The Department of Psychological Services is comprised of 19 professionals who are certified as School Psychologists or School Psychometrists by the State of Alabama. The School Psychologists/Psychometrists serve in all of the schools in the Mobile County Public School System, as well as the private and parochial schools.
The Department of Psychological Services is led by a Coordinator of Psychological Services, who oversees the daily operations of the department, assists department members with concerns and is available for consultation when needed. She plays an integral part in monitoring and ensuring compliance with state- and federally-mandated timelines. The Coordinator is the contact person for anyone within the community requesting information and assistance.
Presently, the Department of Psychological Services is served by two clerks who assist with clerical needs, relaying messages and assisting the staff with requests. They maintain referral logs, process reports and assist with disability claims.
Definition of a School Psychologist/Psychometrist
School Psychologists/Psychometrists usually work within school settings to promote psychological, cognitive, social and behavioral health needs of students within the Mobile County Public Schools. Collaboration with educators and other professionals is aimed at creating a positive learning environment for all students. School Psychologists/ Psychometrists’ goal is to provide services that include:
- Comprehensive written reports, which provide information that:
- Identifies and addresses the learning and behavioral problems of students
- Provides useful information for parents and teachers
- Advocates for students’ needs.
- Providing strategies for meeting needs within the classroom
- Collaborating with teachers and school personnel
- Comprehensive written reports by School Psychologists/Psychometrists
Role of School Psycholologist/Psychometrist
School Psychologists/Psychometrists are engaged in a wide-variety of job functions that positively impact the academic progress and social development of all students in the Mobile County Public School System. The School Psychologist/Psychometrist assist schools in identifying educational disabilities as mandated by state and federal law, assist school personnel in developing effective academic interventions and behavioral strategies for students, and administer specific assessments required for special education eligibility.
They tailor their services to the particular needs of each child and each situation. The following is a description of the roles and responsibilities of the Mobile County School Psychologists/Psychometrists.
Give effective alternatives to teachers, parents, and administrators about problems in learning and behavior.
Help others understand child development and how it influences learning and behavior.
Strengthen working relationships between educators, parents and community services.
As needed, attend Problem Solving Team (PST) and IEP Team meetings.
Work collaboratively with children and families.
Help to solve conflicts and problems in learning and adjustment.
Assist school staff in creating behavior monitoring plans in Review 360 for children with disruptive behavior.
Assist Problem Solving Team (PST) design and implement interventions for students struggling academically and behaviorally.
As a requirement of federal IDEA legislation, School Psychologists/Psychometrists evaluate any student whom the Problem Solving Team suspects may have a disability.
Conduct re-evaluations to determine continued eligibility for students who receive special education services.
Assessment instruments may include: intellectual, achievement, developmental, behavior, adaptive and Autism assessments.
- Education and Training
Conduct system wide in-services regarding federal and state special education regulations.
Conduct local school in-services to faculty and staff. These in-services may include: special education referral progress, behavioral monitoring through Review 360, conducting classroom observations, and interpreting test results.
The Problem Solving Team (PST)
Students experiencing academic and behavior difficulties are referred to the Problem Solving Team (PST) at the school. The PST is a function of the regular education program of the Mobile County Public School System. The primary purpose of the PST is to ensure that all students are provided opportunities to be successful academically and behaviorally.
The PST will follow this model:
- Identify the problem, the specific academic skill or behavior
- Analyze the problem
- Set goals and identify research-based programs and/or strategies for solving the problem(s)
- Progress monitor at least every 3-4 weeks to determine if the interventions are working and, if not, what interventions need adjusting
The roles and responsibilities of the PST are to improve the quality of teaching/learning and to promote positive behavior in the school by determining interventions and student plans for learners.
The Referral for Evaluation Process:
- A request for evaluation can be made by the Problems Solving Team (PST) or the parent.
- Once a referral has been made, the parent is given a Notice of Proposed Meeting and Special Education Rights.
- The IEP Team for evaluation, including the parent, convenes to review the request and existing data, and determine the need for an evaluation. IEP Team makes a decision regarding evaluation
- If the IEP Team determines that no evaluation is needed, the student is referred to the PST for additional interventions.
- If the IEP Team determines a need for evaluation, Notice and Consent for Initial Evaluation is obtained from the parent.
- If the parent gives consent for the evaluation, the evaluation is conducted within 60 calendar days from the receipt of the Notice and Consent for Initial Evaluation.
- The evaluation is conducted and a Report of Testing is written which includes formal assessments, behavior scales, observations, work samples, interventions, and any other relevant data.
- A Notice of Proposed Meeting is given to the parent regarding initial eligibility.
- The IEP Team for eligibility determination convenes within 30 calendar days of the evaluation. The IEP Team, including the parent, determines eligibility for special education services based on specific criteria in the Alabama Administrative Code.
- The IEP Team determines special education eligibility.
- If the IEP Team determines a student is eligible for special education services, Notice and Consent for the Provision of Special Education Services is obtained from the parent. If a parent refuses consent, special education services cannot be provided and the process ends.
- If the IEP Team determines the student is not eligible for special education, the student is referred to the PST for interventions.
- Once Notice and Consent for the Provision of Special Education Services is obtained, a meeting to develop the IEP must be conducted within 30 calendar days from the date of eligibility determination. The parent is provided with a Notice of Proposed Meeting for the IEP meeting.
What is a Psychological Evaluation?
The Department provides psychological/educational assessments for various types of learning and social-emotional difficulties for children who are in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. These assessments may include individual psychological testing, interviews and/or behavioral observations.
Evaluations may be used for placement into special educational programs such as those for Specific Learning Disabilities, Intellectually Deficient, Emotional Disability and Intellectual/Creative Giftedness. Testing may also provide educational and instructional information for parents, regular classroom teachers and school administrators. The results and recommendations are shared with the parents, the teachers and, when appropriate, the student.