BETH KOLB, MA, CAGS, NCSP
What is a School Psychologist?
School Psychologists are experts in the fields of psychology and education. They use a broad knowledge of educational principles, human behavior, and learning theory to assist individuals in the school community.
Specific services performed by the school psychologist are federal and state mandated services, including counseling, conducting psychological evaluations, and serving as a member of the Committee on Special Education.
All school psychologists in the Bedford Central School District have obtained specialized training and are certified by the New York State Department of Education. They are consultants, specialized counselors, problem-solvers, child advocates, qualified examiners, mediators, and crisis managers. School psychologists work closely with parents and school personnel to optimize student performance and support the instructional process.
- Member of Multi-disciplinary Team
- Psychological Assessment
- Direct Intervention
- Community Liaison
- Education and Training Programs
In the Bedford Central School District, every school has a school psychologist as a member of the learning resource or child study team. This multi-disciplinary team meets regularly to discuss the academic, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of individual students. If a student is experiencing ongoing difficulties, the team will meet to coordinate strategies to assist the student. The team may refer individual students to meet with the school psychologist to further assess the problem situation.
School psychologists meet with parents, teachers, administrators, guidance counselors and other personnel involved with individual students in order to:
- Improve instructional methods
- Modify learning environment
- Identify areas of concern
- Address social/emotional needs
- Develop behavioral strategies
School psychologists may be called upon to conduct presentations or workshops for school personnel, parents, and students. These programs provide information at different developmental levels based on students' needs.
Assessments usually occur after alternative strategies have been implemented and proven unsuccessful. School psychologists evaluate students in order to assess:
- Cognitive functioning
- Learning styles
- Social skill development
- Behavioral functioning
- Adaptive skills
- Personality and emotional development
After a psychological assessment is completed, the school psychologist interprets the results and often makes specific recommendations for classroom/instructional interventions.
In specific situations, school psychologists may provide short-term individual and/or group counseling to students for school related issues. Crisis intervention, behavior modification plans, and support to parents are also provided on an as needed basis.
School psychologists may link families to outside community resources, such as mental health clinics, youth services programs, or other professionals.