The Government of Manitoba established the Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education to carry out an independent review of the province’s K to 12 education system. Its goal will be improving outcomes for students, ensuring long-term sustainability and enhancing public confidence in our education system. The Commission invited individuals, organizations and the public to participate in the education review by submitting written statements and briefs. The Manitoba Association of School Psychologists made a written submission to the Commission on May 31, 2019. The MASP brief is also posted on the Commission’s web site (select Brief 40).
Submission to the Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education - May 2019
The Manitoba Association of School Psychologists (MASP) was founded in 1983 and currently represents the large majority of school psychologists in Manitoba. MASP’s mandate includes advocating for school-based psychological services, promoting and supporting school psychology, developing networks of communication among school psychologists, organizing conferences and workshops that aim to further develop and enhance professional skills and competencies, and promote information to educators and the public regarding school psychology and educational issues.
School psychologists provide a comprehensive range of psychological services to the school community that include psychological assessment, diagnosis, intervention, consultation and prevention.
School psychologists assess many areas of student functioning (including intellectual, educational, behavioural, social, emotional and neurodevelopmental) in order to understand the student’s strengths and needs, and to inform appropriate program planning. Specifically, psycho-educational evaluation informs appropriate evidenced-based interventions to address neurodevelopmental deficits adversely affecting the acquisition of skills relating to psycho-social functioning, literacy and numeracy, and the implementation of adapted and individualized programming for students unable to achieve regular curricular outcomes.
School psychologists consult and collaborate with educators, parents and other professionals to discuss and implement student-focused solutions.
School psychologists are regularly involved in the development and implementation of school-wide and division-wide programs which aim to reduce or prevent the prevalence of problems (e.g. crisis response, risk-threat assessment, bullying prevention).
In Manitoba, school psychology services are organized within a school division’s administrative structure (e.g. clinical or student support services). School staff and students continue to benefit from the close proximity and relationships with the school psychologist and the broad range of services provided.
Recommendation: School based psychological services are essential and integral to school communities and school divisions.
Therefore, the Manitoba Association of School Psychologists (MASP) recommends that school psychological services continue to be structured and administratively organized within an educational context.
References: Professional Practice Guidelines for School Psychologists in Canada, Canadian Psychological Association, 2007
Manitoba Association of School Psychologists web site, www.masp.mb.ca