Meet School Psychologist & Teletherapist, Latisha O
In Honor of National School Psychologist Week
With school in full swing, it’s fitting that we take time to appreciate the people who support our students and staff each day through the educational, behavioral, and mental health services they provide. So, to help celebrate this National School Psychology week, we wanted to share the story of one of our own school psychologists, Latisha O., someone who exemplifies the hard work and dedication of her profession.
Latisha answered questions about her school psychology career, special moments with patients, and her experience as a school psychology teletherapist. Here’s what she had to say:
What initially drew you to pursue school psychology as a career?
I have always wanted to pursue a career in education as a teacher or a school principal. I completed my undergraduate degree at a junior college in Elementary and Secondary Education. However, my path as an educator was delayed for several years.
When it was time for me to pursue my graduate studies in education it was naturally directed to school psychology because school psychologists are both educators and school leaders. I was drawn to the role and function of school psychologists and how we are trained to support campus wide efforts that benefits the well-being and education of all students.
What do you feel are your biggest strengths as a school psychologist? What skills can you work on?
I believe that my biggest strengths started before becoming a school psychologist. I genuinely enjoy connecting with people. In addition, I had worked in customer service for over ten years. During my career as a customer service representative, I learned valuable skills that I have found to be transferrable in my profession as a school psychologist such as active listening, problem solving, effectively communicating, and meeting timelines.
I would love to complete a few credentials that I have started that I have not yet completed (BCBA and School Based Registered Play Therapist Credentials). I believe that adding these skills will enhance the services that I will be able to provide to students.
As a current teletherapist, what are some of the differences in your practice versus on-site?
As a nationally certified school psychologist who is certified in over 30% of the United States (17 States Current and Active), I have had an opportunity to work with various school districts and many students all over the United States. I believe that the biggest difference is proximity to students.
However, my goal is to build rapport with the school district by employing exemplary school psychology services. The biggest difference is proximity to my colleagues and students. However, I try to make up for that by following up on emails within in a timely manner, offering check-ins, and being available to the team via telephone and or videoconference as needed.
What methods have you used to facilitate engagement with students in the teletherapy setting?
The methods that I have used to facilitate engagement with students have varied. In some instances, I purposely start with minimal information about a student to avoid any skewed perception of the student. On the other hand, I have asked questions about students prior to working with them so that I can have some background knowledge.
Nonetheless, what I have found is that every student wants to be heard and acknowledged. I make sure that when I am working with students, I say their names throughout the conversation, and I allow them the opportunity to discuss any concerns that they feel are impacting them at school and in their personal lives.
What is one moment or situation with a student that has particularly resonated with you as a school psych?
School psychology is a second career for me. So, when I became a school psychologist, I started rather late in life. Because of this, I had valuable life experiences that allowed me to work with students from different home situations. My first year as a school psychologist, there was a student who was on the cusp of completing eighth grade or dropping out of junior high school.
The administrators had tried all that they could. The student had serious behavior concerns. I asked permission from the family and school to work with the student for the remainder of the year. The student had shown significant progress (not perfect), but significant enough that he completed his eighth-grade year and went on to high school. At the end of the school year the student shared that he had planned to drop out of school, but the experience that he had with me encouraged him to continue.
About Latisha O.
Latisha is a family woman and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist who is actively certified in over thirty percent of the United States- seventeen states.
She completed a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology and a Professional Diploma in School Psychology at New Jersey City University. Latisha has been a school psychologist for six years. She enjoys spending time with her family and cooking. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and adorable nine-month-old daughter.
Do you want to follow in Latisha’s footsteps as a school psychologist? Learn more about the amazing opportunities Med Travelers offers at school districts nationwide.