The Specialist in School Psychology students find positions across the country:
Ms. Nason completed her Education Specialist in School Psychology degree in 2014. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Human and Family Development at the University of Montana (UM). Ms. Nason is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) and she was drawn to school psychology because of her passion for working with children and strong desire to help children succeed educationally, as well as in life. Additionally, she values the collaborative and data-based decision-making practices that school psychologists use to provide all children with a supportive learning environment.
Ms. Nason currently works in two elementary schools in Great Falls, Montana. She coordinates special education evaluations and services for home school and private school students. She is a member of the district's Behavior Support Team, helping school teams with behavior data collection, problem-solving, and interventions, as well as the consideration of whether or not more intensive services are appropriate for individual students. Additionally, Ms. Nason and a colleague provide training and support to our district staff regarding reporting abuse and neglect. On a state-wide level, She is very involved with the Montana Association of School Psychologists (MASP), serving as the current treasurer. When she is not working, she spends time with her husband and son, fishing, hiking, reading, and enjoying a good cup of coffee.
Ms. Nason is currently a school psychologist at Great Falls Public Schools in Great Falls, Montana since 2013. We asked her what a day in the life of a school psychologist is:
A typical day is hard to describe for a School Psychologist, as we play so many roles. One of my schools has a high population of low income families and also houses our district's Therapeutic Learning Center, a program for our K-6 students with the most intense mental health needs. My other school is the elementary school that serves the children who live on Malmstrom Airforce Base. This school also has four self-contained classrooms for students with significant disabilities, including cognitive delays, autism, rare genetic conditions, and significant medical conditions. At both schools, I check in on a regular basis with the teachers who have students with a high level of services to see if they need any support. Throughout the day, I am collaborating with staff to develop and implement intervention plans, as well as collect and analyze progress monitoring data. I am stopping in classrooms, in the lunchroom, and out at recess to collect observation data and check in with individual students. Additionally, I am completing assessments, paperwork, and writing reports on a regular basis. As the coordinator for home school and private school students, I frequently consult and collaborate with parents, private schools, district personnel, and the County Superintendent. Some days I am calling or meeting with parents or outside providers to answer their questions and address concerns, especially with regard to interventions and possible eligibility for services. As a member of our district Behavior Support team, I also sometimes travel to other schools to observe students and provide school teams with intervention and data collection ideas. A few days a week I am team with the counselors in my buildings to provide small group interventions for social skills, emotional regulation strategies, and character education. Most days also involve at least one meeting, if not more. I don't think I have experienced the same day twice; however, each day is an adventure, fueled by coffee and positive outcomes for children.