Career Story: School Psychologist In A Public School District

School Psychologist In A Public School District

Job Title: School Psychologist

Type of Company: A public school district south of Boston.

Education: BS in Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook •• MA in Educational Psychology, Rhode Island College •• CAGS in School Psychology, Rhode Island College

Previous Experience: After college I worked for a large mental health center while attending graduate school part-time. I worked in a residential unit as a counselor, then assistant manager, and finally as manager.

Job Tasks: On a typical day, there are many things I may do. I observe students in their classrooms to see their behavior, preparedness, attention, and participation relative to their peers. I use standardized instruments to test students' cognitive abilities and academic achievement. I conduct behavioral evaluations using observations and rating scales. I need time to do research in student files. I take time to score all of these evaluations. Some are done on computer, and some by hand. Each students' assessment results in a report of 5-13 pages, on average, and could take hours to write. I consult with teachers and parents regarding their students. All of this culminates in a team meeting where my results, as well as those of other school professionals, are shared with everyone else. If we decide that a student needs specialized instruction, I write part of that document.

I supervise a school psychology intern, and consult to the other psychologists and special education coordinators in my district. I voluntarily take on jobs like maintaining our test inventory and ordering supplies.

I make use of a world-wide email listserv connecting school pscyhologists, where we all have the opportunty to share information (keeping it confidential, of course) and seek advice from peers. When the opportunity is there, I attend conferences of professional interest.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I enjoy working with the students the most, and trying to determine what their individual strengths and weaknesses are.

The worst part of the job, I think, is dealing with all of the ever-changing administrative policies. It is also very upsetting when we have minimal cooperation from parents.

Job Tips:
1. You must be current in trends in education and special education.

2. e familiar with special education laws and policies.

3. Fluency in a langauge besides English is a huge plus, as there is a demand for this.

4. Be willing to accept advice and constructive criticism from those in the field.

5. A knowledge of other cultures is also extremely helpful.

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