Spreading awareness of school psychology
If you were on Georgia Southern University’s campus this week, you may have noticed students wearing stickers that said “Ask me about school psychology!,” or perhaps you saw the hashtag “#SmallStepsChangeLives” trending on social media. November 14-18 was School Psychology Awareness Week 2016 (SPAW), and College of Education graduate students in the Ed.S. School Psychology program created several activities to educate others about the field of school psychology.
“School Psychology Awareness Week is an initiative promoted by the National Association of School Psychologists to educate the community about the various roles and functions of school psychologists,” explained Associate Professor and School Psychology Program Director, Dawn Tysinger, Ph.D., NCSP. “Our graduate students engaged in recruiting this week across the campus and on social media to promote the profession among our undergraduate population who could potentially become the next generation of school psychologists.”
On Monday and Tuesday, student leaders from the school psychology program and the School Psychology Student Association (SPSA) set up an information table in the University’s Carroll Building. Targeting undergraduate students pursuing liberal arts and social science degrees, program volunteers passed out candy, shared information about their degree program, and encouraged students to learn more about a career in school psychology.
Program representatives also attended the University’s Undergraduate Psychology Bash where they were able to share information about the specialty area of the school psychology and career opportunities with current psychology undergraduates.
All week long, candidates of the Ed.S. School Psychology program also wore stickers encouraging passersby to “Ask me about school psychology!,” and candidates took to social media to share their thoughts about the 2016 SPAW theme “Small Steps Change Lives!” with the SPAW poster activity.
Jessica Miller, a graduate assistant for the school psychology program and volunteer coordinator for SPSA, said undergraduate students were very interactive in the activities that took place throughout the week.
“Students we spoke with on campus seemed very receptive to learning about school psychology,” Miller said. “We especially saw a lot of interest from undergraduate psychology majors who wanted to learn more about the field and our Ed.S. graduate program here at the University. Many of these students were not previously aware that school psychology was a possible career path they could pursue.”
Additional activities included a SPSA sponsored student panel where current interns and practicum students in the school psychology program engaged in a dialogue about their field experiences with other individuals in the graduate program.
Miller explained that educating the students at Georgia Southern about the school psychology discipline is important because of the impact that professionals in this field can make for students.
“While it is a wonderful field, school psychology is still not a well-known profession,” Miller said. “We often get confused with school counselors, as many individuals are not aware of the distinction between these two careers.”
School counselors often serve the entire school population with focus on the academic careers of students. School psychologists, however, focus on proper adaptation and response to school environment. They are tasked with assisting students who are facing mental health, learning, and behavioral barriers to their education. Their common roles in schools include consultation, academic intervention, behavioral intervention, assessment, individual counseling, group counseling, and crisis intervention.
Miller also explained that there is a national shortage of qualified professionals in this field.
“Due to this critical need, it is paramount to inform undergraduate students about our profession and encourage them to pursue a career path in school psychology,” she said.
To learn more about Georgia Southern University’s Ed.S. in School Psychology, please visit http://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/espy/eds/. For more information about the career field of school psychology, visit the National Association of School Psychologists website at https://www.nasponline.org/.
Posted in Student Highlights