New Education Specialist (EdS) in School Psychology Program

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The graduate degree in the School of Education is more advanced than a master’s degree, and prepares leaders who work for the empowerment of youth, families, educators and school communities.

UW Tacoma’s School of Education (SOE) is accepting applications for its new Education Specialist (EdS) in School Psychology program. The first cohort of students in the program will start at UW Tacoma in the fall of 2021.

National Association of School Practitioners (NASP) practice modelUW Tacoma Professor Laura Feuerborn will serve as director of the EdS program. Feuerborn is a faculty fellow in social-emotional learning and is also a nationally certified school psychologist. “School psychologists generally work in public K-12 school settings, but they’re also found at clinics and private schools,” she said.

Feuerborn has worked as a school psychologist in different parts of the country. In some settings she helped craft education policy while in others she did risk assessments for students in crisis or evaluated students to see if they met special-education criteria. “A school psychologist’s role can vary tremendously across states, across districts, even across schools within the same district,” she said.

Here in our region in Washington, Feuerborn says the emphasis has been on assessments, but that is changing. “Professionals in the field have been very vocal about this more traditional and very narrow role,” she said. “The hope is that we move away from these more reactive practices to practices that are more prevention oriented, anti-racist and equitable.”

“There has long been a shortage of school psychologists in our state. As the first and only school psychology program in the South Sound, we are well positioned to offer an affordable and high-quality learning experience to prepare the next generation of culturally responsive practitioners who reflect the rich sociocultural contexts of our surrounding communities to both succeed and thrive in these high-demand roles. As more schools are reopening for in-person instruction after an unprecedented year with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is even a greater need for compassionate and equity-focused school psychologists who will support children and their loved ones as they transition back into school-based routines with deep and lingering traumas.”
Dr. K. Rachel Endo, Dean, UW Tacoma School of Education

Through this new program, Feuerborn aims to prepare school psychologists that can serve the increasing and changing needs of our school communities. “The impetus behind this program is we want to train school psychologists who are prepared for the new evolution of school psychology,” she said.

The School of Education’s EdS program is built around the “10 Domains” developed by the National Association of School Psychologists. Domain Eight focuses on diversity in development and learning. Racial disparity in school discipline is a national issue. Black and brown students are often suspended or expelled at higher rates than their white peers. “Traditionally, the field has adhered to a deficit, medical model,” said Feuerborn. “We’ve tended to center the problem on students. We try to fix kids or find out what’s wrong with them rather than pulling back and looking at the larger issues of bias or institutionalized racism.”

Students in the EdS program will be trained in six areas of study, including foundations; multi-tiered systems of prevention; research; assessment; academic, behavioral, and trauma-informed interventions; and field applications. “We’ll be looking at how to create sustainable and meaningful change,” said Feuerborn. The program includes two years of coursework, practicum, and a year-long, school-based internship. Students can choose to go either full-time or part-time. Most of the courses are held at night. “We wanted to create something flexible,” said Feuerborn. A bachelor’s degree is required but it does not have to be in psychology or education.

For more information about the new EdS program, contact Dr. Laura Feuerborn (feuerl@uw.edu).

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Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / March 9, 2021
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or johnbjr@uw.edu