Pre K – 12 Teachers

School Psychologists: Powering Growth in Student’s Academic and Mental Health

Children and adolescents in the United States face significant challenges related to academic achievement and mental health. For example, only 36% (reading) and 40% (mathematics) of 4th grade students scored at or above proficiency on standardized tests in 2015 (McFarland et al., 2017). Approximately 1 out of every 17 students will not complete high school and about 13% of the school population, representing 6.6 million youth, require special education services for one or more disabilities that invariably affect their learning and mental health (McFarland et al., 2017). Roughly 1 out of every 5 students will experience a clinically significant mental disorder chiefly including anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and mood disturbances such as depression (Kessler et al., 2012). Thus, it is clear that our student population needs ongoing, effective support to meet and overcome these challenges successfully. Who will answer the call to address these needs? Fortunately, school psychologists are ideally suited to enhance student academic and mental health given their extensive training and experience in educational and mental health support strategies.



Does your child seem stressed to be back at school? Fear not.

It is normal for some students to experience back-to-school stress. Many challenges come with the start of a new school year. This article is geared toward the typical stressors of starting or returning to school, and is not intended to focus on students showing severe cases of anxiety or depression. Many of the school-related challenges described below can cause students distress, irritability, reduced focus or academic performance. Though many of these changes simply take time to adapt to, others are readily addressable.


Starting a Campus-Wide Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Program

“Take a Break,” says a small sign in a small corner of a second-grade classroom. A small corner that represents a big change at Dan D. Rogers Elementary School in Dallas, Texas. Last year we began small changes such as these as part of a school-wide effort to have a uniform approach to Social-Emotional Learning on our Campus. With the help of my leadership team, a group of core teachers, and our district’s Psychological and Social Services Department, we met over the summer and began to formulate lessons, gather tools, and purchase materials to begin our program which we now call, “Our Mind Time.”  This a title that was coined by one of our district social workers, Veva Lane.



But…We Do Learn from People We Don’t Like

In a quite popular Ted Talk, Every Kid Needs A Champion, Dr. Rita Pierson says many great things about relationships and education.  I have no doubt she was an incredible educator and mentor to students and teachers.  You can see it and feel it in the way she delivers her talk; she’s got it.  I believe this quote best summarizes her talk:


7 Things to do this Summer to Get your Child Ready for Kindergarten

For some, summer already feels likes it’s over and the school bell is about to ring.  For others, the start of school feels like it is barely on the horizon and that many long summer days are in between.  Regardless of how you are feeling about the start of school, there are some easy things that you can do to make the transition into school easier for your Kindergartener. The way that children start school can contribute to establishing a positive trajectory in school.  It is a good investment of a bit of your time over the summer to help get their school year off to a great start.  Here are 7 Things to do this summer to get your child ready for Kindergarten:


Learning Myths vs. Learning Facts

Unless you’ve been under a rock, avoiding the most infamous jargon of education, you’ve heard the term ‘learning styles’. It has become quite the buzzword in the last decade or so and is almost said with a cringe today. In what can be described as a neuromyth, learning styles have taken a beating by recent research and should be laid to rest with other famous falsehoods of psychology and education. Shockingly enough, though, its proliferation still exists.


The 5 W’s of Threat Appraisals

Are you a K-12 teacher, administrator, school support staff member or parent that feels concerned, confused or panicked when you hear a student make a threat? The following information will help you understand the 5 W’s related to threat appraisals, the safety process and help you create a plan of action to avoid major catastrophes now and in the future.


Cultivating Student Learning Accountability

Too often teachers confuse compliance with accountability. Simply following directions and formulaically obeying the plan of the lesson is not accountability. In fact, punishing students with zeros, sending the student to the dean and other such tactics when they fall short of following the procedure of learning only results in reduced motivation and performance.