Preparing Effective Urban Practitioners: The Study of Two Urban-Focused School Psychology Graduate Training Programs

Kirnel D. Grishby, Georgia State University


For decades, school psychologists have been trained to obtain professional proficiency in competencies that address a broad spectrum of needs at the individual student and school-wide levels. However, urban education researchers posit that serving students from diverse backgrounds presents unique challenges not targeted specifically by traditional school psychology training programs. Limited research focuses on effective urban school psychology practice (USPP) and more specifically, practitioners serving schools that enroll predominantly minority students (Graves et al., 2014). As a result, there are gaps between what is needed to effectively serve students in high need urban schools and what most school psychologists are trained to do. Chapter One of this dissertation reviews the literature on USPP using an adaptation of Haberman’s (1987) framework for recruiting, selecting, and training effective urban teachers. Chapter Two is a mixed-methodology sequential explanatory design (SED) study to analyze four main components of two urban-focused school psychology training programs (UFSPTP) as they relate to effectively serving high need schools and student populations. It is guided by the following research questions: (1) How do urban-focused school psychology training programs prepare their students for effective urban practice? (2) In what ways do their programs of study compare to Haberman’s (1987) framework for effective urban teacher training?