What is a School Psychologist?
School psychologists are professionals who possess skills and knowledge in the areas of child and adolescent development, principles of learning and behaviour, individual differences, social/emotional/academic interventions, assessment and program planning. School Psychologists typically work for school boards or in private practice
School Psychologists work with individuals, within schools and within school districts to provide support, consultation, and aid in the development of various programs.
- Consultation & program planning with students, parents & teachers
- Individual psycho-educational assessment
- Individual counselling and therapy
- Skill development (e.g. social skills, anger management)
- Transition planning across a variety of educational stages
- Liaison with school learning teams
- Collaboration with school staff to support inclusive environments
- Prevention and intervention programs for a positive school environment
- Professional development on current research and best practices
- Debriefing and counselling students and staff following a traumatic event
Within School Districts
- Development, implementation and evaluation of district-wide screening and assessment programs
- Development, implementation and evaluation of district-wide intervention programs
- Provision of district in-service training on various topics
PAA School Psychology Committee
The PAA School Psychology Committee was formed in 2011 to aid PAA in its advocacy efforts related to school psychology. The purpose of the School Psychology Committee is to:
a) Advocate for meaningful and effective incorporation of psychologists in Alberta school systems
b) Promote the profession of school psychology and professional practices that support the educational and psychological wellbeing of children in Alberta school systems.
School Psychology in Alberta
Summary article of relevance
Johnson, R.C. , & Zwiers, M.L. (2016). Evolving nature of school psychology in Alberta: Politics and practice.Canadian Journal of School Psychology,
31(3),166–187. DOI: 10.1177/0829573516655229
Over the past 15 years, the practice of school psychology in the province of Alberta reflects the entrenchment of assessment with the emerging possibility of a broader service provider role. This article articulates the influence that politics and government has had on the role of school psychologists in Alberta schools as special education funding frameworks have evolved. The authors describe the present training and roles of Alberta school psychologists and outline the work that has been undertaken in that province to advocate for a role in key government initiatives of Response to Intervention (RTI) and Inclusive Education.
This position paper was developed by a task force struck to formulate the PAA’s perceptions of Alberta Education’s Setting the Direction framework. The School Psychology Task Force was comprised of six school psychologists from diverse backgrounds who extensively examined current research and concepts to formulate this position paper. This paper was subjected to an extensive review process utilizing focus groups of psychologists from across the province as well as input from the PAA’s Board of Directors. The PAA distributed this position paper to the Minister of Education and PAA Members in December, 2010, and to the Setting the Direction Working Group, key education stakeholders and the general public in January 2011.
By Dr. Michael Lee Zwiers & Dr. R. Corrane Johnson, Spring 2012 Perspectives
This article briefly reviews the Alberta Inclusive Education system, highlighting how school psychologists can provide a broader array of services to children who have Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders. View…
Inclusive Education: How Can Psychologists Help Teachers?
By R. Coranne Johnson and Shawn Crawford, March 5, 2012, ATA Magazine. This article briefly outlines how school psychologists can help teachers and their role in the education system. View…
Getting Schooled is a regular section of Psymposium, penned by members of the PAA School Psychology Committee. The following articles, published in previous issues of Psymposium, are a regular feature which discuss issues, concerns, research and practice as it relates to school psychology.
August 2018 – Coming Out & Coming to Terms: Not always the issue!
December 2016 – Rural School Psychology
August 2016 – Math Interventions that Make Sense
April 2015 – Cyberbullying
December 2014 – Collaboration in School Psychology
August 2014 – Consultation in Schools
December 2013 – Alberta’s New Education Act
August 2013 – Mental Health & School Psychology Services
December 2012 – Paying Attention to Executive Functioning
August 2012 – School Psychologists – More than WISC Jockeys
April 2012 – Professionalism & Psycho-Educational Assessment
December 2011 – Revitalizing the Psycho-Educational Assessment Process
August 2011 – Welcome to Getting Schooled
Alberta Education Documents/Publications
Brochures & Presentations
School Psychology Advocacy in Alberta Presentation
On June 14, 2012, Drs. Johnson and Zwiers presented at the Canadian Psychology Association’s Annual Conference: School Psychology Advocacy in Alberta.
Alberta Education is making significant changes to the delivery of educational services to all students, including those with special needs. For almost 2 decades, school psychologists have primarily provided assessment services for coding/identification and funding. The new model will no longer attach coding to funding for students with exceptional learning needs, which could drastically change the role of school psychologists. Although the new model offers a three-tiered intervention system (universal, targeted, and specialized), with specialized assessments a part of the third-tier response, school systems may not see a role for psychologists in either of the first two tiers. From the early days of the government initiative, the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta (PAA) has responded publically to ensure that students with special needs are not lost, and that psychologists maintain a role in the new service model. The PAA School Psychology Committee views this provincial change as an opportunity to expand and diversify the role of psychologists in the schools to include the areas identified by CPA (2007) and NASP. As change sweeps across educational systems of the US and Canada, this advocacy initiative may hold relevance for school psychologists in other provinces. View..
School Psychology Brochure
A PAA brochure on School Psychology is available from the PAA office – click here to view
Canadian Association of School Psychologists
Founded in 1984, the Canadian Association of School Psychologists is a national organization which represents the needs, concerns and interests of school psychologists across Canada. More..
National Association of School Psychologists
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is a professional association that represents more than 25,000 school psychologists, graduate students, and related professionals throughout the United States and 25 other countries. More…
British Columbia Association of School Psychologists
The purposes of BCASP (the British Columbia Association of School Psychologists) are to represent the interests of school psychologists and to further the standards of school psychology practice in order to promote effective service to all students and their families. More…