Nov 11, 2020
How Grant Wood AEA School Psychologists are Overcoming Obstacles from COVID-19
The second week in November is National School Psychology Week. To celebrate, we reached out to school psychologists working at Grant Wood Area Education Agency in order to spread awareness about how their work has changed as a result of COVID-19.
Most agreed that COVID-19 has had the greatest impact on how they conduct evaluations. “Typically during an evaluation, school psychologists would use standardized tests of academic achievement that include very specific standardized test procedures (where to sit, how to present items, how quickly to present items, etc.)” School Psychologist, Teresa Moery explains. These tests don’t take into account factors we’re experiencing during COVID like extended school closures, masks, or social distancing, so to improve the accuracy of assessment results, Grant Wood AEA school psychologists have taken to using more interviews as a means of collecting as much information as possible. Additionally, Grant Wood AEA has available data resources and diagnostic measures that have allowed school psychologists, family members, and school staff to better assess their students during the pandemic.
In spite of these challenges, the school psych team has plenty of optimism about these challenging times. Many on the team say they feel more connected with their students, families, and co-workers than ever before. “Zoom has allowed me to actually stay more connected with colleagues I rarely see,” says Chad Caudill. “I’m reminded of a quote from Confucius, ‘The gem cannot be polished without friction.’, COVID has provided a type of friction, but it’s also inspired us to support one another.”
And our school psychologists are quick to comment on the resiliency of their students. “I’m pleasantly surprised at how well students are doing, and most are wearing masks well.” shared Janine Kane. “An important reminder I get daily since the onset of COVID-19: Never underestimate students.” Not only have students adapted, noted members from the team, some are thriving in these unique circumstances, possibly due to fewer students in the building and fewer days to attend schools has helped some students excel.
A final note from Janine brings this message together. “Expectations may be limiting or empowering, but we should ALWAYS presume competence. Students (and staff as well) will rise to the occasion.”