School Psychology Practicum Handbook‌

Guide 2020-2021

Forms

Practicum Memorandum Agreement

Welcome to your School Psychology Practicum semester. We trust that you will enjoy your learning experiences this semester. Within this handbook, you will find important information that you will need to successfully complete the Practicum course. For your learning experience, the practicum supervision is extensive, requiring 300 hours at your practicum site while also requiring weekly class supervision with university faculty.  Participation in this class assumes that the dignity and essential worth of all participants is respected; the privacy, property, and freedom of participants will be respected; bigotry, discrimination, violence, or intimidation will not be tolerated, and personal and academic integrity is expected. Again, welcome and best of luck in 2020-2021.

Sincerely,
Melanie Lemanski, Ph.D., LSSP
Assistant Professor
School Psychology Practicum Coordinator 

Shannon Viola, Ph.D., LSSP, LP
Associate Professor
School Psychology Program Director

 

Mission of Practicum Program

The School Psychology practicum experiences affords students opportunities to demonstrate under conditions of appropriate supervision, their ability to apply their knowledge, to develop specific skills needed for effective school psychological service delivery, and to integrate competencies that addresses the domains of professional preparation and practice outlined in the NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) and objectives of the UHV School Psychology training program.

The development of professional skills begins with the student contacting prospective sites and arranging for a semester-long experience that involves observation and participation in agency activities. In addition to cultivating professional relationships and learning about the complexities of those relationships, students have the opportunity to discover if a particular site experience matches their own strengths and interests. Finally, the School Psychology practicum program furthers the overall mission of the School Psychology program as a whole, by emphasizing and strengthening ties with the surrounding community. Students benefit by learning from school-based professionals and professionals within area agencies, while agencies gain by hosting competent and energetic students who, in turn, positively impact the school.

Obtaining a Practicum Site

The best practice is that students begin determining a practicum site at least 2-3 months prior to the semester that practicum is scheduled to begin. To assist them with this process, students can refer to the School Psychology Practicum Site Roster for school districts and agencies that have participated in the program in the past. Students are also encouraged to approach new school districts and agencies who might be interested in the student’s services.

Students should first work with the Practicum Coordinator to discuss sites they are interested in.  After doing so, students should contact the agency by telephone or email, and ask about the possibility of completing a School Psychology practicum at the respective site. Students should be sure to provide the school district contact with the requirements of the practicum program, including the Practicum Handbook. If the school district is interested, the student makes an appointment for an interview. Before approaching a district, students must have a resume or curriculum vita in hand, and be prepared to apply and be interviewed by the special education director, agency director or designated staff member. If after the interview, the practicum site is amenable and the student is still interested in the site, the process of drafting an agreement begins.

Step 1: Browse through the School Psychology practicum roster (See Below).  Let the Practicum Coordinator know what sites you may be interested in to help facilitate relationships.

Step 2: In coordination with the School Psychology Practicum Coordinator, choose one or two sites to contact by telephone or email. See the enclosed Contact Script for a sample conversation.

Step 3: Send resume or vita and/or make interview appointment, as directed by the site contact person.

Step 4: Once a site is selected, a meeting should be scheduled with the university faculty to discuss the site of your choice and draft a memorandum of agreement. 

Step 5: Register for, PSYC 6348 (School Psychology Practicum). 

School Psychology Practicum Site Roster

This list outlines places where UHV School Psychology students have recently completed practicum sites (within the last 5 years).  This is not a comprehensive list of area sites and contact information for various districts may have changed without notice.  If you are interested in a site not on this list, please discuss your interests with the Practicum Coordinator. 

  1. Dewitt Lavaca Special Education Cooperative
    Contact Quentin Yancey, LSSP

  2. Victoria ISD
    Contact Jolene Barrientos, LSSP

  3. Fort Bend ISD
    Contact Jennifer Byrne, Lead Evaluation Specialist

  4. Katy ISD
    Contact Dr. Kristy Moore, Director of Psychological Services

  5. Klein ISD
    Contact Sally Fernandez, Program Coordinator for Psychological Services

  6. Matagorda Special Education Cooperative
    Contact Stacie Presley, Supervisor

  7. Humble ISD
    Contact Brandon Stevens, Assessment Coordinator

  8. Pasadena ISD
    Contact Sonya Coe, Evaluation Team Lead

  9. Alvin ISD
    Contact Sarah Chauvin, Coordinator of Special Education

  10. Round Rock ISD
    Contact Dr. Rhonda Gross, Lead Assessment

  11. Waller ISD
    Contact Crystal Hansen, Lead LSSP

  12. Marble Falls ISD
    Contact Robert Schiener, Lead LSSP

  13. Columbus ISD
    Contact Sarah Wanjura, Director of Special Education

  14. Gregory Portland ISD
    Contact Barbie Tumlinson, Director of Special Education 

Visit Region IV for a map of school district sites in and around the Houston area 

Click on About-Region 4 School Directory to learn more about each site

Visit Region III for a map of school district sites in an around the Victoria area 

Click on About Us-R3 Directory to learn more about each site.

Initial Contact Script

Instructions: This is a suggested script for the student’s initial contact with a potential site supervisor. Feel free to use all our part of this script as a guide for this initial conversation.

Student: Hello, my name is    . I am a student in the School Psychology program at the University of Houston-Victoria, and I’m calling to speak with you about the possibility of completing a school psychology practicum in your district. The Practicum Program requires that I complete 300 hours during the course of a semester at the site. I will need to be supervised weekly by an on-site supervisor, who is currently an LSSP with a minimum of three years of independent practice. Do you have any such opportunities in your district?

(If the Agency representative responds positively, then you may ask for a brief meeting). If possible, I would like to come visit you so that I can tell you more about the Practicum Program and so that you can see if you might be interested in having me as a practicum student in your district this year. When will be a good day and time to visit your district? Thank you for your time, I look forward to meeting with you.

University of Houston-Victoria Practicum in School Psychology

Faculty Supervisor Introductory Letter

Dear Site Supervisor:

I would like to thank you for participating as a supervisor in the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) School Psychology Practicum Program. The purpose of this practicum is to provide students with the opportunity to gain practical experience in school psychology.

Students are required to complete 300 practicum hours during the course of the semester.  The on-site supervisor meets with the student on a weekly basis for a minimum of 2 hours of supervision to help the student process the week’s activities via supervision.  Students also meet with the university-based supervisor for a minimum of 2 hours per week for additional supervision of activities. 

It is our belief that the Practicum Program is mutually enriching: Our students learn from you and, in return, they enrich school districts with their enthusiasm, service and creative energies. Again, I am grateful for your involvement with our program. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any initial questions.

Sincerely,
Melanie Lemanski, Ph.D., LSSP
Assistant Professor
School Psychology Practicum Coordinator 

Shannon Viola, Ph.D., LSSP, LP
Associate Professor
School Psychology Program Director

 

Practicum Requirements

Hours Requirements:

Practicum students are required to obtain 300 clock hours of assigned work across the course of one semester, generally working at their practicum site 2 to 3 days per week.  The beginning and ending dates of the practicum and the practicum student’s working schedule are to be agreed upon by the student, onsite supervisor, and coordinator, but ordinarily encompass one spring semester (January to early May). 

For students to successfully complete the practicum course, 300 hours must be completed and documented by the end of the UHV Spring Semester so that a final course grade can be awarded.  Practicum placement on the campus cannot occur after the UHV spring semester is completed.  If 300 hours are not completed by the end of the Spring Semester, the student will be awarded an Incomplete.  Throughout the practicum, the channels of communication shall remain open between the university, school district site, and the student, as the university must remain concerned with not only the student’s well-being, but with that of the site and its clients, and with the university itself.

Memorandum of Agreement:

Prior to beginning the School Psychology Practicum and collecting hours, A Memorandum of Agreement must be signed by the student, the school site LSSP supervisor, and the University of Houston-Victoria university-based supervisor.  Students may not start accruing practicum hours until the Memorandum of Agreement is signed and agreed upon by all parties.

Credentials:

According to the Acts and Rules of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, students are exempt from TSBEP credentials or contract filing but must use a title indicating training status as a School Psychology Practicum Student while delivering psychological services in the schools.  Students should inform parents of their clients, as well as teachers and other school staff, of their role as a practicum student.

Supervision:

Supervision within the public schools may only be provided by a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology, who has a minimum of three years of experience providing psychological services within the public school system without supervision. To qualify, a licensee must be able to show proof of their license, credential, or authority to provide unsupervised school psychological services in the jurisdiction where those services were provided, along with documentation from the public school(s) evidencing delivery of those services.

A supervisor must provide a School Psychology Practicum Student with at least 2 hours of individual supervision per week.  UHV School Psychology students will also meet with a University-based supervisor weekly during the course of the semester.  Classes meet in person and are scheduled for a minimum of 2 hour duration.  However, these university-based supervision hours are additional hours of supervision beyond the field requirements and cannot be substituted for field supervision.

Practicum Coordinator:

The University School Psychology Practicum Coordinator will serve as the university-based supervisor and will monitor student performance and quality of opportunities that are provided to the practicum student on behalf of the school district.  At a minimum, the Practicum Coordinator will meet with each supervisor twice per semester to monitor student performance (typically middle and end of the semester).  The University School Psychology Practicum Coordinator is not an employee of the practicum agency and therefore will not directly supervise student cases.  While cases may be discussed during class to promote learning and critical thinking skills, any final determinations of cases are made by the site supervisor. The coordinator is available for support via phone and email.

Professional Liability Insurance:

Students must obtain professional liability insurance and show proof of insurance to the University Practicum Coordinator prior to beginning their School Psychology practicum.

Practicum Hours:

All practicum hours are on-site in the school district.  Trainings and in-services used for hours must be approved by the University Practicum Coordinator.  Weekly class meetings can also be counted towards the hours requirement. 

Logs:

Students must submit a typed log of activities performed during their 300 hours of practicum.  An Excel spreadsheet is available on Blackboard for students to code their hours.  The log must be signed by their LSSP supervisor in the school district and will be turned in at specific checkpoints throughout the year (typically middle and end of each semester).  The University Practicum Coordinator will monitor hour completion and the quality and breadth of experiences obtained by the practicum student.

Course Registration:

School Psychology students must register for the school psychology practicum (PSYC 6348) during the Spring semester. 

Grades:

Grades are assigned by the University course instructor.  Grades for the school psychology practicum classes will be assigned when the 300 hours of practicum and all other requirements as outlined by the course syllabus are completed.  All requirements should be completed in May at the conclusion of the UHV Spring Semester.  Students who do not complete requirements by this timeline will receive an Incomplete until all requirements are complete.

Professional Behavior:

Students will adhere to school district policies with respect to dress code, procedures, working hours, etc., Students are bound by the NASP Ethics Code and relevant Texas laws governing the practice of psychology. 

Evaluation of Student Skills:

Students will be formally evaluated by their field-based supervisors at the end of the spring semester using the UHV Practicum Evaluation Form found in the School Psychology Practicum Handbook.  If students do not meet expectations as outlined on the evaluation form, students will be placed on a remediation plan over the following summer.  The specifics of the student’s remediation plan must be met prior to the student going on internship during the subsequent fall semester.

Course Syllabus:

It is expected that all students will meet the requirements laid out by the practicum course syllabus.  Syllabi and course expectations may change over time.  Failure to meet the responsibilities of the course syllabus will result in a grade of unsatisfactory at the completion of the semester.  Students receiving an unsatisfactory grade will be asked to complete the practicum course again the following spring semester and will be placed on remediation to address skill deficits.

NASP Domains of Practice Competencies

In accordance with the NASP Domains of Practice, each practicum student is required to complete and submit a portfolio of artifacts highlighting how their practicum experiences have fulfilled each competency outlined by NASP as necessary for the success of school psychology training.  Students will complete artifacts at the practicum site and submit these when completed to the university-based supervisor. 

Throughout the practicum year, it is the student’s responsibility to monitor their progress on these mandated artifacts and seek out needed opportunities to complete requirements.  Students may complete other activities outside of this list as required by the supervisor; however, these artifacts are required for a final grade.

Below is a list of each NASP Domain and activities that align with each domain.  Students must submit all required artifacts and write about their competency and skills at the completion of the practicum experience to receive a satisfactory grade.  Portfolio rubrics and requirements will be discussed in class.

Domain 1: Data-Based Decision-Making: School psychologists understand and utilize assessment methods for identifying strengths and needs; for developing effective interventions, services, and programs; and for measuring progress and outcomes within a multi-tiered system of supports. School psychologists use a problem-solving framework as the basis for all professional activities. School psychologists systematically collect data from multiple sources as a foundation for decision making at the individual, group, and systems levels, and consider ecological factors (e.g., classroom, family, and community characteristics) as a context for assessment and intervention.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 1:

  • Assessment reports for special education eligibility: Practicum students must complete 2 comprehensive evaluation reports for varying referral questions, including 1 psychological evaluation (to consider Emotional Disturbance or Other Health Impairment for ADHD) and 1 Autism evaluation. These reports should also include cognitive and achievement testing conducted by the practicum student to rule out a Specific Learning Disability.  Practicum students should complete the evaluation with the support of the supervisor and participate in the ARD/IEP meeting to share results with parents and school staff.  These reports must be submitted and all confidential information should be redacted.

Domain 2: Consultation and Collaboration: School psychologists understand varied models and strategies of consultation and collaboration applicable to individuals, families, groups, and systems, as well as methods to promote effective implementation of services. As part of a systematic and comprehensive process of effective decision-making and problem solving that permeates all aspects of service delivery, school psychologists demonstrate skills to consult, collaborate, and communicate effectively with others.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 2:

  • Functional Behavioral Assessments: Practicum students should complete 1 Functional Behavioral Assessments to determine target student behaviors, hypothesized function of target behaviors and recommendations for behavioral intervention.  This report should be submitted and all confidential information should be redacted.

Domain 3: Academic Intervention and Instructional Supports: School psychologists have understand the biological, cultural, and social influences on academic skills; human learning, cognitive, and developmental processes; and evidence- based curricula and instructional strategies.  School psychologists, in collaboration with others, use assessment and data-collection methods to implement and evaluate services that support academic skill development in children.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 3:

  • Practicum students must complete a minimum of 1 academic case study.  The case study should target a student that has an academic deficit in reading, math or writing skills.  Practicum students must report baseline data, areas of weakness that the child exhibits based on multiple sources of data, develop goals and objectives, implement evidence-based academic intervention programming, and utilize progress monitoring measures to determine student progress towards goals.  Intervention data (minimum of 6 weeks and at least 1 data point collected per week) must be submitted and graphed visually, demonstrating positive, measurable impact of the intervention on the academic development of the K-12 student.

Domain 4:  Mental and Behavioral Health Services and Interventions: School psychologists understand the biological, cultural, developmental, and social influences on mental and behavioral health; behavioral and emotional impacts on learning; and evidence-based strategies to promote social–emotional functioning. School psychologists, in collaboration with others, design, implement, and evaluate services that promote resilience and positive behavior, support socialization and adaptive skills, and enhance mental and behavioral health.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 4:

  • Practicum students must participate in at least 1 individual counseling case and 1 group counseling case.  Students must participate in at least 3 counseling sessions with the same students (3 sessions of an individual and 3 sessions of a group).  Because practicum students are starting in the middle of the academic school year, these groups may be co-led by the practicum student and the LSSP supervisor on campus.  Practicum students should be involved with counseling meetings and monitoring progress towards IEP goals.  A summary of the individual and group counseling cases should be submitted and should include session notes, evidence-based methods that were utilized, student IEP goals, and progress monitoring towards goals.

Domain 5: School-Wide Practices to Promote Learning: School psychologists understand school and systems’ structures, organization, and theory; general and special education programming; implementation science; and evidence-based school-wide practices that promote learning, positive behavior, and mental health. School psychologists, in collaboration with others, develop and implement practices and strategies to create and maintain safe, effective, and supportive learning environments for students and school staff.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 5:

  • Practicum students should sit in on a minimum of 2 school wide committee meetings that addresses systemic issues related to school climate, school safety, bullying prevention, Response to Intervention, or Positive Behavior Supports and Interventions.  Artifacts to show attendance should be submitted. 

Domain 6: Services to Promote Safe and Supportive Schools: School psychologists understand principles and research related to social–emotional well-being, resilience, and risk factors in learning, mental and behavioral health, services in schools and communities to support multi-tiered prevention, and health promotion, and evidence-based strategies for creating safe and supportive schools. School psychologists, in collaboration with others, promote preventive and responsive services that enhance learning, mental and behavioral health, and psychological and physical safety and implement effective crisis prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 6:

  • Practicum students should observe or participate in (with LSSP supervision) at least 1 risk assessment or threat assessment.  Practicum students should also observe the district crisis team and district response to any school or district crises that present themselves.  Practicum students should submit a summary of any risk or crisis response that was conducted, along with any related artifacts.  All confidential information should be redacted. 
  • Practicum students will analyze multi-tiered systems of supports that occur at their practicum site.  An analysis paper (a minimum of 3 pages double spaced) will be submitted.  The paper should describe the systems of supports that occur, as well as how these systems compared to best practices. Recommendations for improvement should also be written.

Domain 7: Family, School, and Community Collaboration Services: School psychologists understand principles and research related to family systems, strengths, needs, and cultures; evidence-based strategies to support positive family influences on children’s learning and mental health; and strategies to develop collaboration between families and schools. School psychologists, in collaboration with others, design, implement, and evaluate services that respond to culture and context. They facilitate family and school partnerships and interactions with community agencies to enhance of academic and social–behavioral outcomes for children.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 7:

  • Practicum students should meet with parents to review assessment results (part of Domain 1 as well).  Practicum students should outline parent recommendations for behaviors as part of their Functional Behavioral Assessment (part of Domain 2).  Practicum students should observe parent trainings or other family-based interventions that the district may offer.  At the completion of the semester, students will submit a written summary (a minimum of 1 page double spaced) outlining their work with families this semester, barriers that occurred, and plans for improving family-school collaboration methods while on internship next year.

Domain 8: Equitable Practices for Diverse Student Populations: School psychologists have knowledge of, and inherent respect for, individual differences, abilities, disabilities, and other diverse characteristics and the effects they have on development and learning. They also understand principles and research related to diversity in children, families, schools, and communities, including factors related to child development, religion, culture and cultural identity, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic status, and other variables. School psychologists implement evidence-based strategies to enhance services in both general and special education and to address potential influences related to diversity. School psychologists demonstrate skills to provide professional services that promote effective functioning for individuals, families, and schools with diverse characteristics, cultures, and backgrounds through an ecological lens across multiple contexts. School psychologists recognize that equitable practices for diverse student populations, respect for diversity in development and learning, and advocacy for social justice are foundational to effective service delivery. While equality ensures that all children have the same access to general and special educational opportunities, equity ensures that each student receives what they need to benefit from these opportunities.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 8:

  • Practicum students should participate in at least 1 assessment where cultural diversity plays a large role in understanding and conceptualizing the student’s needs (e.g, English Language Learners, immigrant families, linguistic differences, gender diversity).  This can be part of the requirements for Domain 1 or it can be a separate report.  Practicum students should outline how diversity was attended to during the process of the assessment and recommendations should be tailored to the student’s unique needs.  The report should be submitted and all confidential information redacted.

Domain 9: Research and Program Evaluation: School psychologists have knowledge of research design, statistics, measurement, varied data collection and analysis techniques, and program evaluation methods sufficient for understanding research and interpreting data in applied settings.  School psychologists demonstrate skills to evaluate and apply research as a foundation for service delivery and, in collaboration with others, use various techniques and technology resources for data collection, measurement, analysis, and program evaluation to support effective practices at the individual, group, and/or systems levels.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 9:

  • Practicum students will analyze an existing program that occurs at their practicum sites (for example, a social skills program, Tier 1 PBS methods, specific Tier 2 interventions, academic screening, tutoring interventions etc.).  The practicum student should learn about the program and collect additional data beyond what already exists to analyze the effectiveness of the program.  A 3 page paper (double spaced) should be submitted discussing the evaluation of the program and recommendations for further improvement.

Domain 10: Legal, Ethical, and Professional Practice: School psychologists have knowledge of the history and foundations of school psychology; multiple service models and methods; ethical, legal, and professional standards; and other factors related to professional identity and effective practice as school psychologists.  School psychologists demonstrate skills to provide services consistent with ethical, legal, and professional standards; engage in responsive ethical and professional decision-making; collaborate with other professionals; and apply professional work characteristics needed for effective practice as school psychologists, including respect for human diversity and social justice, communication skills, effective interpersonal skills, responsibility, adaptability, initiative, dependability, and technology skills.

Example/Required Artifacts for Domain 10:

  • Practicum students should be engaged in district or regional opportunities for further training related to their clinical skills and ethical practice.  A minimum of one district or regional training addressing ethical or legal issues should be attended and artifacts should be submitted that support attendance.