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MPS earns national recognition for its School Psychological Services

MPS school psychologists have received national recognitionThe high quality of School Psychological Services at Milwaukee Public Schools has earned national recognition. The National Association of School Psychologists awarded the program and staff members the status of proficient through its Excellence in School Psychological Services program. 

The Office of Psychological Services has more than 160 school psychologists, and three supervisors, Myah Herro, Melannie Litscher, and Christina Monfre, said Jean Gatz, Manager of School Psychology and Allied Health Services. MPS was one of only four districts across the country to receive the NASP designation and the only one in Wisconsin.  "We are extremely proud of our school psychologists," Gatz said.  

“It’s an opportunity for MPS to be recognized on a national level” for the psychological services it provides to students, added Herro.  

It’s the first time MPS has been awarded the national recognition, but Litscher noted that it’s a new recognition for “the work that our school psychologists have been doing for decades.”  

“MPS has been on the front end of innovation” in school psychology and serving students, she said. For instance, she cited the shift toward direct services and support for social and emotional health for students with disabilities in addition to academic support. 

The “proficient” status MPS achieved is awarded to districts that can show that their school psychologists provide a broad range of services.  

“School psychologists are providing a really robust span of services that focus not only on the individual student but classrooms, and school-wide, as well,” Herro said. Examples of their work include student assessment, assisting with positive behavior intervention and support, violence prevention, mentorship, crisis response, and promoting individual student wellness as well as promoting a positive climate for learning at schools. 

“Your district provides an excellent culture of collaboration and data-based decision making,” the NASP told Milwaukee Public School in its letter notifying the district of the recognition.  

It also cited the district’s “outstanding ratio and range of services offered to students, likely the result of many years of effective advocacy.” 

The recognition of proficient, the second highest the NASP offers, remains in effect for five years. "We will likely reapply before then, as we were very close to achieving the highest rating," that of exemplary, Monfre said. 

Litscher noted that the designation would appeal to prospective MPS employees. “It helps us attract and recruit high-quality applicants from across the country,” she said. 

Milwaukee Public Schools’ recognition is noted on the NASP website. 

Staffing of school psychologists is a strength at MPS. The district meets or exceeds the NASP recommendation of 1 school psychologist for every 500 students, and Litscher noted that MPS has a retention rate of more than 90% for its school psychologists. Herro indicated one reason is the quality of professional development offered to staff, keeping them on top of best practices and how best to serve students in meaningful ways.  

Litscher said, “The odds are, if you’re going to start in MPS, you’re going to stay in MPS.” 

  NASP recognized MPS School Psychological Services publicly for its achievement at the organization’s annual convention in mid-February.  

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