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Adelphi’s master’s in school psychology is a distinguished program, highly regarded regionally and nationally for preparing students for success in the field.
Here, Ionas Sapountzis, Ph.D., an associate professor at Adelphi’s Gordon F. Derner of Advanced Psychological Studies and director of Adelphi’s M.A. in school psychology answers questions about the program and what sets it apart.
How would you describe Adelphi’s school psychology master’s program?
Adelphi’s M.A. program is a relatively small, highly focused and welcoming program. We’re very attentive to our students’ level of development and learning. Students receive regular feedback about their progress and they’re offered many opportunities to participate in conferences, scholarly activities and research.
The program integrates theoretical instruction with hands-on training within a child-centered framework. Adelphi students are exposed to innovative practices through their classes and their field placements.
What are the strengths and advantages of Adelphi’s program?
It is one of the very few programs—and possibly the only program—in the region that emphasizes multiple perspectives and theoretical frameworks. Adelphi students are exposed to different models of theory and practice, such as cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic and systemic.
We also address the neuropsychological aspects of school psychology and familiarize students with interventions that address the family and cultural backgrounds of their clients. Special emphasis is placed preparing school psychologists who deliver multi-level school-based interventions that encompass academic and psycho-social development.
The program is housed within Adelphi’s esteemed Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, which means our students can take advantage of enhanced training and research opportunities.
Who teaches Adelphi students?
Students are taught by the program’s three primary faculty members—Ionas Sapountzis, Ph.D., Jennifer Durham, Psy.D., and Dana Boccio, Ph.D.—all of whom have worked as school psychologists. They have expertise in highly relevant areas, such as ADHD, autism, suicide prevention, violence and bullying, multicultural practices, child, adolescent and family psychotherapy and school neuropsychology.
There is also a core of eight part-time faculty members who are currently working in the field and have extensive experience teaching at Adelphi.
What are the job prospects for school psychologists?
The job prospects for school psychologists are very, very good across the country. Job prospects are more difficult for students who want to work on Long Island, but our experience is that students who are highly committed and excel in their studies do find employment on Long Island. We prepare students for opportunities nationwide.
Where are Adelphi alumni working?
Most work in public schools, and every year several of our graduates are hired by schools on Long Island. Several graduates each year are hired to work at schools in New York City, and others pursue positions in other states such as Maryland, Massachussetts, North and South Carolina, Connnecticut, Florida, Alaska and California.
How large are your classes or cohorts?
Every year, about 20 students are accepted into the program, so courses never have more than 20 students. Typically, they have 10 to 12 because we run two sections for the applied courses—therapy, testing, internship and practicum seminars where students have to present their work and need feedback from faculty.
What is Adelphi’s Social Training Center?
The Social Training Center (STC) has been created to give Adelphi students many opportunities to be involved, to serve the community and gain practical experience. The Center was initially developed for the purpose of offering group therapy sessions to adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder. These are typically high functioning individuals who have the skills to pursue jobs, but they are looking for a support group where they can share their experiences with peers and counselors.
The model has been quite successful. Clients often stay for three years or four years. Typically, people in groups stay no more than one year.
Recently, the STC has expanded to include additional services. Among them are: administering neuropsychological assessments; providing school-based trainings for teachers and professionals; offering interventions and groups for children and youth with anxiety disorders; and giving lectures in schools on suicide prevention and violence prevention.
How are Adelphi school psychology master’s program students involved in the Social Training Center?
Every year, three or four Adelphi students can join the program as group facilitators and up to three or four more can join in and/or participate in scholarly work and research. Interested students are interviews by the group coordinators and senior student facilitators and depending on their performance and availability are invited to join in.
Students consistently tell us that it is a wonderful learning opportunity. They learn how to conduct group therapy sessions and how to diagnose children and youth with autism spectrum disorder.
How long does it take to complete Adelphi’s school psychology master’s program?
It takes three years on a full-time basis, probably four to five on a part-time basis. The third year involves a full-time internship, and students are only required to take a total of three courses that year.
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