Internships and Practica
Regardless of their professional goals, our students are consistently competitive in obtaining placements for training programs. Internship placements secured by our students over the past 10 years have included:
- Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District Psychological Services, Houston, TX
- Dallas Independent School District, Dallas, TX
- Lewisville Independent School District, Lewisville, TX
- Fort Worth Independent School District, Ft. Worth, TX
- Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center: Recovery Schools, New Orleans, LA
- Illinois School Psychology Consortium
There are distinct practica required for students in the program. The practicum sites are clearly committed to training and all have appropriately specialized and credentialed supervisors for school psychology. The practicum sites offer a wide range of training opportunities appropriate for school psychology practicum students and emphasize best practice as well as frequent opportunities for the application of empirically supported assessment, intervention and consultation practices. Program students obtain school-based experience through a variety of settings and experiences, based on their level in the program and they also obtain experience in a clinic setting just prior to internship. The students complete their practica in school settings that provide licensed school psychologists as supervisors. Practicum supervisors provide a minimum of one hour of face-to-face supervision a week and typically much more informal supervision.
- EDUC 5910: Educational Field Experiences
This class meets weekly for discussion and supervision from the university faculty member and there is a specified set of experiences in which the students must engage while in the field. This experience involves observation and participation in a general education classroom and serves to orient students to the public schools, expose them to learning and behavior in the schools, give exposure to general education and special education service delivery and afford the opportunity to work with various school personnel and parents. Students keep time and effort logs and they compile a variety of artifacts that may be included in a professional portfolio.
- SPSY 5210: Intro Practicum in School Psychometry
The SPSY 5210 practica are complimentary to the coursework in instructional assessment and consultation and behavioral assessment and consultation. The SPSY 5210 students are assigned to a senior student who is enrolled in the SPSY 5510 (specialist practicum in school psychology) who provides some cursory supervision. The university faculty are the primary supervisors of the EPSY 5210 students as they begin to work in the schools.
Students begin developing skill sets necessary for problem-solving consultation and intervention development (e.g., observation, interview, record review, rating scales and other direct assessment techniques like curriculum-based measurement, systematic data collection, etc.). The students initially shadow the more senior student (one who is enrolled in SPSY 5510) and observe the advanced student engage in psychological service delivery. SPSY 5210 students are given data collection assignments that require them to engage in various splinter skills as part of a case. Students are assigned data collection components of ongoing cases that the advanced EPSY 5510 student has ongoing and for which the 5510 student is the case manager.
SPSY 5210 practicum students are expected to use those various splinter skills as a case manager and they conduct a total consultation and intervention case. The case may be a behavioral referral or an academic concern referral. Over the course of the SPSY 5210 experience the students are expected to demonstrate consultation and intervention skills that effectively address school-based referral concerns. Specifically, beginning level skills such as:
- Problem identification and analysis
- Development and testing of hypotheses
- Development, implementation and evaluations of interventions
- Effective communication, collaboration and presentation of findings
- Case conceptualization
- Timely completion of work
- SPSY 5510: Practicum in School Psychology
SPSY 5510 is a significant school-based practicum. The student is expected to engage in broad range of psychological services under supervision from a field-based psychologist. Students early in the practicum shadow their supervisors, are observed by supervisors while performing basic skills which will be needed on the practicum and then are they are expected to perform more independently. As the practicum progresses the students engage in more complicated problem solving and psychological service delivery. This sequence of practicum is designed to expose students to various problems, populations and procedures used by school psychologists and to allow for supervised experience in the public school setting. These experiences are integrated into the students’ training and are arranged to become increasingly complex to match the students’ level of readiness. Students develop skills as case managers with School-Building Level Committees for pre-referral consultation and intervention. They are responsible for developing interventions for educational and behavioral difficulties. They serve as members of a multidisciplinary team and practice conducting multi-factored psychological and psycho-educational assessment for special education eligibility determinations. They conduct assessment for intervention and participate in Individual Education Plan development for children with various school difficulties. The students typically also have an individual psychotherapy case. Furthermore they are expected to develop and run a group for children which addresses an area of concern which the children all have in common. These often are social skills groups. The students attend professional development activities at the state school psychology conferences in the fall and spring sponsored by the Oklahoma School Psychological Association and take other opportunities that are available through the district in which they are placed.
The practicum settings are carefully selected by the training program to be appropriate for the goals and objectives of the training program, most importantly comprehensive service delivery to children, youth and families. The practicum placement agency provides appropriate support for the practicum experience including: (a) a written contractual agreement specifying the period of appointment, the terms of compensation if any and goals and responsibilities for all parties, (b) a schedule of appointment consistent with that of agency school psychologists (e.g., calendar, participation in in-service meetings, etc.), (c) provision for participation in continuing professional development activities, (d) expense reimbursement consistent with policies pertaining to agency school psychologists, (e) an appropriate work environment including adequate supplies, materials, secretarial services and office space, (f) release time and recognition for practicum supervisors and (g) a commitment to the practicum as an educational/training experience.
- SPSY 5310: Practicum in Child and Adolescent Therapy
The practicum in child and adolescent therapy offers doctoral students individual therapy experience with child and adolescent clients in the on-campus clinic setting or the school setting. This course usually is taken in Year 3. Students assess clients and formulate DSM-5 diagnoses; develop treatment plans; conduct weekly sessions; monitor treatment progress; manage client files; maintain case notes; present and discuss cases in supervision; and write comprehensive assessment, treatment and termination reports to document case progress. One hour each week of face-to-face case supervision is provided by a school psychology faculty member. Advanced students may re-enroll in Year 4 for supervisory experience.
Sufficient experience for internship
The school psychology practicum sequence provides substantial experiences in preparation for the internship. Students begin their experience with an observation and participation practicum in the schools. This experience familiarizes the student with the organization and operation of the schools prior to engaging in psychological service delivery under supervision in the schools. The observation and participation field experience also is also required by the State of Oklahoma's Department of Education to partially fulfill the requirements for school psychologist certification. The majority of the program students enter the program with bachelor’s degrees in psychology. The second practica experience is paired with consultation, intervention and assessment coursework (see description above). Graduates who intend to practice outside the traditional schools must have extensive knowledge of the school system and children and youth are educated even within other settings such as residential facilities. The overriding goal is development of professional identity and competence. The students obtain a lot of practicum experience, which helps to ensure that they are competitive for internships. Students are evaluated throughout their practicum experiences by the university and field supervisors. They also compile a portfolio to demonstrate skill in major school psychology practice areas. Students also maintain time and effort practicum logs, which are entered into an Excel spreadsheet and kept by the university faculty.