Cincinnati created a Vocational Bureau in its school system in 1910, followed by Cleveland schools offering testing for mental abilities in 1912 within its Medical Clinic, utilizing the Binet-Simon Scale (1905). Detroit soon followed, establishing a school-based clinic facility in 1914. By the mid-1910s, 84 city school systems in the nation offered psychological tests.
In 1917, a psychological clinic was established in the Cleveland Public Schools by Bertha M. Luckey, PhD, Chief Examiner and Psychologist for Cleveland’s school system (born in California and educated at the University of Nebraska [PhD 1916]), who continued to guide the department until her retirement in 1960. The Cleveland Clinic, as it was known at the time, was initially under the auspices of the schools’ Medical Clinic; by 1920, it became part of the Bureau of Educational Research.
By 1928, the newly-named Psychological Clinic expanded to include ten personnel: four PhD psychologists, three MA degreed psychologists, one examiner with general psychological training, one assistant and a secretary. Six of these examiners worked in the schools and were assigned to 15,000 students each. At this time, the Clinic was under the supervision of the Assistant Superintendent for Special Classes and Services.
During the post-World War II baby boomer years, as Cleveland schools’ enrollment swelled to over 150,000 students in the1960s (housed in 189 schools), and as a greater understanding of learning differences and mental health challenges emerged in the psychiatric and psychological fields, the now-named Psychological Department expanded its level of services to children and adolescents. In 1967, the name was changed once again to the Division of Psychological Services, under the Department of Personnel and Pupil Personnel Services in the Cleveland Public Schools (later, the Department of Pupil Personnel), and the staff grew in size to 39 to meet the increasing student population. As PL 94-142 was enacted in 1975, the depth and breadth of psychological services changed to reflect compliance with the new law, and staff numbers increased to address these changes.
Today, the Office of Psychological Services is housed within the Department of Intervention Services (Special Education) and is comprised of nearly 90 advance-degreed (PhD, PsyS, EdS, and Masters’ level), licensed school psychologists who provide comprehensive services to Cleveland students. Although the now-named Cleveland Metropolitan School District has seen a decrease in enrollment over time, the need for special education and differentiated instruction continues, stemming from the very first “pilot project” class organized in the late 1890s and the first formalized special class initiated in the 1905-1906 school year. These highly trained school psychology experts identify student needs, thus ensuring that Cleveland’s children have the opportunity to receive appropriate services for their individualized academic, social-emotional, and behavioral challenges.
The Office of Psychological Services provides assistance to students ages two to 21 in a variety of settings: In Cleveland’s District schools, dozens of non-public schools, county placement sites, day- and residential-treatment facilities within a four-county area, specialized programs within the county, some charter schools, and in various clinics held throughout the calendar year (Preschool Assessment, Legal, Bilingual, Gifted/Accelerated and Early Entrance to Kindergarten clinics). School psychologists also serve Cleveland students in temporary shelter due to homelessness, and they evaluate those students who are either incarcerated or hospitalized for lengthy duration.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Conduct psycho-educational evaluations of students identified as or suspected of having learning or behavioral disabilities, utilizing appropriate diagnostic instruments
- Contribute to the Evaluation Team Report (ETR), following both ODE requirements and best practice principles with regard to: selecting, administering, scoring, and interpreting appropriate testing instruments, both normative and non-normative; interpreting and reporting all required data to determine Special Education eligibility; completing professionally-sound reports with regard to both interpretation and writing style; and offering a draft ETR to the Team prior to the ETR/IEP Team meeting
- Serve as Case Manager by summarizing, in writing, the findings of each of the contributors to the ETR for consideration in the development of the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)
- Act as Chairperson for all team meetings related to the ETR
- Explain Due Process procedures to parents with regard to compliance of IDEIA
- Confer with teachers, parents, and other educational personnel on matters relating to the education and/or mental health of students
- Assist educators in implementing or modifying instructional delivery, classroom management procedures, and intervention strategies
- Comply with Sungard/IEPPlus documentation fully, following ODE requirements, including all EMIS data
- Submit Medicaid documentation monthly for all eligible cases
- Report all service delivery in documented form on a monthly basis
- Counsel students and parents, individually or in groups, on specific student needs
- Participate in the Student Support Teams (SST)
- Assist with evaluations, as needed, to determine student eligibility for services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Assist in the development of Manifestation Determination Plans, as needed
- Conduct Early Entrance, Gifted/Talented and Advanced Placement, and Acceleration testing; administer, score and interpret testing instruments required for each; and participate in Team meetings as required
- Provide supervision to school psychology students in university training programs who are assigned placement in Cleveland schools, and to Psychiatric Fellows completing their medical rotations in Cleveland schools
- Offer peer assistance to colleagues as needed
- Provide crisis intervention services to students, staff, and parents, inclusive of risk assessment, consultation, and any post-crisis assistance
- Assist with Response to Intervention to address non-disability student needs
- Provide in-service to school staff and parent groups with regard to psychological service delivery, child development, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), school climate issues, and other related topics
- Serve on District and departmental committees for the purpose of developing programs and procedures that further promote the provision of an appropriate education for students
- Attend monthly staff meetings and any other departmental/District meetings required
Certification and Licensure
All school psychologists must possess Valid Ohio Certificate/Licensure in School Psychology (Masters, Specialist, or PhD degree in School Psychology plus one year of successful Internship in a school setting). School psychologists are also encouraged to obtain Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP) licensure, and many do. Ongoing professional development in approved programs, including ethics training, is required for licensure renewal.
Anastasi, A. (1992, August). A century of psychological testing: Origins, problems, and progress. Master lecture, annual convention, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
Fagan, T.K. (1990). A brief history of school psychology. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology II (pp. 913-929). Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.
Fagan, T.K., & Wise, P.S. (1994). School psychology: Past, present, and future. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishing Group.
Fagan, T.K. (2011, November). The significance of Ohio to the history of school psychology. Presentation, fall conference, Ohio School Psychologists Association, Columbus, Ohio.
Graves, C.L. (1972). History of psychological services. In Psychological services manual (p.9). Department of Personnel and Pupil Personnel Services, Cleveland Public Schools, Cleveland, Ohio.
Luckey, B.M. (1929). Psychological clinic: Brief survey. Report to the Superintendent, Cleveland Public Schools, Cleveland, Ohio.