School Psychology Awareness Week 2018
By Grace L’Orange, Ed.S.
Many people are confused once this week rolls around. Awareness? Why not “Appreciation” like other special weeks designated for educators throughout the school year? There’s no doubt many of you know who we are, but may not know exactly what we do or are capable of doing. Our goal every year is to get the word out; to let staff know that we can be a resource to help ALL students achieve their best. A quick rundown of our areas of knowledge and training:
- Data-Based Decision Making and Accountability
- Consultation and Collaboration
- Interventions and Instructional Support To Develop Academic Skills
- Interventions and Mental Health Services to Develop Social, Emotional, and Life Skills
- School-Wide Practices to Promote Learning
- Preventive and Responsive Services
- Family-School Collaboration Services
- Diversity in Development and Learning
- Research and Program Evaluation
- Legal, Ethical, and Professional Practice
We are able to work with diverse students, staff members, and families to promote and respond to academic strengths and needs, mental health, and systems. We focus on consulting and collaborating with all stakeholders, taking cultural, social, developmental, and biological influences on achievement, behavior, and mental health into account. Both resilience and risk factors are considered within multi-tiered systems of support, as well as in family systems, and we can assist in collecting data to make informed decisions about services and programs. Our thorough understanding of individual differences, abilities, disabilities, and other diverse student characteristics can assist schools in developing evidence-based strategies to enhance services and address potential influences related to culturally sustaining practices.
This year’s theme focuses on developing a “password” in ourselves and our students; finding a personal key that can unlock a variety of challenges and opportunities in our lives. Our goal is to connect with how modern youth and adults unlock things (e.g., gaming levels, phones, devices, codes) and to highlight how thinking about specific skills, assets, or characteristics as “passwords” can lead to positive growth.
School psychologists are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in unlocking the resources, proactive/preventive skills, and positive connections necessary to unlock one’s full potential to thrive in school and life. We want to encourage both students and staff to unlock strengths and resources in order to build academic and/or social-emotional skills, promote personal growth and resilience, and nurture a sense of belonging and well-being.