The following email about the the remote-era student assessment process was sent on June 7, 2020, to all school psychologists by UFT Social Workers and Psychologists Chapter Leader Raul Garcia.
The system-wide closing of school buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic created a great many challenges for how each and every one of us did our work. But we as school psychologists have risen to these challenges. Hand in hand with classroom teachers, we worked to create enhanced “teacher reports” that educators can complete electronically. These reports will help us gather the necessary education information from our students’ teachers. These teacher reports, along with data from supplemental instructional programs such as AIS and RTI and information from support services including guidance, counseling and attendance, will now be the tools we use to complete our evaluative work.
We firmly believe, as did the focus group of clinicians we assembled to assist in this endeavor, that this new process will provide the IEP team with the information necessary to determine the appropriate services during this time of crisis. Furthermore, this process will enable us to forge stronger connections with both the teachers and the service providers who will ultimately support our students during this period of remote instruction and in the future when we return to brick-and-mortar buildings.
Face-to-face assessments, which have been a key component of the evaluative process for years, cannot be conducted at this time. And although that is a challenge, it was not insurmountable. This new concept is simply a shift that we will make in order to best help the families and children awaiting services. Additionally, as things continue to evolve, showing flexibility of this kind will help strengthen our chapter and enable it to grow.
As with anything new, we realize that there will be course corrections along the way and we will adjust accordingly. Your feedback and input as we make this switch is invaluable. As always, you will have the full support of our union.
We are hosting a virtual meeting for school psychologists who conduct evaluations on Monday, June 8, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., to answer your questions.
Your willingness to adapt during these difficult times is commendable and admirable. We will get through this extraordinary period together because this is what it means to belong to a union – we unite and support one another for the betterment of all.
Thank you for everything you do.