Field Experiences

In the School Psychology Program, students are provided with field experiences throughout the course of study. In the first semester, all students complete Foundations of Professional School Psychology (Psych 620) in which they are provided an opportunity to shadow a practicing school psychologist from the local area and engage in supportive relationships with high risk children in the local public school system through our Straight Talk Mentoring Program. These experiences and accompanying course work provide students with a beginning understanding of school psychological role and function as well as school operation and organizational issues. Additionally in the first semester, in accordance with the requirements of Assessment I - Achievement and Progress Monitoring, students cooperate with local school psychologists so that they may be provided with supervised opportunities to practice the use of both nomothetic and curriculum-based assessment procedures with children in the school setting. This school-based cooperative arrangement follows through into the second semester of the first year as students complete required assessments for Intelligence and Adaptive Behavior (Psych745) and Personality and Behavior (Psych 770).

Practicum

Upon admission into the Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) sequence, students are assigned a practicum site. Arrangements are made with the supervising school psychologist and the Pupil Services Director for the student to make a pre-practicum site visitation. During this visitation, students are introduced to administrators and other appropriate personnel, provided with a tour of the facilities, and given an opportunity for informal conversation with the supervising school psychologist. Opportunities for observation and/or participation in end of the year activities are offered where possible or desirable. The new practicum assignee will also spend time "shadowing" the current practicum student.

The Practicum in School Psychology (793) is a local school district placement with an accompanying two and one-half hour seminar and on-campus supervision. This practicum occurs only following the attainment of the masters degree and the recommendation of the Coordinator, in consultation with the School Psychology Committee of the general psychology faculty. This experience is run in strict accordance with the standards outlined in the Standards for Training and Field Placement Programs in School Psychology (NASP, 2000). The Practicum (793) is a 600-hour, two semester, supervised field experience in the public schools which has the following objectives:

  1. Provide students with supervised training opportunities that reflect a logical extension of their university course work in the areas of assessment, direct intervention, consultation, prevention, and professional school psychology within the context of a close, mentor relationship with field and university supervisors;
  2. Provide students with an immersion into the organization and structural components of public school functioning, including administrative and faculty organization, pupil service design, and associated legal and legislative issues;
  3. Provide students with an understanding of and experience with the team assessment process associated with the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement in Education Act (IDIEA), including problem solving consultation, case management assessment, IEP team decision-making, parent and teacher feedback, and individualized program development;
  4. Provide experience for students with a wide diversity of pupil needs and characteristics, including those children with low incidence handicapping conditions and those pupils and families of diverse cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds.

The Practicum (793) is held for each student in any one of several local, cooperating school districts. Students complete the "Practicum Application Form" in the spring semester prior to their practicum year. Students are assigned to one school district only. This placement decision is arrived at in consideration of student preference, faculty assessment of student needs, and field supervisor availability. UW-Whitewater is especially proud of the diversity of practicum placement opportunities available for students. Students may select from the urban experience of Milwaukee or Madison, the working class communities such as Janesville and Beloit, the "bedroom" communities such as Oconomowoc and Kettle Moraine, to the very rural, farming communities such as Milton, and many others in between. This variety of training sites allows program faculty to match the practicum with the expressed needs and experiences of the practicum student.

Supervision is both field and university based. Students work particularly close with both supervisors during the Practicum. Field supervisors model procedures and monitor student training experiences. University faculty make frequent visitations to school sites for observation and consultation. A "Practicum Planning Form" is completed jointly by the student and both field and university supervisors to insure a broadly-based experience. Students maintain Practicum Activity Logs which are monitored by university supervisors on a weekly basis. Structured evaluation using the "Practicum Evaluation Form" is conducted twice during both Practicum semesters.

Practicum students present their cases at seminar.

Practicum students present their cases at seminar.

The Practicum in School Psychology is supported by a regular two and one-half hour seminar for all practicum students which meets at the university (Milwaukee Public Schools students also participate in an additional seminar in Milwaukee). This seminar is designed to address specific needs of the students. In the first semester, essential foundational skills, such as report writing, special education procedures and program criteria, and school organization are discussed. The second semester is dedicated to furthering understanding of diverse learners and cultures in the school setting.

Internship

The internship experience occurs following the completion of all course work and practica requirements for DPI certification as an Initial Educator - School Psychologist. Students enroll in Internship in School Psychology (Psych 795), a full-time, 6-credit, 1200-hour, paid field experience. This experience is run in strict accordance with the standards outlined in the Standards for Training and Field Placement Programs in School Psychology (NASP, 2000).

Internship sites are obtained through an application process. Each site is pre-approved by program faculty. The "Internship Planning Form" insures a wide-ranging experience for each intern. Interns are required to maintain up to date logs of their activities and submit them to university supervisors on a monthly basis. A structured evaluation component is required. The interns themselves are supported on-campus by a monthly Internship Seminar in which case consultation occurs and current topics relative to the practice of school psychology are discussed. Further information may be found in the Internship Handbook.


A picture of interns