychologists are highly trained in psychology and education. This training focuses on mental health, child development, school organization, learning styles and processes, behavior, motivation, and effective teaching.
School psychologists can work in a variety of settings. These settings include public and private school systems, school-based health centers, clinics and hospitals, private practice, universities, as well as community and state agencies. The services provided by a school psychologist may differ depending upon work setting and location.
Specifically in the school setting, the school psychologist has many roles to fill. One of the main goals of a school psychologist is to identify, by evaluation, those students that are eligible for special education services. Another responsibility of the school psychologist is to consult with teachers, parents, and other school staff to find effective solutions to learning and behavior problems. Some of these solutions may lead to intervention by the psychologist. This could involve psychological counseling, providing training in areas such as social skills or anger management, or working with families to resolve problems or crises.
In addition, school psychologists are also involved in research and planning in the school system. They use evidence-based programs and interventions with students as well as assist in the development and implementation of programs and strategies aimed at improving schools. School psychologists also function in the area of prevention by designing and implementing programs for at-risk students. Some examples of these programs are violence prevention, diversity issues, suicide, substance abuse, truancy, teen pregnancy, peer pressure, school failure, and others. These psychologists also act as advocates for students and families by collaborating and facilitating relationships with school staff and other community agencies.
The information above was provided by the National Association of School Psychologists and the Illinois School Psychologist Association.

Helpful Websites

Illinois School Psychologists Association
National Association of School Psychologists
Illinois State Board of Education
Illinois State Board of Education Special Education
School Psychology Resources Website
U.S. Department of Education
Special Education Resources Website