Providing Support for Students: WCSD Celebrates School Psychology Awareness Week

National School Psychology Awareness WeekReno, NV (November 13, 2018) – The Washoe County School District (WCSD) is joining with districts nationwide in celebrating national School Psychology Awareness Week from November 12-16. More than 40 WCSD school psychologists play a variety of critical roles and provide vital services for both students and staff across the District.

“Our school psychologists play a critical role in our success as a District, and in the lives of our 64,000 students and more than 8,000 staff members,” said WCSD Superintendent Traci Davis. “We not only rely upon their skills when there is an emergency, but also in our daily lives as learners and educators. These men and women work hard to help build invaluable connections between students, families, and schools during the school year, and these bonds contribute to the success of our students and staff members. I am grateful for their tremendous contribution to our schools, families, and our community.”

“We have a great team of professionals working as school psychologists at WCSD, and we are honored to be recognized in this annual celebration,” said Emma Dickinson, who works as a school psychologist. “School psychologists work behind the scenes much of the time, providing a variety of supports to our most challenged students and collaborating with teachers, families, and staff to ensure that they are receiving the resources they need.”

The theme for this year’s national celebration is “Unlock Potential. Find Your Password!” and is sponsored by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The organization says school psychologists help students and staff to unlock the resources, skills, and positive connections necessary to realize their full potential and thrive in school and in life.

During their daily interactions with students and staff, school psychologists provide a variety of resources and supports for students and staff members in a variety of ways and circumstances.

“School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community.” – from National Association of School Psychologists publication, 2018.

School psychologists are regularly involved in special education assessment and eligibility determinations at public, private, and charter schools.  They work with teams of professionals to support students and families in a wide variety of ways: through responding with counselors as members of crisis teams, supporting teams and colleagues with expertise in autism assessment, providing professional development to school teams, and supporting students’ social skills through small group facilitation.

In addition, school psychologists have worked hard to collaborate with other agencies and departments.  Andy Haycock recently presented at the national World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Conference with colleagues from the English Language Development Department.  Gwynne Partos and Linde Pirtle collaborated with UNR faculty to support continued learning in the area of autism and autism assessment.

School psychologists also work to develop and support the profession.  Colleen Odom is currently a board member for the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) National Certification Reviewer Board and Emma Dickinson is a past NASP board member as the western delegate, and currently serves as president for the Nevada Association of School Psychologists.  These are just a few of the WCSD school psychologists who work hard every day to support our students and families.