For Immediate Release — November 12, 2013 |
Editorial by Dr. Renee LaFata: Instructional Systems Specialist, Student Support Services DoDEA Pacific Area Office | 644-5680
Lawrence Torres: Public Affairs Specialist | 644-5786
November 12, 2013 — DoDEA Pacific school psychologists play a vital role in the lives of our students’ personal and academic development and mental health wellness. Their efforts will be highlighted during the 2013 School Psychology Awareness Week Nov. 11-15 with a great theme, “We’re All In! Teams Work!”
Due to the work of our school psychologists, schools can more effectively ensure that all students are able to learn and invest in their learning when they meet the needs of the whole child. Encouraging and providing opportunities to be a part of a team are just a few ways school psychologists contribute to school success.
In my 14 years of experience in DoDEA, I have never seen our school psychologists toot their own horn! They prefer to be quiet heroes behind the scenes and the difference they make each and every day for individual children is beyond measure.
What do they do, you ask? Let me go through a day in the life of a typical DoDEA Pacific School Psychologist. He (or she) wakes up after a night of fitful sleep worrying about a student that confided in him--wanting to take his own life because of a breakup with a girlfriend. As he approaches the school building for work, he comes upon a student who is sobbing outside the entrance to the school. He stops and compassionately connects with that student and takes him to his office to discuss the child’s emotional distress. After a lot of crying and discussion, the child and the school psychologist go off together to the child’s first class of the day.
As the student walks out of the office, the school psychologist walks with the student only to find another student needing to talk with him about a serious situation. As the two sit and talk, the phone begins to ring.
The school psychologist wants to give undivided attention to the distraught child that is in front of him and decides to ignore the call. Then someone shows up at their door knocking, sticks their head in and reminds him that he must be at an important meeting. This goes on throughout the day. Opportunities to take a deep breath, count to ten, and just debrief from each intense situation are in short supply throughout the day.
But there are no complaints, just an uncanny reserve of energy to handle the next emotionally, physically, and mentally draining situation. This continues day after day.
Sound psychological principles are integral to instruction and learning, social and emotional development, prevention, early intervention and school safety, and supporting culturally diverse student populations. School psychologists are specially trained to deliver a continuum of mental health services and academic supports that lower barriers to effective teaching and learning.
Please take a moment to recognize your school psychologist. Although they will probably respond with, “I’m just doing my job,” they will appreciate the recognition all the same. We all need and deserve a little appreciation from time to time, especially in a busy school setting. School psychologists are needed and wanted, and we are glad to have them as that quiet and dependable strength within our schools. They are, after all, our unsung heroes, and I am happy to sing their praises!
For more information about School Psychology Awareness Week visit the National Association of School Psychologists Web site at http://www.nasponline.org/communications/spaw/2013/.
About DoDEA Pacific:
The first organized schools for the children of U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific were established in 1946 during post-World War II reconstruction. Throughout the decades, Department of Defense schools evolved to become a comprehensive and high-performing K-12 school system solely dedicated to educating the children of America’s heroes. Today, DoDEA Pacific’s 50 schools serve over 23,500 children of U.S. military and eligible DoD civilian personnel families stationed throughout the Pacific theater. The DoDEA Pacific teaching, administrative and school support team includes more than 3,400 full-time professionals. The schools are geographically organized into four districts: Guam, Japan, Okinawa and South Korea.
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