Lake Stevens School District understands the critical role a school psychologist plays for both students with special needs and general education students. The district is also aware of the acute shortage of psychologists in the state of Washington, and the rest of the country, and it worked with various temp agencies to try to solve its shortage issues. Administrators still weren’t entirely satisfied with the clinical quality management they were receiving from temp agencies so the district decided to look into other options. This led them to Presence.
The district partnered with Presence to assist with conducting psychoeducational assessments. “Temp agencies weren’t able to provide as high quality clinicians and didn’t have the clinical oversight like Presence.
The clinical oversight was extremely helpful.” said Miriam Tencate, executive director of special services at Lake Stevens School District. “Previously, we had to allocate scarce district resources to support temp agency psychologists to bring them up to speed with our state and district practices. In contrast, Presence provides high quality, exceptional psychologists who are able to integrate smoothly into the school environment, conduct comprehensive evaluations, and have a good understanding of our state’s special education laws. In addition, they are able to navigate difficult conversations with administrators, teachers, and parents.”
Another reason Lake Stevens School District chose to partner with Presence was because of the company’s flexibility to adjust to, at any given time, the on-the-ground staffing within the district. The district is able to use Presence’s remote school psychologists as needed to assist with evaluations and sessions. This also reduced the workload for the onsite school psychologists. “We’re able to assign cases the same way as if the psychologist was in the building,” said Tencate. “Presence comes in where they are needed and does what needs to get done.”
With Presence, the district has gained a collaborative and consistent partner which is what they were looking for and it has paid off for the district’s schools. Lake Stevens High School has had the same school psychologist from Presence for the past three school years. That consistency has allowed both staff and students to build stronger relationships with the psychologist. It has also helped the school refine its own practices.
“We weren’t aware that we had an issue with our timeline for delivery of paperwork because we never had a psychologist with us long enough to catch it,” said Debra Hay, associate principal at Lake Stevens High School. “It could’ve taken years to realize the problem if it weren’t for our partnership with Presence. Our Presence school psychologist was able to realize the problem and bring it to our attention so we now have a much stronger and more efficient system.” The high school staff has realized the importance of having an experienced school psychologist servicing the school. “This has been a great learning experience and we’ve readjusted our expectations on the role of a school psychologist,” said Hay. “It has made an impact on our school to have such a high quality school psychologist.” The school psychologist works closely with staff to provide ideas about interventions and discuss possible solutions for each student. Although they are remote, they are still able to participate in the intervention team meetings and provide helpful insights.