National School Psychology Week ended today, but not the work for some 22 Comal ISD specialists who schedule face-to-face student evaluations used to rule out or verify special-education eligibility.
They’ve worked overtime since August, trying to catch up with the logistical nightmares created by last spring’s school closures.
This school year alone, Comal ISD received 371 new evaluation requests and has approximately 1,054 reevaluations to schedule in addition to the backlog from the 2019-20 school year.
Canyon Lake High School’s Lynette Slebrch, Mountain Valley Middle School’s Eileen De La Garza, Mountain Valley Elementary School’s Courtney Cowsert, Rebecca Creek/Hoffman Lane elementary schools’ Jennifer Coleman and Startzville Elementary School’s Lauren Salazar are some of the licensed specialists in school psychology (LSSP) tasked with serving approximately 3,000 special-education students in the district, following them from their initial evaluations to ongoing reevaluations which occur every three years.
Each completed evaluation gives one more student access to much-needed special education services and interventions.
“We are doing really well in catching up where we left off,” says Brooke Simmons, LSSP, the district’s coordinator of psychological services. “I am amazed at the dedication and commitment that our LSSPs have for our students. They go above and beyond daily to support them and their families.”
While the LSSP’s role focuses mainly on the assessment and identification process for students with disabilities, the specialists also provide related service-counseling to students and support campuses and teachers in various capacities.
They offer guidance on behavior processes, disability and student-specific support and strategies as well as parent consultations when it comes to special education.
The LSSP license is required by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP) to provide school psychological services in Texas public schools. An LSSP must complete a graduate degree in school psychology or closely related field; receive a passing score on the national exam for school psychology; and be eligible for certification as a National Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) or educational equivalent.
In Texas, the title of school psychologist is limited to licensed psychologists with a doctorate degree in school psychology.