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School Psychologists

Mount Union Area School District School Psychologist Department

The Mount Union Area District’s school psychology department guided by our belief that all children can learn and deserve to be emotionally safe; help students achieve academically, emotionally, socially, and behaviorally. 

As a leader, the school psychologist collaborates with educators, parents, and other professionals, to create safe and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school and the community for all students. The school psychologist is concerned with the emotional status of the student, and how both internal and external factors may affect behavior and performance in school. In addition, the school psychologist can support administrators and buildings in promoting a positive school culture and climate.  The School Psychologist has expertise in determining a child’s level of cognitive and conceptual development. 

WHAT IS A SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST?

School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students that strengthen connections between home and school.

School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education. They must complete a minimum of a post-Master’s degree program that includes a year-long internship and emphasizes preparation in mental health, child development, school organization, learning styles and processes, behavior, motivation, and effective teaching.
School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work.

Most school psychologists provide the following services:

Consultation: 

  • Collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to find effective solutions to learning and behavior problems.
  • Help others understand child development and how it affects learning and behavior.
  • Strengthen working relationships between teachers, parents, and service providers in the community.

Evaluation:

  • Evaluate eligibility for special services.
  • Assess academic skills and aptitude for learning.
  • Determine social-emotional development and mental health status.
  • Evaluate learning environments.

Intervention: 

  • Provide psychological counseling to help resolve interpersonal or family problems that interfere with school performance.
  • Work directly with children and their families to help resolve problems in adjustment and learning.
  • Provide training in social skills and anger management.
  • Help families and schools manage crises such as death, illness, or community trauma.

Prevention: 

  • Design programs for children at risk of failing at school.
  • Promote tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of diversity within the school community.
  • Develop programs to make schools safer and more effective learning environments.
  • Collaborate with school staff and community agencies to provide services directed at improving psychological and physical health.
  • Develop partnerships with parents and teachers to promote healthy school environments.

Research and Planning: 

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of academic and behavior management programs.
  • Identify and implement programs and strategies to improve schools.
  • Use evidence-based research to develop and/or recommend effective interventions

WHAT WE DO:

The school psychologist at the Mount Union Area School District has involvement in the above functions, but she has two main job duties. 

  • First, she consults with parents and teachers about a student's educational progress through the Child Staffing/Study Team and Student Assistance Team models. 
  • Second, she assess students to determine if they a) have disabilities and are in need of special education, b) have disabilities and are in need of a 504 plan, and c) are mentally gifted and in need of gifted support services.  Our school psychologists also provide short-term direct intervention to students in crisis situations. 

HOW TO PROCEED:

If you have a concern about your child's educational progress, please contact your child's teacher and/or school counselor.  A Child Study Team meeting may be held, which may include you, your child's teacher(s), the school counselor, the school psychologist, the principal, and any other educational professionals that work with your child.  Information concerning your child's development, behavior, and socialization at home; academic progress at school; behavior and socialization at school; and the results of academic or behavioral screenings may be discussed.  The Child Study Team will brainstorm ways in which you and the school personnel can support your child's progress and decide whether to refer your child for more in-depth evaluation if a disability is suspected.

Some "favorite" websites include:

Bullying: What Schools and Parents Can Do

Children's Reaction to Trauma

CHADD "Gourmet" guide to ADHD and related disorders.

Department of Education

Encyclopedia Britannica

Homework Helper 

LD Online

LRP  Information on special education law.  'Everything' on specific learning disabilities.

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (website no longer active)

National Institute of Mental Health

Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic

Special Education Resources on the Internet

Talking with Kids A neat site on how parents can talk to kids about tough topics, violence,  

    drugs, HIV, etc. 

US Department of Education

Contact:

Mrs. Bambi Guentner, School Psychologist

706 N Shaver Street

Mount Union, PA  17066

814-542-2518  Ext. 161

bguentner@muasd.org