School Psychologists

Who Are School Psychologists?

We are here to help your child achieve their best.
School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. We have specialized training in both education and mental health and know how to identify and lower barriers to learning. These barriers can include developmental or learning disabilities, behavior difficulties, teaching styles, school or classroom climate, problems at home or with friends, substance or alcohol abuse, violence, and mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.

Our goal is to collaborate with parents, school staff, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments so that all students can learn.

What School Psychologists Do?

School psychologists consult with families, teachers, and other school-employed mental health professionsl (like school social workers, school counselors, student resource officers) to enhance support tactics. They work with school administrators to enrich practices and policies that impact school-wide practices. School psychologists also collaborate with community providers to integrate needed services. They use many different approaches, but generally provide these core services:


Support Diverse Learners
  • Assess diverse learning needs
  • Assist with appropriate Individualized Education Programs for students with disabilities
  • Recommend modifications and adaptations for curricula and instruction
  • Monitor and effectively communicate with parents about student progress
Strengthen Family-School Partnerships
  • Help families understand their children's learning and mental health needs
  • Assist in navigating special education processes
  • Connect families with community service providers when necessary
  • Help effectively engage families with teachers and other school staff
  • Enhance staff understanding of and responsiveness to diverse cultures and backgrounds
  • Help students transition between school and community learning environments
Improve Academic Achievement
  • Promote student motivation and engagement
  • Conduct psychological and academic assessments
  • Individualize instruction and interventions
  • Monitor student progress
  • Collect and interpret student and classroom data
  • Reduce inappropriate referrals to special education
Create Safe, Positive School Climate
  • Support social-emotional learning
  • Implement and promote positive discipline and restorative justice
  • Implement school-wide positive behavioral supports
  • Identify at-risk students and school vulnerabilities
  • Provide crisis prevention and intervention services
Improve School-Wide Assessment and Accountability
  • Generate and interpret useful student and school outcome data
  • Plan services at the district,building, classroom, and individuals levels
  • Monitor individual student progress in academics and behavior
Promote Positive Behavior and Mental Health
  • Improve students communication and social skills
  • Assess student emotional and behavioral needs
  • Provide individual and group counseling
  • Promote problem solving, anger management, and conflict resolution
  • Reinforce positive coping skills and resilience
  • Promote positive peer relationships and social problem sovling
  • Make referrals to and coordinate services with community-based providers 
Where School Psychologists Work in Our District?
  • School psychologists in our district provide services to individuals from 3 years of age to 21 years of age, while enrolled in school.
  • They work very closely with teachers, school counselors, and other staff to coordinate services. This can be in the context of an IEP team, crisis response team, or general education support team.
School Psychologists Training and Credentialing
  • School psychologists must complete a minimum of a Specialist-level degree program (60 graduate semester credits) that includes a 1200-hour internship. Some school psychologists have a doctoral degree. School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work. They also may be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB), which is administered by the National Association of School Psychologists.
Mary Ognibene, School Psychologist
for Fairhaven, Rich Center, Primary, and Intermediate
120 E. Margaret Street
Niles, OH 44446
330.989.5093, ext. 3110
mary.ognibene@nilesmckinley.org

Dori MacMillan, School Psychologist
for Pre-School, Middle School, and High School
616 Dragon Drive
Niles, Ohio 44446
330.652.9968, ext. 0093
dori.macmillan@nilesmckinley.org

Adapted from: “Who Are School Psychologists?,” NASP brochure, 2014. The full handout is available online at www.nasponline.org  
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