School psychologists provide a variety of professional services to support achievement of students. They are trained in the areas of psychology and education which enables them to assist school teams in improving the interpersonal and educational performance of all students. The overarching goal of the psychological services program is to increase student capacity to overcome academic, personal, and social problems that hinder their attainment of educational success. School psychologists play a critical role in supporting the attainment of the goals of local education agencies and help to ensure that all students possess the capacity to become well-adjusted, contributing members of society. The psychological services program recognizes the importance of diversity and acknowledges that individual differences strengthen both school operations and society in general.
Each school system is required by the Code of Maryland Regulations to provide school psychological services (COMAR 13A.05.05.04.04). The School Psychology Program is a comprehensive continuum of services and activities based on psychological principles. The goal of the program is to prevent or remediate educational, emotional, or behavioral problems by identifying, analyzing, and reporting psychoeducational needs through consultation, observation, or through psychological and educational assessment.
Comprehensive school psychological services are comprised of diverse activities in concert with the activities of teachers, administrators, school counselors, and other school staff. These activities complement each other and are most accurately viewed as being coordinated rather than as separate services. The continuum of services and activities include but are not limited to:
- Consultation—Meeting with school staff and parents on issues involving psychological principles related to curriculum development, learning, and student development.
- Psychological Counseling—Providing individual or group evidence-based interventions with students or parents.
- Psychological Assessments—The process of obtaining data about an individual student in accordance with acceptable, valid practices with the purpose of identifying factors that may impact on a student’s ability to learn or function in a school setting.
- Professional Development—Provide training for school staff and parents to enhance their capacity to implement strategies and create learning environments that maximize the ability of students to learn in school.
- Program Development—Assist school systems in implementing innovative practices such as Instructional Consultation and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
The school psychology specialist at the Maryland State Department of Education assists the local education agencies in promoting students' learning and mental health, and developing the skills of school psychologists across the state through technical support and consultation.
April D. Turner, PhD, NCSP
Division of Student Support, Academic Enrichment, and Educational Policy
Office: (410) 767-0359