Degrees and Certifications:

Laura Petrosky

This is my 20th year working at Tulpehocken Area School District as the School Psychologist. I am truly fortunate to work with such an amazing faculty and staff, as well as the students that I encounter every day. I feel that each child is special and unique, and has the right to learn in an environment where they feel cared for and safe.

Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Millersville, PA
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology – May 1991
Master of Science in Psychology – May 1998
Pennsylvania Certification in School Psychology – May 1998

Awards and Honors:
Graduated Summa Cum Laude
Member of Psi Chi - The International Honor Society in Psychology

Professional Experience/Employment:
Pennsylvania Certified School Psychologist – Tulpehocken Area School District - August 1998 to present.
School Psychology Intern – Ephrata Area School District, Ephrata, PA – August 1997 - May 1998
School Psychology Practicum Student – Cocalico School District, Denver, PA – August 1996 - June 1997.

National Association of School Psychologists – 1997 to present.
Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania – 1997 to present.
Berks School Psychologist Association – September 2008 to present. Vice President
2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016, and 2016/2017 school years.

Links for Education & Mental Health Resources

All children can learn given the necessary tools, guidance, and support, when their academic, social, and emotional/behavioral needs are addressed collaboratively by educators, parents, and other professionals. 

School Psychology Expectations:
- School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community for all students.
- School psychologists help students identify their strengths, build upon their strengths, and use their strengths to help facilitate their learning.

- School Psychologists: Putting the pieces together - finding each child's pattern for success (National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)). 
- School Psychologists help students become advocates and take an active role in their learning, as well as their learning needs.

What is a School Psychologist? 
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides a comprehensive definition of school psychologists’ roles in the schools. At this point, different schools and different school psychologists are at different points on the continuum, although the following is their definition of what we would optimally like psychologists to be:

School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community for all students.

What do School Psychologists do?
School Psychologists Work With Students to:
*Provide counseling, instruction, and mentoring for those struggling with social, emotional, and behavioral problems
*Increase achievement by assessing barriers to learning and determining the best instructional strategies to improve learning
*Promote wellness and resilience by reinforcing communication and social skills, problem solving, anger management, self-regulation, self-determination, and optimism
*Enhance understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures and backgrounds

School Psychologists Work With Students and Their Families to:
*Identify and address learning and behavior problems that interfere with school success
*Evaluate eligibility for special education services (within a multidisciplinary team)
*Support students' social, emotional, and behavioral health
*Teach parenting skills and enhance home–school collaboration
*Make referrals and help coordinate community support services

School Psychologists Work With Teachers to:
*Identify and resolve academic barriers to learning
*Design and implement student progress monitoring systems
*Design and implement academic and behavioral interventions
*Support effective individualized instruction
*Create positive classroom environments
*Motivate all students to engage in learning

School Psychologists Work With Administrators to:
*Collect and analyze data related to school improvement, student outcomes, and accountability requirements
*Implement school-wide prevention programs that help maintain positive school climates conducive to learning
*Promote school policies and practices that ensure the safety of all students by reducing   school violence, bullying, and harassment
*Respond to crises by providing leadership, direct services, and coordination with needed community services
*Design, implement, and garner support for comprehensive school mental health programming

School Psychologists Work With Community Providers to:
*Coordinate the delivery of services to students and their families in and outside of school
*Help students transition to and from school and community learning environments, such as residential treatment or juvenile justice programs
*How do School Psychologists make a difference in schools?

All children and adolescents face problems from time to time. They may:
*Feel afraid to go to school
*Have difficulty organizing their time efficiently
*Lack effective study skills
*Fall behind in their school work
*Lack self-discipline
*Worry about family matters such as divorce and death
*Feel depressed or anxious
*Experiment with drugs and alcohol
*Think about suicide
*Worry about their sexuality
*Face difficult situations, such as applying to college, getting a job, or quitting school
*Question their aptitudes and abilities

Idea Disabilities

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law for school-aged children and youth (aged 3 through 21) related to special education and related services. These services can be very important in helping children and youth with disabilities develop, learn, and succeed in school and other settings.

    IDEA lists 13 different disability categories under which 3 - through 21-year-old students may be eligible for services. The disability categories listed in IDEA are as follows:

    • Autism - A developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engaging in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences

    • Deaf-Blindness - Simultaneous hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness

    • Deafness - A hearing impairment so severe that a child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child's educational performance

    • Emotional Disturbance - A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:
    (a) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
    (b) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
    (c) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
    (d) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
    (e) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems

    • Hearing Impairment - An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but is not included under the definition of “deafness”

    • Intellectual Disability - Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently [at the same time] with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance

    • Multiple Disabilities - Simultaneous impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments; the term does not include deaf-blindness

    • Orthopedic Impairment - A severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures)

    • Other Health Impairment - Having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that—
    (a) is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and
    (b) adversely affects a child’s educational performance

    • Specific Learning Disability - A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations; the term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of mental retardation; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage

    • Speech or Language Impairment - A communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance

    • Traumatic Brain Injury - Means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child's educational performance; the term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech; the term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma

    • Visual Impairment (including blindness) - An impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance; the term includes both partial sight and blindness