Jessica S. Gonzalez, MA, LSSP, attended the University of Texas—Pan American, now called the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she received her Bachelor’s in psychology and Master’s in school psychology. She has practiced teletherapy as a school psychologist in the PresenceLearning Care Network since October 2018.
Can you tell us a little about how you collaborate with teachers and other school staff members?
Email is usually my first line of communication with school staff and teachers. If a teacher doesn’t respond to my email I also email the primary support person (PSP) or special education director (usually the clinical contact). The site contacts also have my phone number so they will text or call me if they have a question they need immediate answers too.
How do you build trust and rapport with parents?
I like to call parents and introduce myself so they know who their child will be working with whether for counseling or assessments. I also email them so they have my email address and phone number and let them know they can contact me for any questions. I typically respond to them right away unless it’s after hours and I’m with my family.
But they’ve all been really, really supportive. They wait for me to call them back, so I can give them test results before their meetings. They’re very appreciative of me helping them out a lot of times. Sometimes they were struggling a lot with their child being at school and now that they’re at home, they see a lot more struggles and they see that the child is really falling behind. So they appreciate the help that we’re providing for them and getting those assessments done. And the same is true for the counseling. For the students I have for counseling right now I text the parents reminders, if they didn’t log in, or, I’ll ask, “Hey, what happened?” And they’ll usually respond, “Oh, we were at an appointment,” or something similar. They’re really good about texting me—I have no problem with parents just texting me back if they have any questions.
What advice would you give districts considering online therapy?
I highly recommend that districts use online therapy. If districts need help completing assessments, especially bilingual assessments, PL has providers that can do that. Also, I’ve seen a huge need for counseling support, especially now with COVID-19 and students having to stay home. Districts should consider using PL for counseling, if anything, so they can offer those additional supports that students need. Social-emotional well being is very much needed right now and I feel that PL has all the right tools and providers to provide that support.
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