Ware County School System school psychologists were honored by co-workers during National School Psychologists Appreciation Week recently at the Okefenokee Golf & Country Club. School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams who support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community.
Compared to other fields in education in Georgia, the school psychologist position requires the highest level of education for an entry level position. At a minimum, individuals in school psychology must typically complete a six-year program in college. This means the position requires acquisition of the specialist degree (Ed.S.) and in many settings, a doctoral degree is required. The position requires the completion of a year-long 1200 hour supervised internship. School psychologists receive specialized advanced graduate preparation that includes coursework and practical experiences relevant to both psychology and education.
In Ware County, the primary job of the school psychologist is to test students who are referred for special education services. Results of the testing provide the IEP team with part of the information necessary to determine eligibility in special education. In addition, school psychologists provide direct support and interventions to students, consult with teachers, families, and other school-employed mental health professionals (i.e., school counselors, school social workers) to improve support strategies, work with school administrators to improve school-wide practices and policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate needed services. They help schools successfully:
The Ware County School System has three school psychologists housed at the Central Office. Deborah Brooks is the lead school psychologist and has been employed with Ware County School System prior to 1990. She currently serves Memorial Drive, Ruskin, Waresboro, and all 6th graders at both middle schools. In addition, she provides oversight of the self-contained classrooms to ensure classroom size and staff numbers follow state guidelines.
Dr. Terri Garmon was hired this year and previously served Brantley County. She was a former teacher of students with learning disabilities, and she has been employed as a school psychologist since 2001. She serves Center Elementary, WACONA Elementary, and 7th graders in both middle schools. She provides oversight of evaluation services for preschool students, which includes all 3 to 5 year olds in the county, and not just the students enrolled at DAFFODIL Pre-K Center.
Brittany Peacock was also hired this year and was a former co-teacher at Ware County High School. She also worked as an academic interventionist and 504 coordinator. Brittany served Clinch County as a school psychologist for the last two years, and she continues to provide some services there through a contract between Ware and Clinch counties. She serves Williams Heights, Ware County High School, and 8th graders at both middle schools. She provides additional services in Ware County by overseeing 504 referrals and providing support to 504 staff members in the schools.
We are proud of the school psychologists who work in the Ware County School System, and we are grateful for the work they do every day in support of our students.
Pictured left to right: Brittany Peacock, Deborah Brooks, and Terri Garmon