School psychologists are employed in Georgia schools in order to prevent or deal with the most severe learning and behavior problems. They are highly trained in data gathering and analysis. They use these skills in data-based decision making and in evaluation of students and programs.
School psychologists consult on academic and behavioral interventions with teachers, parents and Student Support Teams (SST). They advise on every level of the Response to Intervention (RTI), from the most basic approaches up to the level of highly specialized program interventions.
School psychologists are the most highly trained personnel in education. Their current entry level is Specialist degree for a renewable professional certificate (an initial Masters level certificate is available but non-renewable). They often are called upon to provide training for school personnel of all types.
Job profiles of school psychologists can vary across school systems according to local needs and priorities. But for all systems, there are legal and court obligations that require the services of school psychologists. These include the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); the state of Georgia commitment to federal court in the Marshall vs. Georgia lawsuit; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. In general, school psychological services are increasingly being applied on the prevention side of problems rather than waiting until academic failure or serious maladaptive behaviors occur.