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Philosophy and Training Model

Mission: Our primary mission is to prepare students as knowledgeable and competent school psychologists who apply scientifically-based psychological principles within a school system in order to enhance the educational success of all children.

The RIT School Psychology M.S./AC program embraces the scientific-practitioner framework for the preparation of students to become professional school psychologists.  The scientist-practitioner school psychologist is a professional who has developed an empirical understanding of human behavior in order to apply a wide breadth of knowledge in assessment, intervention, cultural diversity, research, curriculum and instruction, technology, and ecological influences on child and adolescent behavior.  The scientific basis results in a highly skilled practitioner who has a thorough understanding of educational and psychological research and practice and is capable of independent decision making, serves as an advocate for children and families, and uses strength-based solution-focused problem solving in order to help children succeed in their school environment.  All students are expected to demonstrate high standards of competence in their professional interactions with children, parents, and school personnel.  The School Psychology Program stresses that interventions with and evaluations of children and youth emerge from a comprehensive, flexible, ecological perspective that draws from fields of study, such as psychology, biology, education, and sociology.  From a multicultural perspective, the program stresses the understanding of, respect for, and responsiveness to the unique needs of children and their families.

The RIT school psychology program’s training model incorporates a reciprocal relationship between coursework and fieldwork whereby theories, techniques, and relevant literature presented in courses are supplemented by field experiences.  As students gain greater depth of knowledge of school psychology through the course curriculum, field experiences become increasingly comprehensive. 

During their first year of study, students learn a variety of methods of gathering reliable and valid data (e.g., observations, interviews, standardized assessment, report writing) and practice gathering data in their field experiences using these methods.  Concurrently, the first year students interact with a variety of school personnel in their field placements to experience the operations and organizations of school systems and the role and function of the school psychologist. 

During their second year of study, students learn how to use collected data to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions.  Second-year field experiences provide students with opportunities to apply and evaluate academic and behavioral interventions, consult with teachers and parents, counsel children and adolescents, and conduct psychoeducational evaluations, all under close supervision. 

During their third year of study (internship year), students continue to develop their professional skills, maintaining a scientific orientation while adhering to a high level of professional and ethical standards in order to function as an independent school psychologist.