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GSL to hire full-time psychologist for 2015-16

Glencoe-Silver Lake (GSL) will have another full-time school psychologist in 2015-16, the School Board decided Monday night.
Elementary Principal Bill Butler said the district currently has a full-time school psychologist and a full-time counselor for its elementary program.
The psychologist’s time is almost exclusively devoted to testing of special education students, while the counselor’s position is divided between the Lakeside and Helen Baker elementary buildings.
Superintendent Chris Sonju told the School Board that there is a need for either another counselor or a school psychologist. The district had hoped to add a position for the current school year, and had applied for a grant to fund the position. However, Sonju said, the grant application was not successful.
Business Manager Michelle Sander said that if the district hires a psychologist rather than a counselor, it could capture some special education funding to help pay for the position.
Board Chair Clark Christianson asked if the administrators had evaluated whether a psychologist or a counselor would best fit the needs in the elementary.
“These are two different positions with two different skill sets,” said Christianson.
Board Member Jamie Alsleben echoed Christianson’s concern.
“Would one or the other better meet the needs of IEPs (individual educational plans)?” asked Alsleben.
Butler said the current counseling position would continue, and having another psychologist would help free up time from testing and provide more one-on-one contact with students.
“We would have more flexibility,” said Butler.
Sonju reminded the board that it needed to be mindful of being “fiscally prudent” while at the same time trying to meet district needs.
“There’s a need, a gap and the opportunity for flexibility,” said Alsleben. “Plus there is an opportunity to offset the cost.” He made the motion to advertise for a school psychologist, which was approved unanimously by the Board.

For more, see the April 15 print edition of The Chronicle.