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Home » Educator Support » Education Staff Associate (ESA) » School Psychology

School Psychology

School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community.

All children and youth can face problems from time to time related to learning; social relationships; making difficult decisions; or managing emotions such as feeling depressed, anxious, worried, or isolated. School psychologists help students, families, educators, and members of the community understand and resolve both long-term, chronic problems and short-term issues that students may face. They are a highly skilled and ready resource in the effort to ensure that all children and youth thrive in school, at home, and in life.

WA State Association of School Psychologists

Washington state school psychologists can receive additional support from a committed group of practicing school psychologists who serve as board and committee members for the Washington State Association of School Psychologists. ​

School psychologists provide direct support and interventions to students, consult with teachers, families, and other school-employed mental health professionals (i.e., school counselors, school social workers) to improve support strategies, work with school administrators to improve school-wide practices and policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate needed services. They help schools successfully:

  • Improve academic achievement
  • Promote positive behavior and mental health
  • Support diverse learners
  • Create safe, positive school climates
  • Strengthen family-school partnerships
  • Improve school-wide assessment and accountability
  • Monitor individual student progress in academics and behavior

NASP Professional Standards

In May 2020, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) adopted the NASP 2020 Professional Standards, including the Model for Comprehensive and Integrated School Psychological Services, also known as the NASP Practice Model. Implementation of the NASP Practice Model creates the capacity to make the best, most cost-effective use of school psychologists' skills and expertise, which are an existing but sometimes underutilized resource in schools. The Practice Model allows flexibility for agencies and professionals to develop policies and procedures that meet local needs, while also providing sufficient specificity to ensure appropriate, comprehensive service provision.

Adapted from National Association of School Psychologists, 2020

Related Laws

  • RCW 28A.410.044: School psychologists and social workers – Domains and roles. Describes the purpose and role of school social workers, to provide an integral link between school, home, and community in helping students achieve academic and social success.
  • RCW 28A.320.280: School counselors, social workers, and psychologists – Priorities. Differentiates the roles of 3 ESA's: school counselors, school psychologists and school social workers. Also acknowledges these professionals are involved in multi-tiered systems of support for academic and behavioral skills.
  • RCW 28A.320.290: School counselors, social workers, and psychologists – Professional collaboration. Directs 6 hours minimum of collaboration among the three support professions of school counselors, social workers, and psychologists.

ESAs Working Together