MISSOULA – The Specialist in School Psychology program at the University of Montana obtained full approval from the National Association of School Psychologists through 2024 and also earned national recognition from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The program has had continuous accreditation from NASP since 1994.
Anisa Goforth, director for UM’s school psychology graduate training programs, said UM’s specialist program is the only one in the state that prepares school psychologists.
“We are very proud to have obtained re-approval from NASP,” Goforth said. “There is a significant shortage of school psychologists in Montana, and we have been continuously working to ensure that we prepare school psychologists who are trained in scientifically supported practices in assessment, treatment and consultation for children and families. We are especially proud that for the past several years all of our alumni have obtained school psychologist positions immediately upon graduation, and over 60 percent stay in Montana.”
Approval by NASP’s Program Accreditation Board is based upon meeting rigorous requirements of the Standards of Graduate Preparation of School Psychologists and preparing competent professionals who serve the mental health and educational interests of all children and youth. It also is part of the larger accreditation body, CAEP, which evaluates educator preparation programs.
School psychologists are experts in mental health, learning and behavior for children. They work closely with families, teachers and other school professionals to create safe, healthy and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school and the community.
Miki Anderson, a third-year graduate student who will begin her final internship year with the Butte School District, said approval of UM’s program is crucial to her future employment.
“Having the SSP program re-accredited means that I can have that much more confidence that I am being trained in school psychology methods and practice domains that the National Association of School Psychologists deems best practice,” Anderson said. “It also means that this program and its faculty are dedicated to providing us with the best skills and knowledge that the field has to offer. The fact that the UM School Psychology program went through this re-accreditation process shows its dedication to students, and is something I looked for in the program before accepting the offer to attend.”
The School Psychology Program, housed in UM’s Department of Psychology, has three full-time faculty: Greg Machek, Jacqueline Brown and Goforth. The department also includes the Experimental Psychology Program, as well as the Clinical Psychology Program, which has been fully accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1965.
To learn more about UM’s School Psychology Program, visit http://hs.umt.edu/psychology/school-psychology/. To learn more about the NASP approval process, visit http://www.nasponline.org/standards-and-certification/graduate-program-approval.