Austin Beer is a veteran (11 years) school psychologist currently working for Grant Wood AEA, although he also worked for Great Prairie AEA once upon a time. Austin’s current role with Grant Wood AEA is as a Child Find Lead and Mentoring and Induction Lead. This means that Austin spends his time supporting agency and LEA staff in their use of Child Find data to understand current evaluation practices, the quality of services, and to identify learning and professional practices that need improvement. He also supports new staff through mentoring and new staff professional development. Through his mentoring experiences Austin has developed some well defined advice for new school psychologists. He stated, “Stick with it. Understand what sphere of influence you have, and where you want to spend your energy and capital at the current moment to have the most impact. Never give up, because on the other side of a challenging teacher, administrator, IEP team, or parent is a student in need of targeted, high quality instructional practices, which occur when teams work together analyzing data to understand student needs.” (more…)
Reading proficiently is not only important for a child’s success in the classroom, but outside the school walls as well (Nevills & Wolfe, 2009; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). Recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP; 2013) indicate students are making reading progress nationwide, with a significant increase in the percentage of both fourth- and eighth-grade students reading at the proficient level when compared with the results from the previous assessment in 2011. However, there are still students who experience difficulty in learning to read (Hosp & MacConnell, 2014). And, as such early difficulties often continue throughout schooling (Moats, 2007; Snow et al., 1998) and beyond, especially if the student isn’t provided some type of intensive assistance (Moats, 1999). Starting at an early age is essential.