Field Experiences, Practica, and Internship

Field experiences are an integral part of the school psychology program. The School Psychology Program maintains active communication with over 75 local practitioners who introduce students to their school systems and provide mentoring through spending a day with students, highlighting exemplary programs in their districts, and being available to answer questions or discussing professional issues. The blend of formal academic coursework and practical experience is seen as essential in the training process. Field experiences begin during the first semester, as the primary focus in EDP 695 is to provide students with exposure to a variety of school settings, educators, and instruction. Since students are working directly with children throughout their training, all students must arrange for and have annual fingerprinting and background checks completed through the Miami University or Oxford police departments.

Formally organized field experiences begin during the second year, second semester with practicum involvement in school psychology (EDP 660) and counseling (EDP 654), each requiring one full day of service in a school system with a supervising school psychologist or counselor. A minimum of 120 hours of field contact is expected for each of the two practica, and practica performance Key Assessments are required in these courses. Prior to that semester, there is ample opportunity to be involved in school-based activities through the courses in Role and Function (EDP 604), Assessment & Intervention (EDP 611 & 612), Advanced Seminar in Evidence-Based Interventions (EDP 556), Consultation (EDP 666), and public school experiences (EDP 695), as well as other courses. Such practical activity is vital, as understanding the structure and dynamics of a school system is integral in being effective school psychologists. In addition, those courses in which service learning can be provided form a foundation of ethical service and professional dispositions that help to identify your professional identity within the field. It is expected that our students maintain an active and flexible presence within the broader EDP and Miami University community by volunteering, providing service, and taking advantage of workshops and training seminars, especially when they are provided by the department. As graduate “residents” within the program, students should plan to be responsive and available to participate in such endeavors. We maintain a schedule whereby students are given Fridays as a day without classes so that they can plan and take advantage of field and training opportunities as they become available.

The third year is entirely devoted to the school psychology internship. Each internship site is approved by both Miami University School Psychology Training Program and the Ohio Department of Education. This internship (EDP 795 and EDP 796, 6 hours each semester) is a paid full-time position totaling a minimum of 1200 clock hours in the school district during the academic year. In addition to this employment, the intern attends monthly seminars on campus, and participates in Ohio Department of Education, Division of Special Education sponsored events as well as one Ohio School Psychologists Association professional development conference. Attendance and participation at the National Association of School Psychologists annual conference is also encouraged. This internship experience emphasizes breadth and quality of experience, so that candidates are able to integrate, apply, and attain a full range of comprehensive school psychology competencies. Internship activities result in direct, measurable, and positive impact on children, families, and schools. Upon acceptance of a paid internship funded by the Ohio Department of Education, the intern student is obligated to provide at least one year of service as a school psychologist in the schools of Ohio upon completion of that internship. The university internship coordinator works closely with each student in making internship placements. Interns are supervised by school psychologists who have been pre-approved through the state’s Interuniversity council (IUC) of school psychology trainers; supervision occurs at least two hours per full-time week (primarily in an individual, face-to-face manner). Internship placements are in the Southwest Ohio region except in unusual circumstances which are approved by the program. A written internship plan is developed that specifies the collaborative relationship between the internship site and university in providing supervision/support towards meeting internship goals.

For all field experiences and visitations, students and interns are under the supervision of a field facilitator and a university coordinator. All practicum and internship supervision experiences meet the requirements stated in the NASP Standards for Training and Field Placement Programs in School Psychology.