Nov. 14-18 is School Psychology Awareness Week!

November 11, 2011

Quick, what’s the difference between a school psychologist and a guidance counselor? Don’t know the answer? Keep reading.

Licensed Specialists in School Psychology, or LSSPs as they’re known in Texas, work with students, their teachers and their families to address social, emotional, or behavioral problems that are interfering with learning.

In recognition of their contributions, Nov. 14-18 is School Psychology Awareness Week.

“We’re a unique mix of education and psychology and look at a child from both a mental health and educational aspect,” said Cathy Veith, one of 70 school psychologists in Northside ISD and a board member of the Texas Association of School Psychologists.

School psychologists respond to issues of individual students and play a critical role in diagnosing disabilities or disorders that could lead to special education services.

“Our goal is to find out why children aren’t learning and whether they need to be placed in special education,” Veith said.

Guidance counselors, on the other hand, provide direct services to all students so that they’re prepared for life after high school. Guidance counselors also focus on school-wide programs that prevent bullying, school violence, drug use, and other hurdles that might push students off track.

Both guidance counselors and school psychologists hold master’s degrees, but guidance counselors must have at least two years of teaching experience.

According to the Texas Association of School Psychologists, school psychologists typically have a background in psychology and must complete a specialist-level master’s degree program in school psychology.

In Northside ISD, every high school and middle school has a school psychologist on campus. At the elementary level, school psychologists split their time between two campuses.

More details about school psychologists and the services they provide are available on the website for the Texas Association of School Psychologists.

Parents who think their child might benefit from services from a school psychologist should contact their child’s school.