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Thursday, April 15, 2010

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.

22 comments:

Rebeccca said...

In terms of the third question you posed; I think the obvious right answer is to argue for the child since that is our role. It is my opinion that the fastest way to get fired is to not be representing the student but instead yourself. if you look out for yourself instead of a student I think that is a fast way to get into trouble.

This is clearly idealistic and it is not easy to go against your boss but it is what should be done. Having said this (in response to your second question) I do not think it will be easy to tell administrators what to do...you have to be the freshman again and it is never easy for a freshman to tell a senior what to do...but it can be done. The best way to be able to do this is to arm yourself with data and the facts so it will be very hard to dispute you.

Danielle Allegra said...

The best way to keep yourself updated with the law and stay current, is to always be involved and want to learn more, attend workshops and do research, in a changing world, we must always keep ourselves current.. i dont think it will be easy to tell administrators what to do when you're new but instead of overloadign them with information, maybe one could sorta make a joke out of it, or in the middle of a conversation say something like 'oh you know what i learned and found interesting recently".. i think if we approach things in not such a serious manner, people might be more open to it.. and like rebecca said standing up for the child is the right thing to do.. and im sure it may be difficult to do if people dont agree with you but a lawsuit could be filed against you, so again maybe a different approach to try to get people to listen to you would work

Stefanie said...

I think you guys are right first we must be able to develop a professional relationship with those we work with and let them know where we stand without being overwhelming. If we let them know that we will not stand for something we believe in I think respecting our opinions will come easier. With time we will see these days are not as far away as they may seem.

Mark said...

If we go in to a situation that we think we are telling administrators what to do than we are asking for trouble. However, if it is our ethical and legal obligation than we must do what is right. I like what Stephanie said about developing a working relationship with the administration. We learn how to establish alliances with our clients, the same can be done with staff that way we can institute and bring change.

Rebeccca said...

I can see this clash between administrators and school psychs occuring more and more often with the current financial crisis in the state. It may be likely that we feel we need to send a student out of district or get them some accomodations but the administrators do not want it/ or really can't do it becuase of lack of finances. I am not sure what we do when the student really needs help, we know what needs to be done, but we don't have the resources to do it?

AmandaBish said...

I'm really not trying to be a kiss-ass, but Dr. Pastor is a great example of the ways in which we can keep ourselves updates and current. Not that we'll have our doctorate degrees, but she teaches updated and current information. She speaks at NASP conferences, and has told me that after she graduated she attended many supplemental courses. So those are just some of the ways.

In the beginning of our careers it is not going to feel comfortable telling others how to do something. It may takes months. Just as an example, at my job i was told that I had to tell others what to do and enforce the rules, but I saw them as my equals, so it was very hard. But it comes kind of naturally now because I've found ways of doing it respectfully and non-hypocritically. I'm not going to tell them to clean something when I'm sitting around doing nothing. So we have to set an example as school psychologists before we start bossing people around. P.S. Rebecca I like your freshman/senior metaphor.

For the 3rd question my answer is EVIDENCE EVIDENCE EVIDENCE! document everything, use the correct evidence based assessments, make sure your reports are on point. So that even if in the end there is an "uneasy" relationship, at least you know you backed yourself up. you can't refute the facts.

Denise said...

I think what everyone is agreeing on here is that having a respectful working relationship will make things go smoother between the school psychologist and the administration. If you are respectful, you will in turn be respected. Dr. Ramos, the school psychologist I have been shadowing this semester, works at two different middle schools in her district. She has to work with two different principles and and two separate teaching staffs. Everyone looks up to her and she seems to have the right idea on how to work with others. She also constantly attends workshops to keep herself current. She attended 3 so far this month alone. I think this is the right way to go about this business.

Mark said...

I agree that if you are motivated to improve your skill set you need to enjoy your profession and want to learn how to be more competent. It is great to attend workshops that are relevant and have practical applications for your work environment.

Prattima Kaulessar said...

I agree, in an effort to keep yourself knowledgeable of current information, one must take additional courses, attend workshops, read, and maintain annual memberships to professional organizations such as NASP and APA since a wealth of updated ethical, legal, and “best practices” guidelines are provided through these venues. Also, it is important to remember that learning is an on-going process even post-graduation.

In reference to the question posed, feeling comfortable with a leadership role will be difficult in the beginning for it always is when one is unseasoned in their position. However, with experience, an individual becomes more assertive and confident in their role. In addition, the notion of mutual respect is an important one because respect, empathy, and professionalism are imperative in any position but especially in positions where daily interaction is required to bring about positive results that impact the lives of children.

Ana said...

In order to maintain up-to-date knowledge of current practices, we must join national associations related to the field of school psychology and be active in those groups. These associations provide us with workshops and conferences that are directly related to any changes in our field. Yes, some of these conferences may be expensive but in order to make sure that we are performing to our fullest and greatest capacity, we should attend some of them
I think that at first many of us will feel a little uncomfortable telling other faculty how to do certain things but like Dr. Pastor mentioned in class, we need to develop professional relationships with our peers and learn from each other.
Regarding the last question, my heart tells me to fight for my students. I'm like this already at my center. We must be the voice for those who can not speak for themselves, especially the younger children. I might be naive but as someone who has worked with children with disabilities, I feel that my job is to do what is best for the "child."

AmandaBish said...

Mark I totally agree with you. We should be excited and passionate about our jobs, and actually want to attend extra workshops and what not to better ourselves. I want to be THAT school psychologist that people look up to and go to like Denise mentioned. That's not going to happen if we think that once we get a job, we are all done learning.

Danielle Muhammad said...

Rebecca you are correct in saying that the obvious answer is to argue for the child. However, what happens when all you are doing is arguing and nobody is listening? I have been in this situation several times as a teacher and it is my hope that as a school psychologist people will finally hear me. In many districts there are boundaries placed on what we can do better serve our children. For example, my district is pushing for an all inclusive setting. Great, but this environment is not restrictive enough for some students. When this is brought up in IEP meeting along with evidence of student work, the LDTC just say ok and she never considers an alternative setting. She is clearly going along with what she is being told to do and she has forgotten that we are in the business of serving children. So, while she is saving her job---children are failing.

Alaafia said...

It is paramount to keep ourselves up-to-date by what is going on in our field by attending conferences and workshops associated with our professional organizations. But just attending workshops will not make us better school psychologists if we do not implement or put to practice what we have learned.

I believe it's natural to first of all feel "out of the loop" whenever someone just starts a new job as we tend to want to stud the culture of our new environment, and the way things go. So, in the beginning,it is going to be a bit difficult to start telling administrators what and how to do something. We must be prepared to show them evidence of how what we are trying to get them to works, and has worked in other places just as Amanda has said.
We are bound to come across people in authority who will not agree with our ideas no matter what kind of evidence or facts are presented to them. They just have to show who the 'boss' is. Despite this, our job is to be advocates for the students as some others have mentioned before, and we have to continue to advocate for them even if the people in administration do not see any point in our ideas. Documenting such things can never be over-emphasized as some of my colleagues have earlier pointed out.

Alarys said...

This question does hit close to home for me. My parents have been fighting for children's rights to a better education in Newark for over thirty years, and because of their idealistic views they often got into conflicts with bureaucratic supervisors. However this never stopped them from advocating for students and their parents. I can only hope to help as many people as they have.

Alarys said...

The question of fighting for children’s rights has never been, personally, an easier decision. My parents have been advocating for students’ rights in Newark for over thirty years. This often times came at the cost of getting into conflicts with supervisors and principals. However this never dissuaded them from helping students receive a better education. I only hope that in my career I will be able to help students and their families as my parents have.

Stefanie said...

I agree that we should argue for the child as you have all said and I know it gets to be so hard especially with the little ones. I have a parent right now who got an aide removed from my room last year because of a reason I know wasn't true now she comes to me today and says something about my aide today. I want to fight for her son but I cannot in this situation because I truly know she is wrong. She will eventually go to the CST and try to get this aide removed, but in this situation fighting for the child and hios mother is not the right decision. Amanda you are right evidence evidence evidence...BE PREPARED!!

Mark said...

Danielle that sounds like a frustrating situation, I can only imagine what the LTDC is experiencing. Do you feel that you can speak to her as a colleague and learn the rationale behind the choice?

Mike said...

I feel that staying current with changes in school legislation and programs are very important in being ready for this role. I think that networking both within and outside our school district is crucial in becoming comfortable in our position. We will constantly be sharing information, and there will be situations where we need to consider the experience of others. By the same token, there will be times where we need to step in and educate the administrators, teachers, parents, or students in question. Principals are not paid to agree with our opinions, but if we are thorough in our practice and can back our opinions up with knowledge, maybe they'll come around. I think the comprehensive approach that includes the principal is key here so that they don't feel left out or threatened. I feel that if we come into the school setting everyday in fear of our job, then our ability to make the proper decision for the students we serve can be altered. We need do our best to balance what is ethically responsible and legally right when it comes to the problems we face.

Denise said...

I think Mike summed it all up pretty nicely for us. I think staying current in our role as school psychologists should be everyone's main goal when we finally get out there in the "real world". Not only will it make us better at what we do, but we will be setting a great example for others (school psychologists-in-training, educators, administration, etc.) to follow.

Danielle Muhammad said...

Mark I have attempted to ration with her, but she is like a puppet. She will say to me "They won't let me do that" or "I'm not allowed to decrease the amount of time the student spends in the general education class." It is really sad because the general education teachers are frustrated, the inclusion teachers are frustrated, and the student is also frustrated. My question to her is where in between all of the frustration does she think learning is occurring?

Rebeccca said...

Danielle,

That is definately a tough position. The only thing I can think of is if you ask her boss why they wont let her do it. She seems to want to do it but is not allowed to. Perhaps you need to convince the higher ups but obviously it is hard to do so and you don't want to overstep and put yourself out there.

Mark said...

The sad part is that the student is probably not getting the focus he/she deserves like you mentioned. Danielle, you are also right about certain environments not meeting a child's needs so the only thing I can predict that will happen is this child will continue to fail, or become a behavioral issue. Why doesn't the ldtc establish some accomodations for this child in the classroom before it is to late?