The development and delivery of psychological services within ACES are guided by the following core beliefs:
- All students can learn.
- All students must be educated in a safe environment.
- Effective classroom management systems incorporate positive discipline strategies and antecedent modification.
- The educational process should work to promote and increase a student’s positive sense of self
Mission of School Psychology
Within special education, School Psychology, at ACES, has been an integral part of services to students, their families and the ACES member districts since the mid 1970’s. The Department continues to provide diagnostic services to a diverse student population specializing in evaluations for students with developmental disabilities. On a contracted (fee for service) basis, ACES school psychologists have provided school districts with initial, triennial and second opinion evaluations.
The department has experienced significant growth and diversification as ACES expanded its service base with the opening of the Wintergreen and Thomas Edison Magnet Schools.
As ACES continues to evolve with the development of innovative programs in both regular and special education, the Department of School Psychology has expanded to meet the needs and challenges of the agency.
The role of the school psychologist at ACES is a dynamic one adhering to “The Best Practices Model” set forth by our National Association of School Psychologists (N.A.S.P.) and the principles of appropriate practice guided by the Connecticut State Department. The ACES Administration supports the collaborative and consultant capabilities ascribed to a “complete service model,” which includes:
- Psycho-educational evaluations – includes cognitive, achievement, behavior, projective, and/or developmental assessment.
- Data based decision making & accountability – the ability to define current problem areas & needs (at the individual, group, program and systems level) through assessment, portrayal/representation of data and outcome measurement or evaluation.
- Communication, collaboration & consultation – includes the ability to listen well, facilitate discussions, convey information and be able to “team” well at all levels and includes interaction with parents, school personnel and community providers for mental health.
- Effective instruction and facilitation of cognitive/academic skills – the ability to enhance student achievement through an empirically supported instructional process that considers alternative instructional methodologies, the development of student behavior conducive for learning and a “healthy” school climate which allows for learning to occur.
- Socialization & development of life’s competencies – is supported through individual and group counseling. Individual sessions provide a medium for insight into one’s behavior, self-esteem building and an opportunity to clarify skills taught during group sessions. Group counseling offers an opportunity to practice, with peers, appropriate social skills, problem solving, conflict resolution, life skills and discuss post graduate concerns. The School Psychologist facilitates Functional Behavior Assessments and the subsequent behavior support plans. These processes culminate by designing behavioral interventions and consulting with teachers to insure successful implementation.
- Student diversity in development and learning – At ACES, the school psychologist must appreciate the complexities inherent in our student population. We must be prepared to engage students challenged by, for example, developmental delay, physical & psychological trauma, serious emotional and learning deficits. We must help to minimize biases related to gender preference, race, culture, and disability while helping to maximize individual strengths.
- Home, School and Community Collaboration – This includes an array of mental health services with case management as the central process for communication between all those vested in the student’s life. At ACES, the school psychologist, in concert with other mental health providers, has the responsibility to present clinical issues to one of three consulting psychiatrists and to communicate/implement recommendations formulated during these consultations.
- Professional Development – is ongoing and competencies relative to current literature and practice are continually enhanced. In understanding the various aspects of education, child development and pathology, the ACES school psychologist provides in-services to staff and provides access to resources. Technological competence/assistance in areas of report writing, data representation and charting are embedded in the daily functioning of the School Psychologist.