There is only one school psychologist for every 1400 students in our public schools.
Let’s give school psychologists the resources they need to close this opportunity gap.
Hi, I’m Dr. Rebecca Branstetter, author of The School Psychologist’s Survival Guide and creator of The Thriving School Psychologist Collective ®. Like many school psychologists, I started my career imagining working in a cozy office where students, parents, and school staff came to me as a resource and I would spend my days engaged in positive relationships and problem-solving on how to support students. It didn’t take long for me to learn that the reality of working in schools was much more difficult than I thought.
I was spread so thin, traveling between 4-5 different schools, carrying a caseload of thousands of students, which forced me to focus only on special education compliance. Paperwork. So much paperwork. Bogged down in the paperwork, I could not counsel a student whose father murdered his mother beyond the one emergency session I had time to give. I could not spend time helping the refugee student with no English skills try to navigate middle school. I didn't get to help that floundering new special education teacher with getting control over her class so she could reach and teach her students with special needs.
I was so discouraged, as I was highly trained to provide preventive and early intervention services, and all I was doing was testing students for special education, diagnosing students, and moving on to the next case. I changed districts four times, and the struggle was similar wherever I went. I almost quit. I felt alone, helpless, and burned out.
Something had to change.
I knew other school psychologists felt the same way I did--overworked and underutilized--so I started building a community of school psychologists dedicated to closing the opportunity gap between what we can do for students and what our day-to-day reality was.
I created the Thriving School Psychologist Collective®
In a few short years, I built a community of engaged, proactive, and enthusiastic school psychologists who freed up their time from paperwork to doing so much more. In just 10 months, school psychologists reported they were happier in their careers and happier in general. They had more emotional energy to do so much more than just testing students-- creating school-wide suicide prevention programs, doing therapy groups with middle schoolers to teach self-regulation skills, consulting with teachers more, educating and empowering parents, and developing systems to close achievement gaps and help kids with academic skill deficits before they "failed enough" to be tested for special education.
Imagine what we could do if we empowered more school psychologists, across the country, to operate in their zones of genius--helping students thrive, regardless of their background, to close achievement and opportunities gaps in our public schools.
There are many ways to support our mission of supporting school psychologists so that they can make sure that all kids, no matter their background or circumstances, have access to high quality mental health and learning support services they deserve.
I can't wait to chat with you about the ways you or your organization can be a champion for change in the public schools. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Branstetter, Ph.D.
School Psychologist, Licensed Educational Psychologist, and California Licensed Psychologist #22654
© 2019 Rebecca Branstetter