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Thursday, April 15, 2010

School Violence: What's the Limit?

If we think back to Columbine and Virginia Tech, hind sight reveals many discrepancies between what staff should have done and what actually happened with students who are troubled. How far should educators go to protect their schools? To what extent, though, are we violating the student's rights? Some people think that metal detectors create legal concerns. NASP recognizes that the role of a school psychologist is a vital one.

It “encourages school psychologists’ to take a leadership role in developing comprehensive approaches to violence reduction and crisis response in schools.” (NASP 2006) As per, NASP, school psychologists are trained to provide all students with valuable resources and also develop effective interventions.

But should the responsibility in developing comprehensive approaches to violence reduction fall mainly on the the school psychologist?

This Blog was created by Ana Palma, Alarys Medina and Amanda Bisheit.

Can You Spare some CHANGE????

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” –John Muir, environmentalist.

Working as school psychologists we find ourselves as part of the “system”; collaborating with students, teachers, administrators, and parents a daily routine. In our discussions and readings the focus for school psychologists has been to shift our roles in that “system”. Are we prepared to be systems-change agents? What areas do we need to show competency in?

If we are prepared to be system-change agents, we must then consider the process by which we can initiate this change. In our readings, this is presented in terms of certain steps that need to be taken. Merrel, Ervin, & Gimpel (2006) state that “when creating readiness for change, the first consideration is the development of vision and leadership” (pg 235). Some may consider No Child Left Behind as an example of a systems change that requires a certain level of vision, so that others can see its potential for improving educational standards. What are you thoughts on this? Has this initiative met the goals it sets forth?

This Blog was created by Mark Newman & Anel DeJesus.

Are You Ready????

In the Jacob and Hartshorne text it states: "Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of school policies and practices that have an impact of onthe welfare of children and sharing that expertise in consultation with school principals and other decision makers, may enable school psychologists to to effect organizational change that can have a positive impact on large numbers of children."

This poses an important set of questions:

1. Do you feel that you are ready to take on this role? We are only given one class that has to do with school law. How are you going tokeep yourself updated and with the current times?

2. Do you think in the beginning you will feel comfortable telling others including administrators what to do or how to do something?

3. What do you do if you come across a principal who disagrees withyour opinion or decision even though you truly feel that it is theright way to go? Do you fight for the child's right or do you quiet down in fear of losing your job or developing an uneasy relationship within your school?

This blog was created by Denise Torres and Stefanie Tych.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Working with the Culturally Diverse

With immigration to the United States rapidly on the rise, growing awareness of the importance of integrating cultural values and norms into professional practice has been under evaluation to examine its effectiveness. As a practitioner, one is ethically obligated to provide therapy that is culturally sensitive, respectful, and beneficial based on a client’s background characteristics (Jacob & Hartshorne, 2007).

In an effort to provide culturally competent practice; a school psychologist must attempt to utilize the following “best practices” strategies (Sue & Sue, 2008):

  • develop awareness of their own cultural heritage, gender, class, ethnic-racial identity, sexual orientation, and age and its implications on personal and social development
  • learn about a client’s background, values, and experiences and how they may have influenced individual development and behavior
  • demonstrate understanding and respect for cultural and experiential differences between practitioner and client
  • utilize knowledge of best practices when selecting, designing, and implementing treatment plans for diverse students/clients
  • consider an individual’s cultural/ethnic identity to prevent “over-pathology” or “under-pathology”
  • become conscious of communication style and try to anticipate their impact on culturally diverse clients
  • dispel biases through immersion of culture which requires additional education
    seek professional advice from colleagues

By adhering to the aforementioned strategies, school psychologists will provide, to the best of their ability, a therapeutic climate where progress is likely to occur.

To what extent do personal biases, lack of requisite knowledge, and poor adaptive therapeutic skills influence professional practice when working with a diverse clientele?

This blog was created by: Prattima Kaulessar & Danielle Muhammad

A Cry for HELP!!!

According to Ervin, Gimpel, and Merrell (2006), development of knowledge and skills in prevention services is an integral part of school psychology training programs. Part of this is the prevention and evaluation of suicide and violent acts. This emphasis is become more and more common with the increase in school violence and the publicity that school shooting have had. Often the school psychologist is believed to hold the most knowledge of suicide, depression, violent tendencies and so forth in the school.

Yet do you feel prepared to take on this role? As school psychologists we will be asked to evaluate whether a student is on a path to violence as well as suicide.

Reddey (2001) has a three principle process to assess a student's likelihood of violent actions: "(1) Targeted violence is a result of an interaction among the students, situation, target, and setting; there is not single "type" of student prone to such acts;
(2) evaluators must make a distinction between a student who makes threats versus poses a threat;
(3) targeted violence is often the product of an understandable pattern of thinking and behavior".

-Do we have any required classes that offer instruction on preventive strategies or risk factors of suicide?

-Do you feel prepared to make decision on whether a student is likely to commit a violent act or tendency to commit suicide?

If you do feel comfortable what preparations did you make or classes did you take?

This blog was created by Rebecca Guenther and Danielle Allegra.

Pregnancy Pact

The situation is brought to you as a school psychologist that a group of girls in your building are planning to become pregnant at the same time because of the publicity it generated.

How do you handle this situation? What are the ethical and legal ramifications of your plans of actions?

This blog was created by Alaafia Ajibade & Mike Drozdick