The Department of Educational and School Psychology at the University of Southern Maine has been awarded a 5-year, $1.6 million grant sponsored by the US Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. The funded project, Maine School Psychology: Collaborative Affiliations in Rural Education (Maine School Psychology CAREs), aims to increase the number of credentialed school psychologists in rural, high-need schools in Maine who reflect the diverse backgrounds of students within those communities and are uniquely qualified to provide effective mental and behavioral health services.
School psychologists are qualified to facilitate the design, implementation, and monitoring of comprehensive mental and behavioral health services within schools; however, the ratio of students-to-school psychologists in Maine far exceeds national recommendations, and the shortage is particularly acute in Maine’s rural, high-need schools. The Maine School Psychology CAREs project is based on the recognition that expanding the number of qualified school psychologists will require increasing the accessibility of professional training programs and investing in the preparation of professionals who are uniquely prepared and committed to serving Maine’s rural school communities.
The Maine School Psychology CAREs project will offer tuition reimbursement and stipends to support the preparation of 22 graduate students for state credentialing as school psychologists. In partnership with the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Association of School Psychologists, the Department of Educational and School Psychology at the University of Southern Maine will:
- Develop and implement a low residency, specialist-level school psychology training program designed for current educators in rural Maine communities;
- Enhance school psychology students’ training in comprehensive, culturally responsive school-based mental and behavioral health services;
- Coordinate opportunities for school psychology graduate students to complete field-based training and deliver comprehensive mental and behavioral health services in rural, high-need schools across the state; and
- Facilitate professional support systems and trainings to promote effective school psychology practice in rural schools.
These project activities are expected to increase the number of students in rural Maine schools who receive critical mental and behavioral health services, strengthen the preparedness of educators and caregivers to promote children’s mental wellness, and build state-wide capacity to reduce the student-to-school psychologist ratio to the recommended level.
Low Residency School Psychology Program
As part of the Maine School Psychology CAREs grant, the University is offering a low residency option for completing our MS in Educational Psychology-School Psychology Concentration program. This program will be offered to a one-time cohort of current educators in Maine Schools. Admitted students will complete their coursework online, engage in supervised fieldwork in their own school districts, and gather in-person on four Saturdays for intensive hands-on training in test administration skills. We are currently accepting applications for admission to the program in Fall 2024. To learn more about the program and application process, please visit this webpage.
Maine School Psychology CAREs Scholar Opportunities
All students admitted to our MS in Educational Psychology-School Psychology Concentration program (either campus-based or low-residency) will be eligible to apply to participate as grant project scholars. Project scholars will gain specialized training in the provision of ethical, culturally-responsive school-based mental and behavioral health services in rural communities. They also will receive full tuition support and modest living stipends to support their school psychology training. In exchange, project scholars will commit to completing practicum and internship in a rural, high-needs school district in Maine and commit to 3 years of school psychology service in a high-need Maine schools after degree completion. Information about the process for applying to participate as a grant project scholar will be provided to applicants during the admissions process.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Maine School Psychology CAREs project is encouraged to contact Jamie Pratt, PsyD, BCBA-D, Associate Professor of Educational and School Psychology at the University of Southern Maine at firstname.lastname@example.org.