Specialist Program in School Psychology
Description of the Program
The Department of Behavioral Sciences at West Texas A&M University offers a graduate degree program at the Specialist level that provides training in school psychology. The program is designed to meet both the requirement for state licensure (L.S.S.P.) and national certification (N.C.S.P.). Graduates of the program will be prepared for employment as school psychologists in public schools or other related organizations and agencies.
The program is designed to be accessible to working students and all classes will be offered on nights and/or weekends. Some classes will also contain web- based components of training. Students may opt to complete the program on either a full-time (4 classes per semester) or part-time (one or two classes per semester) basis.
The mission of the School Psychology Program at West Texas A&M University is to help children and youth of the Panhandle succeed academically, socially, and emotionally through preparation of well-trained professional school psychologists to work within the public schools.
The Program is also committed to the larger University's mission:
West Texas A&M University, a member of The Texas A&M University System, is a student-centered, learning community dedicated to educating tomorrow's leaders through innovative academic and co-curricular undergraduate and graduate programs. The University serves as the principal academic and cultural center of a multi-state region and is a significant catalyst for economic development by expanding the frontiers of knowledge through education, research, and consultation. Its faculty and staff prepare students for leadership roles both in their chosen careers and as citizens of the nation and the world. West Texas A&M University is committed to providing a technology-rich education, constantly improving its academically challenging educational experience, and engaging students through effective teaching and practical experiences involving inquiry, discussion, research, creative activities, experiential learning, and service. The University is committed to the intellectual, professional, and social growth of students by providing an education grounded in the liberal arts and opportunities to develop strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, an understanding of cultural diversity, a commitment to ethical behavior, an appreciation for the fine arts and humanities, and a desire for life-long learning.
The program training philosophy is based on the school psychologist as a producer, consumer, and translator of psychological and educational research. The school psychologist has strong skills in experimental design, statistics, and program evaluation which provide the foundation for basic and applied research. In addition, this foundation provides the basis for the data-based problem solving skills of the practicing school psychologist who makes use of the latest educational and psychological research in designing individualized and empirically validated interventions to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of children and youth. George Miller, in his 1969 APA presidential address, told “psychologists to give psychology away by sharing its findings with the general public in ways they could apply to their daily lives (Fowler, 1999).” The school psychologist meets this challenge daily through the use of consultation in which the results of the latest scientific research are shared with parents, teachers, administrators, and others to assist in helping to meet the needs of children and youth.
Quote from the APA Monitor at:
The School Psychology Program at West Texas A&M University is committed to an ongoing assessment of the program, the faculty, and the students. One aspect of this assessment is an appraisal of the student’s personal characteristics and work habits which are reviewed as a component of the yearly student evaluation. The following personal characteristics are considered to be essential to the effective practice of School Psychology:
- School psychologists are committed to their profession. They are aware of and meet the ethical and practice standards of their profession. They participate in professional organizations. Experienced school psychologists provide mentorship and guidance to those entering the profession.
- School psychologists are committed to meeting the needs of children and families. They serve as advocates for children’s needs. They work to promote system level change to better meet the needs of children and their families.
- School psychologists are committed to diversity. They realize the essential worth of all people and the energy and wealth of ideas and experience that can be gained through diversity. They realize that good professional practice requires skills in assessment, consultation, counseling, and data-based decision-making with individuals from a broad variety of cultures and backgrounds. School psychologists work to increase tolerance and respect for all individuals regardless of gender, disability, racial or ethnic identity, social or economic status, religion, or sexual orientation.
- School psychologists are aware of the importance of technology as a tool as well as the ethical and practical considerations of its use. They work to use technology to increase efficiency in their work and access of services to children.
- School psychologists display excellent communication skills. They are good listeners who utilize active listening techniques and display empathy. They can clearly communicate their ideas and complex information orally, and in writing, to diverse audiences such as parents, teachers, fellow school psychologists, and other professionals.
- School psychologists display strong interpersonal skills. They are warm, empathetic, and compassionate. They are able to relate to a broad variety of individuals and form productive professional relationships. They are able to function effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team.
- School psychologists are reliable. They can be depended upon to meet their professional obligations in a timely manner. They display initiative and leadership on the job.
- School psychologists display flexibility and tolerance for ambiguity. They are able to negotiate the complex social system of schools with patience and good humor.
Program Goals and Training Objectives
The goal of the specialist in school psychology program is to develop competencies in graduates to function in school psychology in public or private schools. To reach this goal, the program curriculum is designed to be consistent with the training standards adopted by the National Association of School Psychologists. These standards reflect the following principles.
- Prepare students with a foundation in knowledge bases for both psychology and education, including theories, models, research, empirical findings, and techniques in the domains, and the ability to explain important principles an concepts.
- Prepare students to use effective strategies and skills in the domains to help students succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.
- Prepare students to apply their knowledge and skills by creating and maintaining safe, supportive, fair and effective learning environments and enhancing family-school collaboration for all students.
- Prepare students to demonstrate knowledge and skills relevant for professional practices and work characteristics in their field.
- Prepare students to apply relevant legal and ethical principles as well as cultural sensitivity and self awareness to professional service and practice.
- Prepare students to ensure that their knowledge, skills, and professional practices reflect understanding and respect for human diversity and promote effective services, advocacy, and social justice for all children, families and schools.
- Prepare students to integrate knowledge and professional skills across the 10 domains of school psychology in delivering a comprehensive range of services in professional practice that result in direct, measurable outcomes for children, families, schools, and/or other consumers.
The objectives of the School Psychology program at West Texas A&M University are designed to meet the program goals and include the following:
ProgramGoals to train and prepare school psychologist are:
1. Apply their knowledge and basic research
skills to the study of:
- Academic, social, and
emotional needs of youth
- Means of preventing or
remediating problems in these
- Evaluating existing programs
designed to meet these needs to
determine their effectiveness
1.1 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the general foundations of psychology.
1.2 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the general foundations of education.
1.3 Students will demonstrate knowledge of experimental design.
1.4 Students will demonstrate knowledge of basic statistics.
1.5 Students will apply skills in experimental design, statistics, and communication of research results.
1.6 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the concepts underlying formative and summative program evaluation.
1.7 Students will apply skills in program evaluation to conduct a formative program evaluation. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the concepts of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.
2. Apply their knowledge of educational and psychological research to data-based problem solving and the design and implementation of individualized and empirically validated interventions to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of youth.
2.1 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the concepts of data-based decision making.
2.2 Students will apply skills in data-based decision making.
2.3 Students will demonstrate knowledge of direct methods of service delivery including counseling and crisis intervention.
2.4 Students will apply skills direct service delivery.
2.5 Students will apply skills in the prevention and treatment of academic, behavioral, and mental health problems.
2.6 Students will demonstrate knowledge of prevention services most appropriate to universal, selected, and targeted populations.
3. Utilize their consultative and communication skills to share their knowledge of educational and psychological research with parents, teachers, administrators, and others to meet the needs of children and youth.
3.1 Students will demonstrate knowledge of consultation models.
3.2 Students will demonstrate knowledge of methods of indirect service delivery.
3.3 Students will apply skills in indirect service delivery.
3.4 Students will demonstrate knowledge of families, classrooms, schools, and communities as systems.
3.5 Students will apply skills in working within multiple systems to facilitate child growth.
4. Demonstrate sensitivity to and appreciation of diversity.
4.1 Students will demonstrate an understanding of human diversity and multicultural awareness.
4.2 Students will demonstrate an understanding of individual differences.
4.3 Students will demonstrate knowledge of typical and atypical development.
5. Demonstrate adherence to the highest standards of practice with an awareness of legal and ethical implications.
5.1 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the best practices in provision of school psychological services.
5.2 Students will demonstrate skills in the best practices in provision of school psychological services.
5.3 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the ethical principles adopted by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
5.4 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the legal principles underlying professional practice of school psychology.
5.5 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the laws and regulations underlying special education eligibility.
5.6 Students will demonstrate skills in ethical and legal decision making in professional practice.
6. Integrate technological applications to
facilitate all the above goals.
6.1 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the applications of technology to the practice of school psychology.
6.2 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the legal and ethical issues related to the use of technology within the practice of School Psychology.