Governor Martin O’Malley has proclaimed November 11-15 as School Psychology Week in Maryland.
Comprehensive school psychological services are available at every Frederick County public school to help educators and parents foster healthy child development and help schools apply sound psychological principles to instruction. School psychologists also work with teams that manage special education services and crisis counseling.
In addition to performing psychological assessments, school psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally. They help FCPS meet the educational needs of a culturally diverse population, and they promote measures to ensure student success such as providing professional development to staff, parents and community members. They also evaluate and address violence-risk concerns and provide assistance with positive behavior intervention plans, offering short-term individual and group counseling.
“To address the needs of a 40,700-member student body in 2013, FCPS has 21.5 fulltime-equivalent school psychologist positions. The FCPS ratio of about one school psychologist to 2,000 students far exceeds the one-to-700 ratio that the National Association of School Psychologists recommends,” says Ann Hammond, supervisor of FCPS Psychological Services and School Therapists. “This is an area in which we consistently try to obtain additional funding to secure additional positions;” she said, “for example, in May 2003, the FCPS ratio was one school psychologist to1,884 students, or 21 school psychologists for 39,000 students.”
School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education, completing a minimum of a specialist-level degree program (at least 60 graduate semester hours) that includes a year-long supervised internship. Their training emphasizes preparation in mental health and educational interventions, child development, learning, behavior, motivation, curriculum and instruction, assessment, consultation, collaboration, school law and systems. School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work. They may also be National School Psychology Certification Board certified. They follow the National Association of School Psychologists ethical and training standards for practice and service delivery.
In short, FCPS school psychologists collaborate with educators, parents and other professionals to create safe, healthy and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school and the community for all students.