A Towson University alumna has been named a Maryland Exemplary Early Career School Psychologist by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
Kristen Schroeder earned her master’s degree in psychology from Towson in 2009. She received a certificate of advanced study in school psychology in 2010. Today, she works in three of Montgomery County’s Public Schools. The schools have programs like a self-contained school-based learning center, a magnet school for creative and performing arts, and a multidisciplinary educational training and supports program. Schroeder says about half the students in the schools receive free or reduced meal plans, and the populations are ethnically and linguistically diverse.
“In graduate school I learned the importance of understanding the culture and climate of the school before entering,” Schroeder told the NASP in a recent interview. “Working with this population of students has helped me grow significantly as a school psychologist [because] it requires me to devise creative solutions to complex social issues.”
Among her many duties, Schroeder works with the special education programs at the schools and functions as a counselor for students with social or emotional difficulties. She also serves as a positive behaviors interventionist, which allows her to collect and analyze data on discipline and then apply it to create the most effective procedures for student behavior standards. The work can reach into elements like nutrition’s effects on behavior.
But the students aren’t her only focus. Schroeder trains teachers on things like learning disabilities, reactive attachment disorder and classroom management strategies. She even offers free yoga and Pilates sessions for teachers after school.
“I feel my training has prepared me well to critically analyze a situation, determine the area of concern, and use data to help determine which intervention/strategy will prove most effective,” Schroeder said. “I also think I have developed sound interpersonal skills that allow me to collaborate effectively with teachers, parents, administrators and key stakeholders so [they] all feel they are an integral part of the problem-solving process.”
Schroeder is often consulted by experienced teachers, and she works with other school psychologists to find the best approaches to common challenges.
“I sometimes feel like asking, ‘Don’t you know I am just a kid?’” Schroeder joked. “It really is nice to be respected as a professional and to have co-workers who value your opinion.”
National Association of School Psychologists