UW Educational Specialist in School Psychology

School Psychology, as a field is a great place to be right now. It’s a really fantastic opportunity to work in school settings, to work with educators, to work with students, to work with families, to really cut across the whole community. [Janine] One thing that’s unique about our program is that we believe in what we call the “expanded model of practicing as a school psychologist,” and that means that we focus not only on assessment, but we also focus on counseling. [James] Maybe this child’s not learning their math or not learning to read because they’re depressed or highly anxious, and if we keep treating the reading or the math, we’re missing the point that it’s actually causing the issues. And so we have a large emphasis on behavioral interventions and behavioral assessment that makes our school psych program pretty unique.

[Kristen] I would describe year one as being very foundational. Sometimes I tell students it’s maybe the 10,000 foot view, of education principles, theories of development, school structures and policy, and practice issues that come to bear, for School Psychologists. Year two is much more like a 10 foot view. It’s very heavily practice oriented.

It’s a lot of basic skill development, a lot of student and classroom interaction. And year three students are out on internship, and near to being fully prepared to seek a job. [Alexis] Third year, I was working in a school full-time, and that was just, that was a great experience. I had such a great supervisor. I just did the job and got some feedback from her and, you know, worked with her, learned from her, and she learned from me. [Janine] What we find in our program is that our students are so valued as interns, that they often get offers for placement in the same districts that they do their internship.

Some students as they’re going through decide that they have an interest in research and they decide to apply to our doctoral program. One thing I love about my team of faculty is we are all different. We have all different perspectives, but the blend of having Kristen Missall focusing on academic and interventions and early childhood, and Jim Mazza, for him to be focused on doing evidence based approaches to socio-emotional learning in kids. And then, for me to be focused on culture responsive interventions that we have the breadth of what school psychology is, and we can have an emphasis on school mental health in a way that other programs don’t necessarily have. [James] I think that we kind of show that we can be different. We can have different strengths, different and different weaknesses, and we can pick each other up.

We almost model what we’re asking the cohort model to look like. [Janine] My main goal is that students when they come through that they are competent, that they are confident in their abilities and that they are willing to push boundaries when it comes to the practice of school psychology. [Alexis] I feel like the UW gave me, gave me a good way to come in and kind of remake each program that I go into. When I’m testing, I’m not just looking at the kid as a number, they’re getting this certain number. I’m writing down observations of how they’re doing each thing and I’m using that and interpreting it.