PARKVILLE, —In honor of National School Psychology Week, Nov. 9 — 13, 2020, Baltimore County Public Schools presented a profile each day of one member of its amazing cadre of school psychologists.

Melissa Bologno, a school psychologist at Parkville High School, and Dr. Aaron Wheeler, a school psychologist at White Oak School, were two of the many school psychologists BCPS is celebrating this week.

Melissa Bologno

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST?

My journey as a school psychologist started when I was an undergraduate special education and elementary education major. After having time in the classroom, I quickly realized that was not where my skill set was. It was from that experience that I learned about school psychologists and fell in love with their role. I am currently in year three of my professional career and absolutely loving it!

WHICH SCHOOL DO YOU SERVE?

Parkville High School

WHAT IS MOST OF YOUR TIME SPENT DOING?

Most of my time is spent evaluating and reevaluating children, and documenting disabilities. Even if it is not a child’s initial evaluation, I take time to gather data from all sources, administer the appropriate tests, and compile all that data into a report that is reader-friendly.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES?

Some other responsibilities I have include counseling, trauma response, and psychoeducation. This is not an exhaustive list, but it includes the highlights of what a typical day as a school psychologist in my position involves.

HOW DOES YOUR WORK SUPPORT STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC /PERSONAL SUCCESS?

Overall, my work supports students’ academic and personal success due to my ability to connect with students, even virtually! I am able to create rapport with students that allows me to understand their thoughts, feelings, and emotions towards not just academics but everything that goes on in their daily life.

WHAT DO YOU WISH THE PUBLIC KNEW ABOUT SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS?

As a school psychologist, one thing that I wish that both those in education and those out of education knew about school psychologists is that we have so much knowledge outside of counseling and completing psychological assessments. School psychologists are passionate beings. If given the opportunity, we could move (more) mountains.

School psychologists are passionate beings. If given the opportunity, we could move (more) mountains.

WHAT IS MOST SATISFYING ABOUT YOUR WORK?

There are so many rewarding aspects of my job, but I have to say being able to work through situations with both parents and children to foster success is one of my favorite parts.

The home-school connection is so important for a child’s success, so when I am able to work together with parents and children as a team to boost their academic, social emotional and overall well-being, I am one happy school psychologist! It is also so rewarding seeing students succeed and watching how proud they are.

WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE? WHAT DEGREES HAVE YOU EARNED?

I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at West Chester University and a master’s degree in education and an educational specialist degree from Temple University

Aaron Wheeler

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I chose to be a school psychologist because I felt it provided a great opportunity to make a positive impact on a large number of students. During my training, I worked at an inpatient psychiatric facility, private practices, an outpatient clinic, and a school.

I found that through direct services (e.g., assessment and counseling), consultation, and schoolwide initiatives, I was able to reach many more students than any of those other settings.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST?

This is my 12th year as a school psychologist with BCPS.

WHICH SCHOOLS DO YOU SERVE?

I currently serve the White Oak School and Bedford Elementary School.

WHAT IS MOST OF YOUR TIME SPENT DOING?

Most of my time is currently spent in consultation with students, educators, parents, and other psychologists. I regularly work with school-based teams (e.g., Student Support and Individualized Education Program teams) to help provide better outcomes for students.

I spend a lot of time working with general and special education teachers, reading specialists, school social workers, school counselors, speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists, instructional assistants, paraeducators, and other educators to support planning, designing and implementing interventions, and problem-solving difficult situations for students.

I also regularly support members of the Office of Psychological Services, consulting on assessment cases and challenging professional dilemmas.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES?

Some of my other activities include serving as dyslexia resource psychologist, Student Planning System resource, member of the Office of Psychological Services Leadership Core, and co-chair of the Assessment Committee.

I work on the Department of Special Education /Office of Psychological Services FBA-BIP 2.0 Workgroup and the Social-Emotional Behavioral Screening Tool/Resiliency Protective Factor Checklist Pilot Program. I am also a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports coach and supervise a school psychology practicum student from Towson University.

HOW DOES YOUR WORK SUPPORT STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC /PERSONAL SUCCESS?

My work supports students’ academic and personal success through both direct and indirect means. My direct supports include counseling, psychological assessments, as well as the aforementioned consultation services. I maintain a counseling caseload of students that I see regularly.

I also conduct comprehensive psychological assessments and functional behavior assessments to provide students, families, and educators with information about their students’ strengths and needs, including potential disability identification, intervention design/planning, and recommendations to support programming.

Indirectly, I am involved in several school and countywide initiatives including work with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports that help students develop their academic and social/emotional skills.

WHAT MIGHT THE PUBLIC BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS?

I think that the public would be surprised to learn all of the different areas where we can support students and schools. On any given school day, I may console a student who had a difficult bus ride, consult with a teacher who has concerns about how to address a student’s executive functioning skills for math instruction, conduct a threat assessment for a student who is in crisis, and talk with a parent about getting resources for community supports. Every day is a little different!

On any given school day, I may console a student who had a difficult bus ride, consult with a teacher who has concerns about how to address a student’s executive functioning skills for math instruction, conduct a threat assessment for a student who is in crisis, and talk with a parent about getting resources for community supports.

WHAT IS MOST SATISFYING ABOUT YOUR WORK?

The most satisfying thing about my work is seeing the growth that students make over time. Seeing a student be able to read a book that they never would have attempted or make a positive choice in a situation where they would have gotten into trouble before. That look of pride on my students’ faces is very gratifying!

ARE YOU A BCPS GRADUATE?

I am a BCPS graduate! I went to Patapsco High School and the Center for the Arts.

WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE? WHAT DEGREES HAVE YOU EARNED?

I earned my Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in psychology and criminal justice from Towson University as well as Master of Arts and Doctor of Psychology degrees from Widener University.

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