Northern Suburban Special Education District (NSSED)
The Northern Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) is a special education cooperative providing programs and services to eighteen (18) member districts throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago. NSSED operates three programs. The Early Childhood Program serves students age 3-5 with a myriad of strengths and needs in both classroom and inclusion settings. The Educational and Life Skills Program serves school age children 5-21 (up to the day before their 22nd birthday) with more profound and multiple areas of need. The North Shore Academy serves students age 5-21 (up to the day before their 22nd birthday) with needs related more to emotional and behavioral issues. NSSED nurtures relationships with its students, parents, staff and other stakeholders to develop and provide educational programming within these three programs as well as offering services to support students within their local district’s programs.
NSSED provides numerous support services to member districts including coaching support related to Problem-Solving/Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for both academics and behavior along with Autism. Interns at NSSED spend between 3-4 day of their week in one of the programs mentioned above (separate match codes) and the remainder of time is spent within the additional programs and services. Interns work with their supervision team to more fully develop their internship activities based on their goals and the district’s needs.
Interns receive ongoing training and supervision from both licensed and certified psychologists focusing on developing meaningful and effective intervention components through best practices in assessment, prevention/intervention, consultation and supervision. Opportunities for research and other interest areas are limited only by what is in the best interest of students. Interns avail themselves of the many professional development opportunities afforded on a nearly daily basis throughout our cooperative.
Interns receive a stipend of $17,000 and a competitive benefits package as part of their compensation. The Interns hours are the same as the programs that they work in, typically 8:00-3:30 with some variation and follow the District calendar.
A typical week:
2 hours direct supervision with licensed psychologist
2 hours direct supervision with certified school psychologist
12 hours direct service (e.g., individual/group therapy, individual/group intervention)
12 hours indirect service (e.g., individual/systems level consultation, meetings)
4 hours report writing and other paperwork responsibilities
3 hours professional development activities
3 hours prep time (e.g., intervention planning, research, case notes)
North Shore Academy
North Shore Academy (NSA): NSA is a therapeutic day school in Highland Park, IL serving 6-12th grade students with profound emotional and behavioral challenges. NSA Elementary (NSA-E) in Northbrook, IL serves this K-5 population. NSA interns will work at either of these two buildings and will be further trained and participate in individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, instructional support, academic assessment, psychological assessment, RtI consultation and leadership, and classroom management. Interns are part of a multidisciplinary team developed to assist students in making and achieving significant academic and behavioral goals. For the coming year 2014-2015, the intern will most likely be at the 6-12th grades.
John Dominguez, Ph.D. is both a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist. He has a B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University (1993), an M.A. in Psychology from University of Houston (1998) and a Ph.D. Clinical Psychology from University of Houston (2000). He completed his Internship with Houston Independent School District and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychology. Dr. Dominquez is the supervisor at North Shore Academy where interns spend roughly .80 time per week in the North Shore Academy building, supporting and delivering the academic, socio-emotional, and behavioral services to its 6-12 grade students. In addition, the intern will spend roughly .20 time in a general education setting in one of NSSED’s member districts supporting RtI development, RtI infrastructure, new SLD state-required assessment using the RtI process.
Gwen Grant, Psy.D., is both a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist. She has a B.S. in Psychology from Florida State University (1992), an Ed.S. in School Psychology from Radford University (1998) and a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology (2005). She completed her School Psychology Internship with the Montgomery County Public Schools (Blacksburg, VA). Additionally, she completed her Clinical Psychology Residency at the Pediatric Developmental and Behavioral Health Centers at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Grant also previously worked in the Wheaton/ Warrenville School District #200 in Illinois, Collinsville School District in Virginia and with the Pediatric Neuropsychology and HALP Clinic teams at University of Chicago. Currently, Dr. Grant is a supervisor at North Shore Academy – Elementary where interns spend roughly .80 time per week in North Shore Academy developing, supporting and delivering the academic, socio-emotional and behavioral services to its students. In addition, the intern will spend roughly .20 time in a general education setting in one of NSSED’s member districts supporting Response to Intervention (RtI) development, RtI infrastructure and new SLD state-required assessment using the RtI process.
Glenview School Early Childhood Program
One of the sites that has supported an NSSED School Psychology Intern since 2008 is Glenview School District 34, Glenview, IL, www.glenview34.org/. School District 34 educates students in Early Childhood/Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade within their 8 schools (3 primary, 3 intermediate, 2 middle school). Interns work with their supervision team to more fully develop their internship activities based on their goals and the district’s needs. However, the interns typically spend a portion of their time at each of the grade levels. Regardless of the grade level, the intern will support teams of educators to problem solve to meet the needs of all the students.
Approximately two days per week the intern will focus on services to early childhood. Within the Early Childhood Program students with a variety of disabilities and Developmental Delays receive initial diagnostic psychoeducational evaluation through a variety of play-based assessments and authentic assessments and gain access to appropriate educational environments offered through a continuum of educational services. The program includes 2 half-day preschool special education classrooms, 1 blended preschool classroom (i.e., serving students with special needs and students with no identified special needs), and Speech and Language services. In addition, the district houses three Pre-Kindergarten at-risk classrooms that participate in system-wide screening and benchmark activities as well as problem solving for students at the building level.
Glenview School District 34 also has classrooms for children on the autism spectrum at the kindergarten through fifth grade levels. Glenview School District 34 and NSSED work collaboratively to serve the students within this program using research based practices in the area of autism.
Additionally, interns have been engaged in system level activities at the district and school level through the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Leadership teaming processes. Also, all interns are actively engaged in the individual student problem solving processes at any of the grade levels they serve.
Interns receive daily and weekly supervision from the licensed and certified school psychologist. Training is focused on helping students learn to develop meaningful relationships with educators, parents, and students as the foundation for implementation of best practice assessment, intervention and consultation. Each year there are opportunities for research regarding the effectiveness of interventions and student progress within the program. Interns also have many opportunities for professional development through the district, Illinois Starnet (www.thecenterweb.org/starnet), and the NSSED cooperative.
Melissa S. Brown, Ph.D., received her doctorate from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (2004). She has been a School Psychologist in the district since 2004 and a licensed Clinical Psychologist since 2006. Prior to working in Glenview, she worked as a School Psychologist and Intern/Extern with NSSED Early Childhood Program, at North Shore Academy (both High School and Elementary School) and at Indian Trail Elementary School, Highland Park, IL. She has been a School Psychologist since 1994 and was also employed with the Lagrange Area Department of Special Education (LADSE) prior to receiving her doctorate. She also has a CAGS in School Psychology from Tufts University, Medford, MA. Her interests include Conjoint Behavioral Consultation with preschool age children, Parent and Teacher-Child Interaction Therapy, and Implementation of Multi Tiered Systems of Support Within the Early Childhood setting. In addition Dr. Brown is a member of NASP, and DEC and has been invited to speak nationally and locally on the topic of Multi Tiered Services and Early Childhood programs.
Videoclip: Andy Piper, Director of Personnel, describes the internship setting & opportunities: