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Celebrating Our School Psychologists

A student talking with a school psychologist. School psychologists can play a vital role in supporting a child’s mental, emotional, behavioral, and social development. During School Psychology Awareness Week, Kent School District (KSD) is recognizing our psychologists and taking this opportunity to raise public awareness about the importance of having psychologists at each school.

There are 30 school psychologists in our district, which includes preschool through the Transition Outreach Program (TOP). High schools have a full-time and part-time school psychologist while TOP, preschool, elementary, and middle schools have one present 2-3 days per week.

School psychologists evaluate students for possible disabilities and special education eligibility.

School Psychologist Co-Lead Rani Bauer-Pugmire said, “every day usually involves some collaboration and consultation with staff, checking in with students and teachers, working with families, assessing and observing students, and developing recommendations that can help the student become more successful at school.”

KSD psychologists communicate with staff and families, problem-solve, and work with a diverse population. And one skillset school psychologists need to have is the ability to be trustworthy and connect with students.

“If we are not able to build rapport with students and make them feel comfortable and safe, we may not be able to get accurate data from our assessments with them,” said Bauer-Pugmire.

“Students need an adult that they trust and can talk to. That might be a family member, teacher, counselor, or school psychologist. We want to be a resource to any student that needs that listening ear,” said School Psychologist Co-Lead Laura Richards.

If students are hesitant, school psychologists make every effort to convince them that their door is always open.

“We try to make it as relaxed as possible. If we can get them in the door, we can usually help them realize that it isn’t as uncomfortable as they might think it would be,” said Richards.

Bauer-Pugmire added that students are becoming more cognizant of school psychologists being present and having the option of talking with them.

Thank you to our amazing school psychologists and Inclusive Education team.