School Psychologists

  • Who Are School Psychologists?

    School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students that strengthen connections between home and school.

    What School Psychologists Do

    School psychologists work to find the best solution for each student and situation; they use different strategies to address student needs and to improve school and district-wide support systems. School psychologists in ACPS provide the following services:


    • Collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to find effective solutions to learning and behavior problems.
    • Help others understand child development and how it affects learning and behavior.
    • Strengthen working relationships between teachers, parents, and service providers in the community.


    • Evaluate to determine student eligibility for special services.
    • Assess academic skills and aptitude for learning.
    • Determine social-emotional development and mental health status.
    • Evaluate learning environments.


    • Provide psychological counseling to help resolve interpersonal or family problems that interfere with school performance.
    • Work directly with children and their families to help resolve problems in adjustment and learning.
    • Provide training in social skills and anger management.
    • Help families and schools manage crises such as death, illness, or community trauma.


    • Design programs for children at risk of failing at school.
    • Promote tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of diversity within the school community.
    • Develop programs to make schools safer and more effective learning environments.
    • Collaborate with school staff and community agencies to provide services directed at improving psychological and physical health.
    • Develop partnerships with parents and teachers to promote healthy school environments.

    Research and Planning

    • Evaluate the effectiveness of academic and behavior management programs.
    • Identify and implement programs and strategies to improve schools.
    • Use evidence-based research to develop and/or recommend effective interventions.

    Growing Up Is Not Easy

    All children and adolescents face problems from time to time. They may:

    • Feel afraid to go to school
    • Have difficulty organizing their time efficiently
    • Lack effective study skills
    • Fall behind in their school work
    • Lack self-discipline
    • Worry about family matters such as divorce and death
    • Feel depressed or anxious
    • Experiment with drugs and alcohol
    • Think about suicide
    • Face difficult situations, such as applying to college, getting a job, or quitting school
    • Question their aptitudes and abilities

    School psychologists help children, parents, teachers, and members of the community understand and resolve these concerns. ACPS is fortunate in that many or our schools have a full-time school psychologist; smaller schools have a part-time school psychologist available two to three days a week.


    John Baker, Ph.D., NCSP
    Director, School Psychology
    Department of Student Services, Alternative Programs and Equity
    ACPS Central Office
    1340 Braddock Place
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    703-619 8159