School psychologists at Elkhart Community Schools assist in identifying students with educational disabilities who may need special education services. They provide a range of services, including evaluation and consultation for the purpose of enhancing the academic, behavioral, social, and emotional functioning of students. When a parent, teacher, or administrator has concerns about any of these aspects relative to a specific student, a referral is made to the General Education (GEI) team. The GEI team is comprised of a variety of school professionals who gather information and suggest interventions to address the presenting concerns. At times, the school psychologist is part of the GEI team and, at other times, the school psychologist may be called upon to consult with GEI members.
If concerns remain following intervention efforts, a referral for psychoeducational evaluation is made. A parent will be contacted and further evaluation will be conducted, with parental permission. Parents are also involved in the completion of the developmental history and the social history of the student, which are required components of an evaluation. Additionally, a referral needs to include information provided by the classroom teacher(s), school nurse, speech pathologist, and/or other specialists as appropriate.
The school psychologist has an important role, but is not the only professional involved in the evaluation process. It is the school psychologist who administers individual intelligence testing and conducts evaluations of emotional functioning. Oftentimes, the psychologist will also engage in individual achievement testing, observe students in class, and issue and review behavior checklists. Once the evaluation has been completed, the school psychologist prepares a written report, which is sent to the school and made available for parent(s) to review in advance of a case conference.
School psychologists also consult with staff members about a variety of interventions and techniques intended to support the teaching and learning effort.
Parents have the right to request a psychological evaluation through their child’s building principal and will receive a written response within ten days of the request.