The role of the school psychologists in Oregon City Schools is to assist in the development of appropriate educational programs for students in preschool through high school, who are experiencing difficulties with the general education curriculum or with developmental delays. The goal is to keep all students involved in their regular education classrooms for as long and as much as possible. However, when learning, behavioral, and/or medical concerns arise that cannot be managed in the general education setting, students have the right to have their special needs adequately identified so appropriate plans and strategies can be developed.
There are several steps involved with identifying whether or not a child qualifies as a student with a disability or has a need for specially designed instruction. First, the psychologist must consult with the parent(s) and staff about their concerns regarding the student’s progress with the general education curriculum. They review interventions that have been implemented and note whether or not they were successful. Should the team (those who know the student) decide the student is not making adequate progress with the interventions in place, they may decide an evaluation of the student’s abilities is needed. After receiving permission from the parent(s) to evaluate, the psychologist will administer clinical and diagnostic tests and gather necessary information in order to generate a report and make educational recommendations. The school psychologist can assist with the development of an educational plan to address the student’s identified needs. The psychologist continues to be a resource to the student, parent(s) and teachers after the evaluation process is complete.
The school psychologist generally works with five groups of people: (1) student/child – the psychologist strives to analyze educational and psychological strengths and needs of the individual; (2) parents – the psychologist provides suggestions and recommendations of ways in which parents can work with the school in helping their children; (3) teachers – the psychologist interprets their findings so that teachers have better knowledge of the child’s strengths and needs; (4) administrators – the psychologist serves as a consultant regarding their students’ needs; and (5) intervention specialists and related personnel – the psychologist consults with these specialists to help implement recommended programs.
It is the hope, through these activities, all students will receive the most appropriate educational experience in Oregon City Schools.