Ed.S. Program Goals
The Programs in School Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado are designed to prepare school psychologists who can apply knowledge in psychology and education to a variety of settings. UNC’s School Psychology program is based on the scientist-practitioner model of training. Therefore, the school psychologist is viewed as a behavioral scientist whose primary goal is to develop a school-community environment which optimizes the cognitive, socio-emotional, moral, and general psychoeducational growth of children and adolescents, and minimizes the incidence and effects of learning problems and emotional and behavioral disorders. Our general program goals are incorporated into the following five goal statements, followed by our eight specific training objectives:
Goal 1: UNC School Psychology program provides students with a solid understanding of the psychological and educational principles underlying the field of school psychology. These principles include, but are not limited to human learning, human development, both typical and atypical, as well as human diversity. School Psychology students apply this foundational knowledge to problems of learning and behavior through appropriate decision-making, competent intervention planning and implementation, and effective communication and consultation. (Objectives 1, 3, & 4)
Goal 2: The UNC School Psychology program prepares students to use a systemic perspective to view children’s development and to understand the contexts in which this development occurs. Therefore, an emphasis on consultation and collaboration with families as well as other professionals is integral to the role of the school psychologist. As part of an interdisciplinary team, School Psychology students work with others to support the academic, social, and emotional development of the child. (Objectives 5 & 7)
Goal 3: The UNC School Psychology program prepares skilled interventionists who have knowledge about various academic, behavioral, social, and emotional intervention strategies that are associated with positive outcomes, as well skills in implementing these different interventions. In order to do so effectively, School Psychology students must have knowledge of relevant research and be able to translate this knowledge into practice by adapting interventions to meet the needs of the client and the system. (Objective 6)
Goal 4: The UNC School Psychology program prepares students to use multiple sources of data to facilitate the best decision-making, regardless of whether it involves an individual child or an entire program. School Psychology students competently conduct psychological assessments that are relevant to student problems and use their findings for decision making and program planning. Data are also gathered to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and to continually improve one’s practice. (Objective 2)
Goal 5: The UNC School Psychology program prepares professionals who will act as child advocates and facilitate the optimization of the psychoeducational environment of the child. In doing so, the School Psychology students are knowledgeable of and adhere to the legal and ethical guidelines of the field. Additionally, students present themselves as professionals in all aspects of their functioning and regularly engage in ongoing professional development. (Objective 8)
Coursework and field experiences within the Programs in School Psychology are designed to assist the student in developing the appropriate knowledge and skills to meet the following program objectives. These objectives reflect Colorado State Licensure regulations for School Psychologists as well as the NASP Standards for School Psychology Practices.
- Human Learning and Effective Instruction (CDE 11.06(2); NASP 2:3)
School psychology students will have knowledge of human learning processes, techniques to assess these processes, and direct and indirect services applicable to the development of cognitive and academic skills. In practice, graduates of the Programs in School Psychology will collaborate with others to develop appropriate cognitive and academic goals for students with different abilities, disabilities, strengths, and needs; implement interventions to achieve those goals; and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.
- Informal and Formal Assessment : (CDE 11.06(3), NASP 2:1, 2:9)
School psychology students will have knowledge of varied models and methods of assessment that yield information useful in identifying strengths and needs, in understanding problems, and in measuring progress and accomplishments. In doing so, they will have knowledge of the underlying research and statistics of these models as well as methods of program evaluation. In practice, graduates of the Programs in School Psychology will use such models and methods as part of a systematic process to collect data and other information, translate assessment results into empirically-based decisions about service delivery, and evaluate the outcomes of services across different levels (i.e., individual, system).
- Typical and Atypical Human Development Processes: (CDE 11.06(4); NASP 2:4)
School psychology students will have knowledge of typical and atypical human development processes, techniques to assess these processes, and direct and indirect services applicable to the development of behavioral, affective, adaptive, and social skills. In practice, graduates of the Programs in School Psychology will collaborate with others to develop appropriate behavioral, affective, adaptive, and social goals; and evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions.
- Individual Diversity in Development and Learning: (CDE 11.06(5); NASP 2:8)
School psychology students will have knowledge of individual differences, abilities, and disabilities and of the potential influence of biological, social, cultural, ethnic, experiential, socioeconomic, gender-related, and linguistic factors in development and learning. In practice, graduates of the Programs in School Psychology will demonstrate sensitivity and skills needed to work with individuals of diverse characteristics and to implement strategies selected and/or adapted based on individual characteristics, strengths, and needs.
- School and Systems Organization, Policy Development, and Climate: (CDE 11.06(6); NASP 2:8)
School psychology students will understand the systemic nature of schools and other settings as well as specific knowledge of general education, special education, and other educational and related services. In practice, graduates of the Programs in School Psychology will work with individuals and groups to facilitate policies and practices that create and maintain a safe, supportive, and effective learning environment for children and others.
- Evidence-based Interventions and Programs: (CDE 11.06(7); NASP 2:6)
School psychology students will have knowledge of evidence-based prevention and intervention approaches across universal, selected and targeted levels that are designed to improve the behavioral, social-emotional, and academic functioning of students. In practice, graduates of the Programs in School Psychology will provide or contribute to prevention and intervention programs that promote the mental health and physical well-being of students. These programs include, but are not limited to, individual and group counseling, behavioral support planning, and school-wide programs.
- Consultation and Collaboration: (CDE 11.06(8); NASP 2:2, 2:7)
School psychology students will have knowledge of different models of consultation and collaboration and of their application to family, school, and community systems. This knowledge base will include an understanding of family systems, including family strengths and influences on student development, learning, and behavior, and effective methods to involve families in education and service delivery. In practice, graduates of the Programs in School Psychology will collaborate effectively with families, educators, and others in the community in planning and decision-making at the individual, group, and system levels.
- Legal, Ethical, and Professional Practice: (CDE 11.06(9); NASP 2:10)
School psychology student will have knowledge of the history and foundations of their profession; up-to-date information sources and technology relevant to their work; of public policy development applicable to service delivery; and of ethical, professional, and legal standards. In practice, graduates of the Programs in School Psychology will practice in ways that are consistent with state and professional standards, incorporate technology to enhance their practice, and demonstrate involvement in their profession and a commitment to ongoing professional development.