School psychologists play a critical role in evaluation and determination of eligibility for special education services. They often consult with teachers and families about characteristics of disabilities and types of services and supports available in the school system and community. As leaders, school administrators must have a thorough understanding of IDEA and the IEP process. They are responsible for ensuring all teachers have working knowledge regarding these topics, so IEPs can be properly implemented to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
Allocate at least 3 hours in the field to support this field experience.
Because this course does not require you to have a fingerprint clearance card, if you are not a current teacher your field experience must be completed before or after school, or during another designated time when students are not present.
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In person or via phone, interview a school psychologist and a school administrator from any K-12 setting. Take notes, as these will be submitted as part of the assignment deliverable.
In the interview, address the following:
- Explain your role as a member of the special education team.
- Discuss the specific responsibilities you have in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities.
- Describe your role in the IEP process.
- Explain when teachers should consult with you regarding the special education needs of their students.
- Describe the role of the school in early intervention. Include discussion about how you communicate that to the family and how you support the staff.
- Describe your experiences in working with students with disabilities by talking about the various disabilities you have encountered. Include discussion of the characteristics, causes, and prevalence of the types of disabilities you typically see in practice.
- Considering the students with whom you have worked and the types of disabilities you typically see, describe the educational implications for students who exhibit characteristics of these disabilities. Explain how you have worked with these students and what you have encouraged teachers to focus on when interacting with and teaching students with these types of disabilities.
- Identify professional development opportunities related to special education that you believe would benefit staff in the school and/or district.
- Describe what you do for professional development in terms of implementing interventions before starting the special education process at your site.
- Formulate and ask three additional questions of your choice. Include these in your interview notes.
In a 750-1,000 word reflection, identify the school settings for the professionals you interviewed and discuss the following:
- Describe what you learned about the typical types of disabilities you might expect to see as part of your professional practice. Include discussion of how interacting with the school psychologist could be beneficial in increasing your personal knowledge of the characteristics, causes, and educational implications of these disabilities for students in your classroom.
- Describe the perceived differences in roles between the school psychologist and the administrator. Discuss how knowledge of these roles will help you facilitate the collaborative process before referral to special education and throughout the IEP process. Explain how you will use support from the school psychologist and administration once the IEP is written and services have begun.
- Discuss how you perceive your role as a teacher in professional development. Explain how you can contribute to and collaborate with an administrator or school psychologist to support other staff and faculty in understanding their roles in the special education process.
- Considering what you learned from these two interviews as well as those completed in “Field Experience A,” describe how you will use the experiences shared by the teachers, psychologist, and administrator to inform your personal professional practice.