School psychology is a field that blends the research and practice of psychology and education in order to help children and adolescents academically, emotionally, behaviorally, and socially. School psychologists 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 and may be employed by public and private school systems, universities, community and state agencies, clinics or hospitals or they may serve children and their families in the private sector (http://www.nasponline.org).
The practice of school psychology includes the provision of consultation, evaluation, and intervention services. As consultation specialists, school psychologists collaborate with teachers, parents and administrators to find effective interventions to address learning and behavior problems. School psychologists use observational data, standardized psychological assessment, and curriculum-based assessments to determine a student’s academic and instructional needs and subsequent eligibility for special education services. School psychologists assist student support teams with implementation of evidenced-based interventions, monitoring a student’s response to intervention, and adjusting educational goals and environmental supports accordingly. In addition, school psychologists provide counseling services related to interpersonal or family issues that interfere with school performance. Traditionally, school psychologists have been in the role of assessment. However, many have the professional expertise to be a key player in Responsiveness to Instruction (RtI) as well as Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) or other systems-wide academic or behavioral interventions.
Those individuals who are interested in working in a school system as a school psychologist in North Carolina must have a degree in school psychology specifically. There are currently five school psychology programs in North Carolina: UNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, Appalachian State University in Boone, Western Carolina University in Cullowhee and East Carolina University in Greenville. Once a degree is earned, one must be licensed as a school psychologist by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). The following links are helpful in navigating the licensure process:
For questions related to school psychological practice in North Carolina, please contact Dr. Caroline Hexdall, DPI School Psychology Consultant, at 919.843.7049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.