School Psychology Program Boasts 100% Employment Rate

School Psychology Program Boasts 100% Employment Rate

Stock photo of student and counselor

The School Psychology Program prepares candidates to serve diverse populations through rigorous coursework, competitive field placement experiences, and a hallmark theme of self-care infused throughout the curriculum.

Our students always get jobs, often times receiving multiple job offers, and we have a 100 percent employment rate, every year.

— Paula Gill Lopez, PhD, director of the School Psychology Program

With the need for mental health services in schools on the rise, a master’s degree in school psychology is a top degree for students to pursue who are interested in a helping profession. Fairfield’s School Psychology Program prepares candidates through rigorous coursework, competitive field placement experiences, and a hallmark theme of self-care infused throughout the curriculum. The program also boasts a 100 percent employment rate.

“Everything we do is designed to make our students more marketable,” said Program Director Paula Gill Lopez, PhD. “We look at each candidate individually and look to fill any gaps in experience so that when it comes time to find a job, they are well-rounded candidates. Our students always get jobs, often times receiving multiple job offers, and we have a 100 percent employment rate, every year.”

A signature component of the master's program and sixth-year program is the emphasis on self-care, to protect against practitioner burnout. The program also prioritizes the fostering of school connectedness and social emotional learning (SEL) as a vehicle for whole-child development.

“Our program places great emphasis on valuing, recognizing, and supporting the development of the child in context,” said Evelyn Bilias Lolis, PhD, associate professor of school psychology and special education. “We prepare school psychologists who are highly nuanced in SEL, and in bolstering the social and emotional competencies of all children."

In addition to an emphasis on self-care and SEL, the program addresses the needs of diverse populations. Michael Regan, PhD, NCSP, associate professor of the practice in School Psychology, will teach a new seminar on bilingual assessment in the spring. The advanced seminar, titled "Assessment of Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students," is important because it provides school psychologists with the skills to assess students in a culturally sensitive way. The course will teach candidates how to differentiate learning disorders from the process of second-language acquisition, through non-biased assessment including testing in the student’s native language, bilingual testing, and adaptation of standardized instruments and techniques.

As Dr. Regan described, evaluating the English learner is a complex process and without adequate knowledge of the role second language acquisition has on the learning process, some English learners may be mistakenly identified as a child with a disability.

“It takes one to two years for English-learners to become conversational, and seven to ten years to achieve cognitive academic language proficiency, and in the meantime they’re expected to perform at the same level as native English speakers. These students have unique learning trajectories that are too often not being considered.”

In addition to essential coursework, students engage in three field placements during the program. Students complete two practicum placements, the first of which is three days a week, usually in an urban district where students apply their assessment skills. Following the first practicum placement students spend six to eight weeks in an alternative school placement such as a behavioral intensive school or a community mental health setting where they conduct individual, group, and crisis counseling. Lastly students take part in a full-time, year-long internship.

Fairfield’s School Psychology program is nationally recognized by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) which is the specialized professional association affiliated with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The School of Education and Human Development is fully accredited by CAEP through December, 2028.

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Last modified: 01-07-22 10:27 AM

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