Tonya Oberg, MSE, Licensed School Psychologist,
Tuesday and Thursday
7:45 – 4:00
About the School Psychologist
My name is Tonya Oberg. I am shocked to say that I have been working as a School Psychologist since 1997; time sure does fly by. I had the exciting opportunity to join the staff at New Heights School in 2007. I have been impressed over the years by this staff’s dedication to the students at New Heights and their desire to help all students achieve their full potential. The smaller school setting and class sizes allows for the opportunity for teachers to really get to know the students and to help tailor the instruction to meet their needs.
I initially began my career in the Hopkins School District and then transferred into the Stillwater School District where I have been working since 2000. Having the ability to work in a larger school district, in addition to New Heights, has been beneficial not only personally, but also in helping with the transition of students between the settings.
I grew up in a small town in the southwest corner of Minnesota. I received my undergraduate degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in the beautiful town of St. Peter, MN. I double majored in Psychology and Criminal Justice and minored in English. After graduating in the spring I started graduate school and earned my Masters and Educational Specialist degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in School Psychology.
I love spending time with my family, even though so much of it is spent being the resident taxi driver and a spectator at sporting and musical events. I have been married since 1994 to John, who grew up in the beautiful town of Stillwater, MN. I have two kids, a son and a daughter, and a black lab. In my free time I enjoying reading, going on walks, spending time at the cabin with extended family, and traveling.
What Is a School Psychologist?
(Adapted from the National Association of School Psychologists’ brochure: “What is a School Psychologist? – For more information, visit the website: National Association of School Psychologists
Who Are School Psychologists?
School psychologists have specialized training in both psychology and education. They use their training and skills to team with educators, parents, and other mental health professionals to ensure that every child learns in a safe, healthy and supportive environment. School psychologists understand school systems, effective teaching and successful learning. Today’s children face more challenges than ever before. School psychologists can provide solutions for tomorrow’s problems through thoughtful and positive actions today.
The training requirements to become a school psychologist are a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours including a year-long internship. This training emphasizes preparation in mental health, child development, school organization, learning, behavior and motivation. To work as a school psychologist, one must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which services are provided.
What Do School Psychologists Do?
School psychologists tailor their services to the particular needs of each child and each situation. School psychologists use many different approaches, but most provide these core services:
- give healthy and effective alternatives to teachers, parents, and administrators about problems in learning and behavior
- help others understand child development and how it affects learning and behavior
- strengthen working relationships between educators, parents and community services
- collaborate with school and community-based personnel to provide a comprehensive model of school-linked health services
Assessment— use a wide variety of techniques at an individual, group, and systems level to evaluate:
- academic skills
- learning aptitudes
- emotional development
- social skills
- behavioral functioning
- eligibility for special education
- work one-on-one and in small groups with students
- help solve conflicts and problems in learning and adjustment
- provide psychological counseling for students
- provide social skills training, behavior management, and other strategies
- help families and schools deal with crises, such as separation and loss
- link children / families to additional services in the community
- work with students and families to provide integrated community services focusing on psychosocial wellness and health-related issues
- identify potential learning difficulties
- design programs for students at risk
- provide parents and teachers with the skills to cope with disruptive behavior
- develop school-wide initiatives to make schools safer and more effective
- evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs, behavior management systems, and other services
- generate new knowledge about learning and behavior
- contribute to planning and evaluating school-wide reform and restructuring