The training I received at UW-Whitewater has prepared me for the challenges of working with diverse populations. It taught me how to be sensitive to factors such as culture, race, gender, socioeconomic status and personal beliefs. That has helped me tremendously working in an urban setting.
Danielle B., Ed.S., School Psychologist, Milwaukee, WI
I think that training in school psychology needs to be more than just about the books and journal articles. It needs to bring students into frequent and regular contact with both school children and working professionals so that the human side of training is able to take center stage.
Jim Larson, Ph.D., School Psychology Faculty Member
I am very pleased that I selected UW-Whitewater for School Psychology because the coursework and training are geared for you to become a competent practitioner in the field, so that when you start your first year in the profession, you are prepared to deliver a variety of services to meet the needs of students, staff, and parents with confidence.
Katy G., Student, Madison, WI
One of the best things about grad school at UW-Whitewater was small class sizes, wonderful professors who are experts in their respective fields, and excellent preparation for the real world of school psychology.
Allison E., Ed.S. School Psychologist, Beloit Turner
One of the greatest strengths of our program is the plethora of experiences in schools afforded our students. Faculty and students work closely to enhance student growth. Most students appear to leave this program changed personally as well.
Tracey Scherr, Ph.D., School Psychology Faculty Member
“An honor.” This is how UW-Whitewater School Psychology graduate, Dr. Niya Bealin, describes her role as a school psychologist in Milwaukee Public Schools for the past 11 years. Her journey to the field of school psychology started with an interest in helping people and a desire to channel her compassion for others into a purposeful career. With little knowledge about school psychology or what a school psychologist does, former UW-Whitewater faculty member, Dr. Randy Busse, sparked her interest with this idea. As a school psychologist, Dr. Busse taught her that she could be an advocate for students and families and ultimately change the educational trajectory for the students with whom she would work. She was sold!
Along with graduating with an undergraduate degree from UWW, Dr. Bealin also earned her Masters in Education and Education Specialist degrees from the UWW School Psychology program. Once time to complete her internship year, the choice to work as a school psychologist in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) seemed easy for Dr. Bealin. As a student of MPS from Kindergarten to her high school graduation, she wanted to return to serve the school community in which she grew up. As a young school psychologist, Dr. Bealin spent much of her time evaluating and placing students in special education. In doing so, she saw first-hand the many and varied layers to these students’ difficulties in school. She desired more knowledge, tools, and resources to working with these students, and thus began a few classes at the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology. A few courses turned into more courses, which lead Dr. Bealin to earn her Doctorate of Psychology.
Her continued education changed much of her approach to working with children and families. Particularly, she gained an in-depth understanding of the adverse childhood stressors and trauma that are unique to impoverished, urban settings. This shifts the focus from solely academic outcomes, and forces educators to focus on the well-being of the whole child, including meeting their needs for food and physical and emotional safety before expecting students to perform academically.
Where she saw a need to address these barriers, she envisioned a solution. In the next five to ten years, Dr. Bealin’s goal is to establish an urban boarding school that serves the children of Milwaukee. As Bealin described it, this school will work to dismantle barriers to academic achievement by decreasing students’ need to “code switch” between how they operate within their community in order to endure community stressors and the behavioral expectations at school. This school will focus on addressing the mental health needs of students and provide the intensive resources that traditional public school may not be able to provide for them. This type of setting, Dr. Bealin believes, will allow students to more fully access and benefit from academic instruction because their other, more basic needs are met.
Her vision is to provide other Milwaukee youth with the same critical supports that she received as a student and that she credits for her own academic and professional success. These critical supports are people—those who champion students, rally around them, and serve as mentors, guiding them as they reach their full potential. With gratitude, in addition to her parents, Billy and Alice, Dr. Bealin names Dr. Roger Pulliam, Dr. Richard McGregory, Dr. Randy Busse, and Dr. Jim Larson as essential in shaping her into the accomplished professional she is today. And when asked for a piece of advice for young professionals, she echoed this sentiment, urging new school psychologists to find mentors of their own.