The University of Massachusetts Boston School Psychology Program offers a balance of theory and practical experience. Pre-practicum, practicum, and internship fieldwork provide the opportunity to apply professional skills and knowledge in an education-based, fieldwork settings. The following field work is required: Pre-practica, two one semester Practica (each one day per week), and Internship (five days per week for an entire school year). During field placements, students are expected to actively participate in the activities of a school psychologist. Expected professional competencies are measured via the “Practicum Student Evaluation Form” and the “Intern Evaluation Form.” The following information pertains to all students in fieldwork:
Policies and Ethical Guidelines
All students in fieldwork are expected to become familiar with, and to be held accountable for, all existing rules, requirements, and regulations of the school system, department, or institution to which they are assigned. Students are required to comply with the ethical guidelines of the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Psychological Association.
Attendance is required for all days of assignment and placement. Students must notify the appropriate supervisor on any given day when illnesses or other emergencies interfere with attendance at their assigned placement. Students are expected to attend all orientation sessions, staff meetings, evaluation sessions, day or evening schedules or meetings required by the school system or institution (with the exception of events scheduled during the seminar). Students should also introduce themselves to school personnel and obtain information about the system’s organization and operation.
All practicum and internship students are required to acquire professional liability insurance prior to their field placement and to keep it current. Insurance is available through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) or the American Psychological Association (APA). Failure to obtain such insurance will result in a student not being permitted to enroll or participate in the placement. Practicum and seminar instructors must have a copy of the insurance.
CORI and TB tests
When required by the school district, pre-practicum students, practicum students, and interns must attain a Criminal Offender Record Inquiry (CORI) and/or a TB test.
Logs are required in order to satisfy pre-practicum, practicum, and internship requirements. Logs list daily activities including conferences with the field supervisor as well as all forms of service delivery including meetings, counseling sessions, team evaluations, consultations with parents, teachers, children, and adolescents, and assessments of children and adolescents. The relevant NASP practice domain is indicated and the hours totaled at the bottom of each page. The practicum and internship logs should be reviewed with the University Supervisor during each visit. During the internship a maximum of 100 hours per semester (200 hours total) devoted to internship-related work outside of school hours can be accrued. At the end of each term (600 hours) completed logs intern and supervision logs should be submitted to the Program Director for inclusion in the student file. Logs are kept using the “Pre-Practicum Log” and “Practicum and Internship Log”. Download the Log here.
Tuition Credit Vouchers
For each student assigned to field placement, UMass Boston provides field supervisors with a tuition voucher good for three graduate credits of study at our institution. In the event that the field supervisor does not wish to use the voucher, it can be transferred to another individual. However, the voucher may not be transferred for use by the practicum student or intern. These vouchers can also be used to verify supervision for PDP credits toward NCSP recertification or Department of Education re-licensure. Students and university supervisors are responsible for completing the “Field Supervisor Tuition Voucher Request Form” for each field supervisor and submitting it at the beginning of each semester of Practicum and Internship.
The University of Massachusetts Boston School Psychology Program incorporates 90 pre-practicum hours into various introductory courses. Some of these must be completed during the day in school settings. In all cases, hours are arranged by the student with the assistance of the course instructor and program director. Students are responsible for completing activity logs and obtaining verifying signatures to document the clock hours. The logs are submitted to the course instructor and kept in the student's permanent file. The following courses require pre-practica hours:
SPY 601: Issues and Ethics in School Psychology requires 25 hours of pre-practicum during the school day that include observing a school psychologist (the “pre-practicum mentor”) performing a variety of activities involving assessment, direct intervention, and consultation; observing meetings with parents such as pre-referral or core meetings; and conducting interviews with various school personnel.
SPY 602: Cognitive and Academic Assessment and Intervention I requires 15 hours of pre-practicum applied to the administration of cognitive assessment instruments to volunteers.
SPY 603: Cognitive and Academic Assessment and Intervention II requires 15 hours of pre-practicum applied to the administration of cognitive and academic assessment instruments to volunteers.
SPY 604: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Assessment and Intervention requires 6 hours of pre-practicum applied to the administration of social/emotional batteries with volunteers.
SPY 607: Remedial and Preventative Individual and Systems Interventions requires 4 hours of pre-practicum applied to the interpretation of a functional behavior assessment.
SPY 612: Learning Theories Applied to Curriculum requires 5 hours of pre-practicum during the school day that includes observing general and special education classes and interviewing educational personnel.
COU 632: Collaborative Consultation in Schools requires 5 hours of pre-practicum that includes interviewing a school-based consultant, role-playing consultation strategies, and observing others consulting.
EDU 646 Understanding Reading: Principles and Practices requires 15 hours of pre-practicum during the school day that includes observing reading curriculum and instruction, working with children to link assessment and instruction, and developing a theory of teaching reading and literacy grounded in research-based understandings.
School psychology students are required to complete two 100 hour practica in schools during the school day. Practicum activities are focused at the beginner level. Practicum supervision is closely provided by a university supervisor (Practicum Instructor) and by licensed personnel at the school sites. Students are provided with weekly conferences in which they obtain constructive feedback about their performance and progress. In addition, Practicum Instructors conduct weekly seminar and are responsible for assigning the grade. The fieldwork policies regarding ethical practice, attendance, CORI checks, liability insurance, and logs described previously apply to all practicum students. Students apply for acceptance into the Practica by completing the “Practicum Application” Form.
During this practicum, students participate in:
- Collaborative consultation with school personnel and parents,
- Assessment of academic skills using CBM
- Participation in a prevention program
- Participation in an academic or social/emotional intervention program
- Completion of one case study involving monitoring student progress
- Attending a policy-setting meeting (i.e. school board).
For this practicum, UMass Boston has partnerships with local school districts (currently Quincy and Randolph). Students who are employed in a school in another capacity (such as a guidance counselor) may petition the Program Director to use employment activities to fulfill Practicum requirements by attaching a descriptive letter to the “Practicum Application” Form. This letter must detail the activities to be performed and be signed by relevant administrators and supervisors. For example, a person employed as a guidance counselor may use individual and group counseling sessions conducted in the course of the job to fulfill the intervention Practicum requirement, and complete other requirements outside of their employment. Students must have satisfactorily completed prerequisites (SPY 601, SPY 602, COU 614) and are advised to take the following courses prior to or concurrently with the Practicum: SPY 603, 604, 607; SPE 629; EDC 646/SPE 602; COU 608, 617, 620, 650, 653; COU 635/SPE 607. A cumulative graduate program GPA of 3.0 is required. During the registration period prior to enrollment for SPY 685, each student must contact the Program Director to request enrollment. This course is not available through on-line registration. Students should be aware that field placement sites may require Criminal Offender Record Inquiry (CORI) checks and/or TB tests. Student skills during this Practicum are assessed via “Meeting Observation” and “Observation Rubric” Forms, as well as the “Practicum Student Evaluation” Form.
During this practicum, students participate in activities focusing on the assessment, diagnosis, and intervention recommendation for children and adolescents. For this practicum, UMass Boston has partnerships with local school districts (currently Boston). Students who are employed in a school in another capacity (such as a special education teacher) may petition the Program Director to use employment activities to fulfill some Practicum requirements by attaching a descriptive letter to the “Practicum Application” Form. This letter must detail the activities to be performed and be signed by relevant administrators and supervisors. For example, a person employed as a special education teacher may use academic assessments conducted in the course of the job to fulfill the academic assessment Practicum requirement, and complete other requirements outside of their employment. Each student is matched with a practicing school psychologist one day per week in order to apply the skills, particularly assessment and intervention skills. In addition, the class seminar meets on campus weekly. 100 clock hours of field experience are required in addition to the weekly seminar. Prerequisites include SPY 601, SPY 602, COU 614 and the following courses should be taken previously or concurrently: SPY 603, SPY 604. During the registration period prior to enrollment for SPY 685, each student must contact the Program Director to request enrollment. This course is not available through on-line registration. Students should be aware that field placement sites may require Criminal Offender Record Inquiry (CORI) checks and/or TB tests. Student skills during Practicum II are assessed via “Testing Observation” and “Observation Rubric” Forms, as well as the “Practicum Student Evaluation” Form.
The internship experience is extremely influential in determining whether an individual becomes an effective school psychologist. The UMass Boston School Psychology internship is designed to provide experiences that enable interns to develop competencies such that they can function successfully as a practicing school psychologist in any school district.
Two consecutive semesters of B or better in SPY 688 Internship are required to complete the program. Students cannot enroll in internship more than three times.
It is strongly recommended that the internship be started in the fall and completed in the spring semester. While it is possible to start the internship in January and end in December, starting in September provides a more natural and meaningful learning experience. It also provides improved employment opportunities upon completion. Similarly, while it is possible to complete the internship on a half time basis over two years, completing it on a full time basis in one year provides the best learning opportunities.
Students must have satisfactorily completed all coursework prior to asking to be registered for SPY 688 Internship. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by faculty. Further, a cumulative graduate program GPA of 3.0 is required as is a passing score on the MTEL. During the registration period prior to enrollment for both the first and second semesters of internship, each student must contact the Program Director to request enrollment in the appropriate courses (SPY 688 and SPY 691). These courses are not available through on-line registration.
Every student's internship must encompass experiences at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels, at least 10% at each level. The remaining 70% is determined through an agreement among the site, intern, and university. So that they have sufficient opportunities to gain experience across the domains of practice, interns should not be expected to complete more than 20 to 30 psychoeducational evaluations over the internship year.
It is expected that the Internship site will provide some time to complete paperwork during the school day, although it is also recognized that often school psychologists complete some paperwork at home and the same is true for interns. Thus, interns typically devote many more than the required 1200 hours to the internship.
Throughout the internship the student must have the opportunity to observe and work with typically developing children and adolescents as well as those with disabilities. It is also recommended that the student have opportunities to work with diverse populations including children and adolescents who are at risk, bilingual or English Language Learners, or eligible for services under either Section 504 or IDEIA.
At least the first 600 hours of the internship must be in a school setting. Schools are defined as long-term placements that assign grades and lead eventually to graduation; public, private, or parochial schools that serve normally developing children and adolescents as well as those with disabilities. Neither a substantially separate school serving students with severe disabilities, nor a hospital-based assessment center, are schools according to this definition.
Most students complete the second 600 hours in a school setting as well. In unique circumstances it is possible for those hours to be in non-school settings such as hospitals, clinics, and community mental health centers. However, these settings do not lend themselves to completing required assignments such as ecological psychoeducational assessments and case studies with on-going progress monitoring. Therefore, they are not encouraged and are extremely rare.
Most students complete their internships in Massachusetts. Upon occasion, students can request permission from the Program Director to complete the internship out of state. Permission is contingent upon program faculty feeling comfortable with the student’s level of expertise and professional behaviors, as demonstrated by coursework and practicum experiences. If permission is granted, two additional steps must be taken. First, the student will need to submit the “Out-of- State Knowledge of Mass Curriculum Frameworks-Student” letter. Second, if the site is not easily accessible to UMass Boston program faculty, the student bears the responsibility of locating an appropriate university supervisor willing to make four on-site visits over the course of the internship. (This university supervisor is hired as an adjunct professor by UMass Boston.) The program director can assist with this responsibility.
Program Director: Terry Bontrager, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org