Psychology Internship

SARAH SCOTT, M.Ed., PRACTICUM SUPERVISOR: B.A., Saginaw Valley State University; M.Ed., University of Nevada Reno, M.Ed., Indiana State University.

Internship: Avondale School District (APA and APPIC Accredited)

Licensure/Certification: Certified School Psychologist

Professional Affiliations: National Assocaition of School Psychologists (NASP), Arizona Association of School Psychologists (AASP)

Areas of Special Interest: Early Childhood, Autism, Academic Interventions, Social/Emotional Development

Psychology Internship Program


Internship History

            The Avondale Elementary School District was a member of the Arizona Psychology Training Consortium beginning in 2008. The Arizona Psychology Training Consortium (AZPTC) is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). Avondale offered internships through AZPTC until 2014 at which time AESD became an independent member site with APPIC. AESD then achieved APA accreditation on June 7, 2016, and is now a fully accredited internship program. AESD intends to offer 4 full time school psychology internship positions for the 2018-2019 as an APA accredited internship program.

Accreditation and APPIC Membership

            AESD is currently a member of the Association of Psychology and Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. We were granted membership in October 2014. Our NMS match number is 2316. AESD is currently accredited by APA as of June 7, 2016.  Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

APA Commission on Accreditation

American Psychological Association

750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 2002

Phone: (202) 336-5979

Email: apaaccred@apa.org

All other questions about the internship program may be directed to Neil Stafford, Psy.D., AESD Training Director, at nstaffo@avondale.k12.az.us or 623-772-5104.

Non-Discrimination and Diversity Policy

The Avondale Elementary School District School Psychology Internship Program (AESD) strongly values diversity and believes in creating an equitable, safe, and inclusive learning environment for its interns. Diversity among interns and supervisors enriches the educational experience, promotes personal growth, and strengthens communities and the workplace. Every effort is made by AESD to create a climate in which all staff and interns feel respected, comfortable, and in which success is possible and obtainable. AESD strives to make every effort to increase awareness, and increase comfort with multicultural experiences. AESD’s training program includes multiple experiences, which are provided throughout the year. AESD wants to be sure that interns are both well trained in this area, and exposed to as wide a variety as possible of diversity experiences. The internship evaluation also includes domains that assess the intern’s competency in engaging diversity.

AESD welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds. The training program believes that a diverse training environment contributes to the overall quality of the program. AESD provides equal opportunity to all prospective interns and does not discriminate because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other factor that is irrelevant to success as a psychology intern. Applicants are individually evaluated in terms of quality of previous training, practicum experiences, and fit with the internship. If an applicant or intern requires accommodations, he or she should contact the internship training director to initiate this process.


Internship General Experience

            AESD provides a planned, programmed sequence of training experiences with the primary focus being on assuring breadth and quality of training. The internship is structured to meet Arizona’s requirements to become a licensed psychologist and a certified school psychologist. The program consists of 2000 hours of training over a 12-month period with at least 25% in direct service. Interns are also expected to achieve the goals and objectives of the internship program, as stated below, and to abide by the APA Code of Ethics, the requirements of the AESD training program, and the policies and procedures of AESD. The program is designed for a school psychology experience. Thus, only students with some school psychology experience should apply.

            Interns are exposed to both Special Education and General Education programs. Under

supervision of licensed psychologists, interns provide psychoeducational and psychological

evaluations, consultation, training, counseling, behavior management, and crisis intervention

services. Training assignments are made to assure that each intern has the opportunity to provide

assessment and intervention to students with various needs and diagnoses and to serve various

age, cultural, socioeconomic, and minority groups. The wide range of diversity among students

and staff in the Avondale ESD allows the internship to offer considerable multicultural

experiences to interns. Special efforts are also made to provide experience with low incidence


Avondale Elementary School District

            The Avondale Elementary School District encompasses parts of the cities of Goodyear and Avondale in the western suburbs of the metropolitan Phoenix area. AESD serves students from Preschool through Eighth grade. Student enrollment is approximately 5,800 over nine campuses and one alternative program. Seven of the schools are structured as K-8 campuses, one is a K-4, one is a 5-8, and the alternative program is K-8 program. AESD also has a community education program that includes a typical preschool, before school and after school programs. Finally, AESD provides a Special Needs Preschool for district residents.

            The Exceptional Student Services Department within AESD serves approximately 640 students identified with a special education need. We also serve approximately 160 students identified with gifted abilities. The ESS department has 80 employees that contribute to providing services for these students. The staff members working with ESS include psychologists, speech pathologist, occupational therapists, physical therapists, special education teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, and counselors.

            AESD is a Title 1 school district providing educationally based services to an exceptionally diverse population (e.g., racial/ethnic group membership, socioeconomic status, English Language Learners). Over 70% of students district-wide receive free and reduced lunch with some areas reaching over 90%. Trainees will receive a broad experience with diverse populations. In addition, the AESD internship program highly values diversity amongst staff members and strongly encourages individuals with diverse backgrounds to apply.

Mission statements

Avondale Elementary School District

The AESD mission is to support learning, make a difference, release potential, and enjoy the experience one child at a time.

Internship Program

The mission of the internship program is to provide planned and programmed training in assessment, individual and group therapy, and consultation to produce independent school psychologists that are passionate and committed to high quality service to children and families.


            The AESD Internship Program is designed to prepare interns to excel in the provision of psychological services to a school based community. Building on the professional skills and competencies acquired during graduate school training, interns gain practical experience and increasing independence in a variety of assessment approaches and therapeutic techniques with diverse populations. Goals for training include preparing trainees to meet the standards for licensure and independent practice, and ensuring trainees are competent in the American Psychological Association (APA) standards for professional practice. Training also includes a focus on increasing intern awareness, sensitivity, and knowledge about issues impacting racial, ethnic, and economic minorities. In addition, interns may pursue individual interests and research throughout the training year as appropriate.

            The AESD Internship Program utilizes the practitioner-scholar model of training. Rather than the production of original research, this model of training emphasizes the development of professional competencies that are based on current research, scholarship, and practice. “Scholar” is defined as a practitioner who is always reading, learning, and developing in order to maintain and/or increase his or her competence in whatever professional roles he or she undertakes. Thus, psychology interns are urged to critically evaluate current theory, research, and practice when approaching their clinical tasks.

            The staff and interns within AESD Exceptional Student Services utilize research-based methods of assessment and intervention in their delivery of psychological services in the schools. To assist with this activity, interns have access to what books Exceptional Students Services has purchased, many of which act as a research-based guide to the practice of psychology. Utilization of the internet as a source of scholarly research is also emphasized as being a source of information to integrate into daily practice. Interns are encouraged to read current psychology journals to increase their knowledge and to share the information with other staff members so that the professional growth process is mutual. Reading of professional literature is also requirement of the didactic training throughout the year.

            Because AESD maintains the philosophy that the welfare of the student is strongly related to his or her interactions with others, AESD Exceptional Student Services provides an emphasis on working with the family and school “systems.” In keeping with this philosophy, specific training opportunities are available in parent education and behavior management consultation with teachers. Maintaining communication with the family is considered crucial to the assessment process and to designing interventions, which will be accepted and applied. Interns are trained to actively obtain thorough developmental and family histories, extensive information from family members, and to provide to the family individualized information regarding assessment outcomes.

Goals and Objectives

            The training program is designed to assist Interns in becoming competent in the following areas:

  1. Data Based Decision Making and Accountability:

    The Intern has knowledge of varied models and methods of assessment and data-collection methods for identifying strengths and needs, developing effective services and programs, and measuring progress and outcomes.  The Intern demonstrates skills to use psychological and educational assessment and data collection strategies, and technology resources, and applies results to design, implementation, and evaluates response to services and programs.

    Competency 1.1 - Able to systematically collect data using multiple forms of data-based assessments

    Competency 1.2 - Able to administer & score standardized data-based psychological assessments including intelligence tests, achievement tests, and behavior assessments, as part of a comprehensive process of assessment

    Competency 1.3 - Able to translate and use assessment data to develop evidence-based interventions for children, recommendations for classrooms, and/or to develop school-wide intervention programs, or mental health services

    Competency 1.4 - Able to summarize and integrate multiple sources of data in effective psychological reports

    Competency 1.5 - Able to use technology for data collection, test scoring, report writing, research, developing interventions, IEP development, and/or progress monitoring

    Competency 1.6 - Able to monitor interventions and evaluate outcomes for individual cases, classes, programs and/or other systems

  2. Consultation and Collaboration:

    The Intern has knowledge of varied models and strategies of consultation, collaboration, and communication applicable to individuals, families, groups, and systems and methods to promote effective implementation of services.  As part of a systematic and comprehensive process of effective decision making and problem solving that permeates all aspects of service delivery, the Intern demonstrates skills to consult, collaborate, and communicate effectively with others.

    Competency 2.1 - Able to collaboratively meet with teachers, parents, or staff in the process of identifying the referral problem, communicating about the assessment process, and clearly explaining assessment results

    Competency 2.2 - Able to use varied methods of consultation, collaboration, and communication to promote effective implementation of interventions and services

    Competency 2.3 - Able to collaboratively review progress results with teachers, parents, or staff to show progress and then to promote generalization of programs

    Competency 2.4 - Able to evaluate and consult on the effectiveness of instruction, academic interventions, behavioral interventions, and/ or case studies across particular, contexts, and diverse characteristics of children

    Competency 2.5 - Able to effectively communicate with teachers, parents, or staff to collaboratively examine suggestions for system change that might impact the individual, group, family, classroom, or school

  3. Interventions and Instructional Support to Develop Academic Skills:

    The Intern has knowledge of biological, cultural, and social influences on academic skills; human learning, cognition, and developmental processes; and evidence-based curriculum and instructional strategies.   Interns in collaboration with others, demonstrate skills to use assessment and data-collection methods and to implement and evaluate services that support cognitive and academic skills.

    Competency 3.1 - Able to assist teachers in developing cognitive and/ or academic goals and instructional or academic interventions that promote cognitive and/ or academic improvement for children

    Competency 3.2 - Able to assist teachers in developing strategies to successfully implement evidenced-based academic or cognitive interventions, instructions, and/ or practices to achieve academic outcomes

    Competency 3.3 - Able to monitor the implementation and fidelity of treatments, interventions, case studies, accommodations, and/or teaching strategies to enhance academic for the child in the classroom, school, home, or community

    Competency 3.4 - Able to work with teachers, parents, and staff on the process of collecting data, data, and summarizing data for IEP goals, interventions, case studies, RTI data, and/ or individual instruction

    Competency 3.5 - Able to evaluate program data, report progress, and make suggestions enhance the childs and/or programs growth and performance

  4. Interventions and Mental Health Services:

    The Intern has knowledge of biological, cultural, developmental, and social influences on behavior and mental health; behavior and emotional impacts on learning and life skills; evidence-based strategies to promote social-emotional functioning and mental health.  The Intern in collaboration with others, demonstrates skills to use assessment and data-collection methods and to implement and evaluate services that support socialization, learning, and mental health.

    Competency 4.1 - Able to assess the social, emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs of students with diverse backgrounds, strengths, and needs

    Competency 4.2 - Able to develop social, emotional, behavioral, life skill goals, and evidence-based intervention plans for children with social, behavioral, life skills, or mental health needs

    Competency 4.3 - Able to develop strategies to implement behavioral/social interventions (behavioral, counseling, family consultations, therapy, accommodations, etc.) related to mental health, socialization, behavior, and learning

    Competency 4.4 - Able to monitor the implementation of interventions, collect data, summarize the data, monitor the fidelity, and/or graph data results on the effectiveness of behavioral, prevention, and mental health services for diverse children

    Competency 4.5 - Able to evaluate behavioral programs, report progress data, and makes suggestions to enhance the childs and/or programs growth

  5. School Wide Practices to Promote Learning:

    The Intern has knowledge of varied models and strategies of consultation, collaboration, and communication applicable to individuals, families, groups, and systems and methods to promote effective implementation of services.  As part of a systematic and comprehensive process of effective decision making and problem solving that permeates all aspects of service delivery, the Intern demonstrates skills to consult, collaborate, and communicate effectively with others.

    Competency 5.1 - Able to demonstrate knowledge of the school-wide procedures (referral, discipline, assessment, Student Intervention Teams, instructional support, tutoring) and knowledge of special education system procedures (use of forms, laws, procedures)

    Competency 5.2 - Able to design or consult with teachers on programs/resources that promote best practices in services (inclusion, self-contained, bully prevention, ELL programs, staff training, grading, home-school partnerships)

    Competency 5.3 - Able to keep and evaluate accountability data (RTI data, assessment data, intervention data, system tracking data) that assists with monitoring services for system-level improvement issues, initiatives, and accountability measures

    Competency 5.4 - Able to work effectively within systems to create and maintain supportive learning environments and services (participate in RTI or other systems-wide interventions) for children in a multi-tiered continuum

    Competency 5.5 - Able to identify and advocate for services, practices and policies that promote systems change or improvement to ensure effective services

  6. Prevention and Responsive Services:

    The Intern has knowledge of principles and research related to resilience and risk factors in learning and mental health, services in schools and communities to support multitier prevention, and evidence-based strategies for effective crisis response.   The Intern, in collaboration with others, demonstrates skills to promote services that enhance learning, mental health, safety, and physical well-being through protective and adaptive factors and to implement effective crisis preparation, response, and recovery.

    Competency 6.1 – Able to identify risk factors (bullying, failing grade, self-reports, negative statements, absences, academics) and suggest changes.

    Competency 6.2 – Able to contribute to the design of healthy environments and prevention services for children with diverse needs, that enhance learning, build resilience, build social skills, and/or support mental and physical well-being of all children and families.

    Competency 6.3 - Able to design and contribute to evidence-based preventative intervention ideas for individuals, classrooms, and/or school-wide programs that promote mental health services, healthy environments, and/or personal success.

    Competency 6.4 - Able to use assessment, data-based decision making, problem-solving strategies, collaboration, and/or data collection methods to assess and evaluate outcomes of prevention programs, response activities, school climate and crisis services for individuals, programs, and/or classrooms.

    Competency 6.5 - Able to work with the Supervisor on crisis teams, risk assessment, crisis assessment, crisis response and/ or recovery as situations develop.

  7. Family-School Collaboration Services:

    The Intern has knowledge of principles and research related to family systems, strengths, needs and culture; evidence-based strategies to develop collaboration between families and schools.   The Intern, in collaboration with others, demonstrates skills to design, implement, and evaluate services that respond to culture and context and facilitate family and school partnerships and interactions with community agencies for enhancement of academic and social-behavioral outcomes for children.

    Competency 7.1 – Able to show knowledge of family systems and diverse cultural issues that learning, family-school interactions, or behavior.

    Competency 7.2 - Able to utilize data-based decision making, problem-solving strategies, and/or consultation to enhance family-school-community effectiveness in addressing the needs of children, designing programs, and/or interventions

    Competency 7.3 - Able to design and/or identify resources for families from both the school and the community that enhance family-school-community effectiveness

    Competency 7.4 - Able to evaluate educational programs and other types of services that assist families with promoting academic, social, and/or behavioral success of their children (including case studies)

  8. Diversity in Development and Learning:

    The Intern has knowledge of individual differences, abilities, disabilities, and other diverse characteristics; principles and research related to diversity factors for children, families, and schools including factors related to culture, context, and individual and role differences; and evidence-based strategies to enhance services and address potential influences related to diversity.  The Intern demonstrates skills to provide effective professional services that promote effective functioning for individuals, families, and schools with diverse characteristics, cultures, and backgrounds and across multiple contexts, with recognition that an understanding and respect for diversity in development and learning and advocacy for social justice are foundations for all aspects of service delivery.

    Competency 8.1 - Able to show sensitivity and knowledge of disabilities, individual differences, culture, ethnicity, and other diversity factors in a school setting

    Competency 8.2 - Able to use knowledge of disabilities and diversity in the process of acquiring background knowledge, selecting, and/or administration of assessments

    Competency 8.3 - Able to use knowledge of disabilities and diversity in the process of interpreting assessments results, reporting results, and in non-biased report writing

    Competency 8.4 - Able to use knowledge of disabilities and diversity in collaboration with others in designing effective interventions and services for children and families to improve academic, learning, social, and behavioral services for all.

    Competency 8.5 - Able to use knowledge of disabilities and diversity in the process of implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and services

  9. Research and Program Evaluation: 

    The Intern has knowledge of research design, statistics, measurement, varied data-collection and analysis techniques and program evaluation methods sufficient for understanding research and interpreting data in applied settings.  The Intern demonstrates skills to evaluate and apply research as a foundation for service delivery, and collaborates with other professionals to use various techniques and technology resources for data collection, measurement, analysis, and program evaluation to support effective practices at the individual, group, and /or system levels.

    Competency 9.1 - Able to use research skills to synthesize and identify best practices and findings related to understanding disabilities, knowing best assessment practices, report writing practices, and identifying evidence-based interventions as a foundation for service

    Competency 9.2 - Able to use technology and research skills to identify, analyze, interpret, and determine effective and best practices  to assist  with developing interventions for students, teachers,  groups, or to provide support with system issue

    Competency 9.3 - Able to use research skills to assist in analyzing data, making statistical analysis, making data graphs, and/ or making data tables to show progress

    Competency 9.4 - Able to work with the Supervisor on program evaluation in order to appraise the effectiveness and accountability of programs (such as RTI programs, case studies, single case design interventions, and/or treatment interventions)

  10. Legal, Ethical, and Professional Practice:

The Intern can demonstrate skills to provide services consistent with ethical, legal, and professional standards; engage in responsible decision-making; collaborate with other professionals and apply professional work characteristics needed for effective practice as a school psychologist, including respect for human diversity and social justice, communication skills, effective interpersonal skills, responsibility, adaptability, initiative, dependability, and technology skills.

Competency 10.1 - Able to show an understanding of the role and functions of a school psychologist in relation to legal, ethical, and/ or professional practice

Competency 10.2 - Able to use professional knowledge and collaborative skills to facilitate the provision of services to parents, teachers, and/ or staff

Competency 10.3 - Able to complete psychological cases using proper ethical, legal, and ethical decision making processes that are consistent with professional standards of practice

Competency 10.4 - Able to use technology (computer scoring, report writing, email, internet, data-bases, graphs, IEP programs) in the practice of school psychology and use the technology in a manner that maintains and protects confidentiality

Competency 10.5 - Able to demonstrate effective work characteristics (initiative, adaptability, responsibility, dependability) and appropriately interacts with school staff, teachers, and supervisors in partnerships, using guidance from Supervisors and reflects on feedback and engages in positive self-evaluation

Competency 10.6 - Able to demonstrate knowledge of models and the process of supervision



Training Program

Sequence of Training

            The intern training sequence occurs in four phases. The first phase, the didactic phase, involves an seven-day, detailed series of presentations concerning the policies and procedures of AESD, the Exceptional Student Services Department, and the Internship Program. Discussion of special education law, ethics, and standards of professional practice are included as part of this training. Interns receive didactic instruction in the administration of frequently used assessment techniques, methods of report writing, and communicating test results and recommendations to school staff and parents. Special topics relevant to psychological services in the school setting are also presented during this time.

            Interns are assigned to a primary supervisor during this initial phase of training. The

assignment of supervisors is based on consideration of the needs and professional interests of

each intern as well as the unique supervision style and experiential and training background of

supervising psychologists. Interns will rotate to a new secondary supervisor each quarter to enrich their experience across the district. Interns will have a school-based experience, in which they are assigned to an individual school. Yet, there will also be come case-based experience in which they are assigned cases at various schools. Opportunities for such flexibility are again based upon (1) the intern’s interests and (2) availability of resources within the district. During this first phase the intern with their primary supervisor will complete training agreement (Appendix C) reviewing the policies and procedures of AESD, and developing individualized goals for the intern.

            The second phase of training allows interns to become familiar with their work setting and school district staff from various disciplines. During this phase, interns will have the opportunity to observe supervisors as they function in different work roles. Interns may observe their supervisor administer a test battery, attend a MET or IEP meeting, sit in on a staffing, and observe various types of classrooms. This phase of training may last for two to four weeks, depending on the past training and experience of the intern.

            During the third phase of training, interns will begin work independently on their own cases and work with their supervisors regarding the disposition of the case. Supervisors may observe interns as they provide direct services to students, consult with teachers and administrative staff, or participate in staffings, MET, or IEP meetings. The length of this phase is dependent upon the progress of the intern.

            The fourth phase involves increasingly independent work on the part of the intern. Initial cases will be worked on in close contact with the primary supervisor, and independence will increase as skill and confidence develop. During this phase all interns are expected to participate in multidisciplinary team evaluations. Interns may also be assigned individual or group counseling cases. During this phase, interns also have the opportunity to develop and implement a project of their own design, such as social skills training or teacher stress management programs.


            The Internship Training Director is a licensed psychologist and is present in the district on a full time basis. For the 2014-2015 school year, the program has two full-time licensed doctoral level psychologists on staff. Each intern is supervised by a licensed psychologist who carries clinical responsibility for the cases being supervised. The internship includes a minimum of two hours per week of formal face-to-face individual supervision. Additionally, each week, interns participate in one hour of group supervision and two hours of didactic training. These includes practicum and postdoctoral level trainees as well. Supervisors are readily available to provide consultation and supervision in crisis situations. A calendar of weekly group supervision meetings and didactics is developed each year.

            Evaluation and feedback are an integral aspect of the AESD training program. Interns will be formally evaluated twice during the training year. Interns will also provide formal and

informal evaluation of both the training program and their supervisory experience. Evaluations

of each intern’s progress will be completed by the primary supervisor in collaboration with the

intern and other professionals who have worked closely with the supervisee.

Training Areas

            Interns are involved in a wide range of training activities including assessment, counseling, parent and teacher consultation, in-service training, didactics, professional conventions, and research. The school district serves children and families from diverse ethnic and minority backgrounds as well as students with varying disabilities and needs; therefore, training and experience in working with diverse populations is provided to all interns.

            Although there is a formal intern training plan with specific objectives that must be completed, each intern, in conjunction with his or her supervisor, may add individualized training objectives that he or she wishes to address. Training areas include:


            Children referred for individualized assessments present with a variety of needs and disabilities. Intern training includes completing psychological evaluations of children with emotional and behavioral issues, autism, attention difficulties, learning disabilities, and other concerns. Opportunities are available for participation in assessment of children with hearing impairments, vision impairments, and intellectual disabilities. Additional assessment training opportunities are available in the areas of neuropsychology and traumatic brain injury depending on the intern’s previous training and experience.

Report Writing:

            Interns are required to develop and refine report writing skills. Interns are trained to provide concise and accurate test results and develop recommendations that can be realistically implemented within a school setting.


            Utilizing a brief solution-focused model, interns will conduct counseling throughout the year. Training in various theories and techniques of therapy is available. Interns gain experience in therapeutic interventions and in taking a developmental view of students’ difficulties. They will engage in counseling through individual or group sessions with students with various diagnoses. Interns may lead or co-lead group counseling or training sessions with students and/or parents.


            Interns consult with teachers, parents, administrators, outside community professionals, and other individuals. Consultation may involve developing behavior intervention plans, implementing behavioral interventions in the classroom, facilitating program design, or developing educational modifications. AESD works closely with several community based agencies with whom the intern will consult on a regular basis.

Crisis Intervention:

            The intern receives training in AESD’s crisis intervention in response to situations such as threats of suicide, deaths of students or faculty, or severe behavioral disturbances and may participate in such intervention as needs arise.

Diversity Issues:

            Interns gain experience in using varied approaches appropriate for working with students from a wide variety of diverse backgrounds, including differences in race, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, and other cultural areas. Sensitivity to and respect for diversity is emphasized throughout the training program.

Diagnostic and Intervention Skills:

            Use of the DSM-V is emphasized in the assessment process. Included in assessment is participation in designing and implementing intervention to meet the student’s individual needs. Specific clinical disorders that may be encountered in the school setting include:


Psychotic Disorders

Intellectual Disabilities

Bipolar Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Depressive Disorders

Communication Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Specific Learning Disorders

Disruptive Disorders

This will also be balanced with the process of making educational diagnoses as delineated in the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). The intern will be exposed to students with disabilities from the following categories:

Other Health Impairments

Orthopedic Impairments

Speech Language Impairments

Intellectual Disabilities

Multiple Disabilities

Hearing and Vision Impairments

Developmental Disabilities

Preschool Related Disabilities

Emotional Disabilities

Specific Learning Disorders

Educational Presentations:

            Interns collaborate with other personnel in preparing presentations for professional training. Routine opportunities for case presentations will be provided.

Community Referral and Liaison Services:

            Interns gain experience in working with professionals from other agencies. Through these activities, interns increase their knowledge of community resources. Ethical and legal considerations involved in interacting with outside agencies are emphasized.

Policies and Ethics:

            Interns are trained in the federal, state, and local policies for provision of psychological services in the schools. They are required to utilize the ethical standards and guidelines provided by the American Psychological Association at all times.


            The training program includes opportunities for participation in ongoing research activities. Interns may have the opportunity to conduct individual research projects as appropriate, including dissertations.

Sample of Interns’ Weekly Activities



Direct/Indirect Services










MET/IEP Meetings


Professional Development


Individual Supervision


Group Supervision


Didactic Training




Report Writing


Case Management




These activities may vary. In the summer, more time is devoted to training activities, research, and report writing. During the school year, more time is given to direct services. The entire internship experience is 2000 hours over a 12 month period.


Didactic training presented throughout the year address the following topics listed on the schedule:





July 24-28

AESD Orientation

Dr. Stafford

Dr. Sukey-Haley

Mrs. Valledor

Ms. Scott

August 2

Crisis Assessment and Mandatory Reporting

Dr. Stafford

August 9

504 Plans

Dr. Stafford

August 16

Best Practices in Conducting Multidisciplinary Evaluation Teams

Dr. Stafford

August 23

Ethics and Schools

Dr. Stafford

August 30

Processing Strengths and Weakness in Diagnosing SLD

Dr. Stafford/Dr. Sukey-Haley

September 6

Best Practices in School Administration and Interpreting Cognitive and Academic Assessments

Dr. Stafford

September 13

Time Management

Dr. Stafford

September 20

Diagnosing Intellectual Disabilities and Multiple Disabilities

Dr. Stafford

September 27

Hispanic/Latino Cultures and Diversity

Mrs. Valledor

October 4

High School School Psychology

Claudia Weiss

October 11

Best Practices in School Administration and Interpreting Social/Emotional Assessments

Dr. Stafford

October 18

Autism and ABA therapy

Erin Bartosik, Ph.D.

October 25

Meeting Management

Dr. Stafford

November 1

WIAT III Writing

Dr. Stafford

November 8

Autism Spectrum Disorders


November 15

ASU Psychology Training Conference

TBA - Various

November 22

Significant Discrepancy, RTI, or Strengths/Weaknesses Model of Assessment?

Dr. Eileen Rigdon

November 29




December 6


Dr. Amy Rose

December 13

Emotional Disabilities

Dr. Stafford

December 20


Dr. Stafford

December 27



January 3



January 10

Cultural Considerations in Therapy

Dr. Stacy Anderson

January 17



January 24

High School

Dr. Lisa Merrin

January 31

Early Childhood

Ms. Scott

February 7

Client Centered Therapy

Dr. Stafford

February 14

Ethical Issues: Dual Relationships

Dr. Stafford

February 21


Dr. Stafford

February 28

School-wide Crisis Intervention

Teresa Valledor

March 7

School-wide Positive Behavior Intervention Systems

Ms. Scott

March 14



March 21

ADOS Administration and Interpretation

Dr. Sukey-Haley

March 28


Dr. Stapert

April 4

Collaborative Problem Solving

Dr. Stafford

April 11

Difficult meeting management

Dr. Stafford

April 18

DSM Diagnosis Bipolar Disorder and DMDD

Dr. Stafford

April 25

Theme Based Assessments

Dr. Sherri Orrahood

May 2

Curriculum Based Measures and Their Place in Assessments

Dr. Stafford

May 8

Raising awareness of student medical issues amongst school staff

Dr. Stafford

May 15

Low Incidence Disorders

Dr. Stafford

May 22

Executive functioning: How to asses for it and develop relevant IEP goals

Dr. Rigdon

May 29

Legal issues and schools

Dr. Stafford

June 6

Advanced Report Writing

Dr. Stafford

June 13

Using the NEPSY

Dr. Stafford

June 20

Developing your professional self

Dr. Stafford

June 27

Intern Presentations

Dr. Stafford

July 3

End of Internship

Dr. Stafford


Interns are allowed to attend the Arizona Association of School Psychologists (AASP) convention, and the Arizona Psychological Association (AZPA) convention. Funds are made available for interns and supervisors to attend the annual Arizona Psychology Training Conference hosted by Arizona State University. Interns attend didactics within the school district. Time is provided for interns to participate in local and statewide workshops and conferences, and district funds may be available for in-state activities.


            Twice annually (6-month intervals), interns are officially evaluated by their supervisors on their overall performance and on various internship competencies. In addition, the supervisor will regularly evaluate interns on their performance and identify strengths and challenges. The 6-month and final evaluation covers the above goals and objectives. A sample evaluation can be found in Appendix A.

            Interns will evaluate their experience of the program twice per year in written format. Written feedback will be completed with the mid-year and final evaluations. They will be submitted to the training director, and to the Director of Exceptional Student Services. The interns will be afforded opportunities during each supervision to express their feedback regarding their training. The expectation is supervisors are open and responsive to this feedback.

Due Process and Grievance Procedures

            Supervisors and interns are expected to address training challenges within the standard supervision time. The intention of supervision is to engage in professional development, which includes situations of skill development, ethics, or professional relationships. At times there may be occasions where a supervisor needs to address a skill development issue in a more structure or formal manner. There may also be occasions where interns determine they may need support from someone outside the supervision relationship to ensure they are being treated in a fair manner. AESD has developed a Collaborative Problem Resolution document found in Appendix B that is designed to provide fair treatment to staff and interns in meeting these training challenges.

School district programs

            Each intern may have the opportunity for providing psychological services in the following school district programs or settings:


            This instructional arrangement/setting provides special education and related services to a student in the general classroom, in accordance with the student’s IEP. Qualified special education personnel must be involved in the implementation of the student’s IEP through the provision of direct, indirect, and/or support services to the student and/or the student’s general classroom teacher(s) necessary to enrich the general classroom and enable student success.


            This instructional setting is any amount of time that a student receives intensive direct

instruction from a Special Education teacher in a separate setting from the general education classroom to address the specific goals in their IEP typically related to reading, writing, or math

objectives. Resource must be intensive accelerated instruction aligned with the student’s enrolled grade level curriculum. Generally, the student within this type of program is functioning at least two instructional levels below grade placement.

Emotionally Disabled Self-Contained Classrooms

            The Emotional Disabled Self-Contained classrooms are for students with severe emotional/behavioral concerns that adversely affect the student’s, or others’, educational performance and whose needs cannot be met appropriately in other settings. These classrooms provide a higher level of structure and individualization for student success. They provide a self-contained setting for students who struggle to be educated in a less restrictive settings.

Autism Self-Contained Classrooms

            The focus of the Autism Self-Contained classrooms are for students with moderate to severe Autism. They have concerns that adversely affect the student’s, or others’, educational performance and whose needs cannot be met appropriately in other settings. These classrooms have a high degree of classroom structure with an emphasis on the development of effective communication skills through specialized, direct instruction based on the principles of applied behavior analysis. This includes, but is not limited to, high rates of reinforcement, discrete trial training, and a behavioral approach to the acquisition of language. The daily schedule of activities includes intensive teaching trials with carefully arranged contingencies. Another component is recognizing the importance of language development in the demonstration of social skills.

Cross-Categorical Self-Contained Classrooms

            The Cross-Categorical Self-Contained classrooms are for students with a variety of disabilities. Their functional and academic needs cannot be met in other settings. The students will participate in the general education classroom to the maximum extent possible to meet their academic, social/emotional, and vocational needs. The cross categorical classrooms are divided into those students with disabilities considered to be mild, moderate or severe. The range of services provided in each setting can vary significantly depending on the needs of the students.

Special Needs Preschool

            The Special Needs Preschool is a program for students with disabilities, ages 3-5 years. These classes are designed to provide instruction for students with delays in cognition, communication, psychomotor, self-care, and social-emotional areas. A student must exhibit a severe delay in one or more areas or a moderate delay in two or more areas.


            Homebound is a setting for providing Special Education and related services to eligible students who are served at home or hospital bedside. The students are expected to be confined for a minimum of 90 consecutive days as documented by a physician licensed to practice in the United States. Homebound instruction may also be provided to chronically ill students who are expected to be confined for any period of time totaling at least 90 days throughout the school year. Homebound students are generally unable to participate in extracurricular or co-curricular activities, work programs, outside jobs, and other activities away from home under normal circumstances.


            Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Guidance Counselors, School Counselors, and Licensed Social Workers provide counseling and guidance to students from general education and special education programs. During the course of the internship interns will interact with the counselors to consult on providing services to students. Counselors routinely participate in MET and IEP meetings.

Avondale/Goodyear community

Avondale and Goodyear, Arizona are located 18 miles west of downtown Phoenix. The area offers a wide range of diversity in student and family population. Within the last 15 years the area has seen significant population growth increasing the diversity and the amenities. Avondale and Goodyear are suburbs of Phoenix, and thus have access to all of the opportunities of a large metropolitan area. Both cities are home to wide variety of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. Avondale is home to the Phoenix International Raceway with 2 NASCAR events per year. The Arizona Cardinals (NFL) and Phoenix Coyotes (NHL) play within 20 minutes of Avondale. Phoenix has an abundance of night-life activities, theater and dance groups, and a music for any taste. During the winter and fall hiking, biking, and outdoor festivals are very popular.


Internship Admissions, Support, and Initial Placement Data

Intern Academic Preparation and Selection Criteria

            Applicants must be enrolled in an appropriately accredited doctoral program. Applicants from APA accredited programs are preferred. Also, applicants from programs that have a school psychology emphasis, or have included practicum and courses in school psychology will be given preference.

Applicants must register with APPIC as a prospective intern through the National Matching Services (www.natmatch.com/psychint). Applicants must have their APPIC registration number when they interview in order to be eligible to participate in the matching process. This internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant. All APPIC policies and guidelines with regard to conduct and the application for internship are adhered to. The Avondale ESD match number is 2316. Materials employed in selecting interns are utilized through the APPIC portal system (APPIC website: www.appic.org). Applicants must complete the APPIC Application for Psychology Internship (AAPI). No supplemental material is required by AESD. Application requirements should be on file within the APPIC portal system by December 1.

            At least 900 practicum hours desired, distributed over at least one year of graduate study. Twenty five percent of the hours are preferred to be in assessment services to diverse student populations which address a range of presenting problems using a variety of assessment/diagnostic approaches. Ten percent of the hours are preferred to be in methods of intervention and treatment provided to diverse student populations which address a range of presenting problems. Ten percent of the hours should be in formal supervision (both individual and group) It is acceptable to participate in either in person or telephone interviews. Applicants must submit rank order lists according to APPIC guidelines. Our match number is 2316.

Interview Process

  1. All application materials MUST BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 8. Applicants with incomplete files may not be considered for an interview.
  2. Applicants chosen for an interview will be notified by email in December in order to schedule an interview. Interviews will be held in January and are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  3. The interview typically consists of a one-hour formal interview and an informal visit and tour with current trainees.
  4. The candidates are rated on a 1 to 100 scale during the formal interviewing process. A total rating score is calculated.
  5. After all prospective interns have been interviewed, the Training Committee meets and ranks the candidates according to their application materials and their interview responses. The numerical ratings from the interview are weighted with the committee’s impression of the candidate to form the rank order that is submitted to the APPIC match system.

Intern Benefits

            The Avondale Elementary School District will provide the Psychology Intern with the following:

  1. A salary of $25,000 (pending board approval)
  2. Interns will receive the same district benefits as other full time employees this includes health insurance, paid leave, short term disability, etc.
  3. Provision for participating in a wide range of professional development activities
  4. An appropriate work environment including adequate equipment, materials, secretarial support services, and office facilities.
  5. The Intern has direct access to the Director of Exceptional Student Services and the Director of Human Resources if they feel they need an independent source to hear concerns regarding the training program.

Financial and Other Benefit Support for Upcoming Training Year

Annual Stipend for Full-Time Interns


Benefits Offered

Health Insurance

Intern may have to contribute to cost depending on the plan chosen

Coverage is offered to family, married partners, and domestic partners


10 days paid leave + all school holidays are paid

In the event of medical conditions and/or family needs that require extended leave, AESD allows reasonable unpaid leave to interns in excess of personal time off and sick leave.


Initial Post-Internship Positions

Total # of interns 2015-2017


Total # of interns who did not seek employment because they returned to their doctoral program/are completing doctoral degree


Community Mental Health Center


Federally qualified health center


Independent primary care facility/clinic


University counseling center


Veterans Affairs medical center


Military health center


Academic Health Center


Other medical center or hospital


Psychiatric hospital


Academic university/department


Community college or other teaching setting


Independent research center


Correctional facility


School district/system


Independent practice setting


Not currently employed


Changed to another field







Directory of Psychology Staff

School Year 2017-2018

NEIL STAFFORD, Psy.D., DIRECTOR OF TRAINING: B.S. & B.A., Grand Canyon University; M.A., M.A., Psy.D., Fuller Theological Seminary

            Internship: Tri-City Mental Health Center (APA Accredited)

            Postdoctoral: Arizona Psychology Training Consortium

            Licensure/Certifications: Licensed Psychologist, Certified School Psychologist

Professional Affiliations: American Psychological Association, Arizona Psychological   Association, Arizona Association of School Psychologists

Areas of Special Interest: Emotional Disabilities, Crisis Intervention, Counseling, Assessment


SHAUNNA SUKEY-HALEY, Psy.D., SUPERVISING PSYCHOLOGIST: B.A. Cleveland State University; Psy.D. Argosy University/Phoenix

            Internship: Arizona Psychology Training Consortium

            Postdoctoral Residency: Arizona Psychology Training Consortium

            Licensure/Certification: Licensed Psychologist, Certified School Psychologist

Professional Affiliations: American Psychological Association, Arizona Psychological   Association

Areas of Special Interests: Assessment and Intervention, Crisis Intervention, Behavior, Integrated care between schools and mental health


TERESA VALLEDOR, Ed.S., PRACTICUM SUPERVISOR: B.A., University of South Florida; M.S., Ed.S., Florida State University

            Internship: Cartwright School District

            Licensure/Certifications: Certified School Psychologist

            Professional Affiliations: National Association of School Psychologists

Areas of Special Interest: English Language Learners, Assessment of Bilingual Children, Early Childhood Education, School, Family & Community Partnerships


SARAH SCOTT, M.Ed., PRACTICUM SUPERVISOR: B.A., Saginaw Valley State University; M.Ed., University of Nevada Reno, M.Ed., Indiana State University.

Internship: Avondale School District (APA and APPIC Accredited)

Licensure/Certification: Certified School Psychologist

Professional Affiliations: National Assocaition of School Psychologists (NASP), Arizona Association of School Psychologists (AASP)

Areas of Special Interest
: Early Childhood, Autism, Academic Interventions, Social/Emotional Development

For more information, contact:

Neil Stafford, Psy.D., Director of Training


AESD Exceptional Student Services

295 W. Western Ave.

Avondale, AZ 85323

Phone 623-772-5104

Fax 623-772-5090

Avondale ESD website: www.avondale.k12.az.us

Additional Documentation

AESD Internship Training Agreement

AESD Standards Based Evaluation

AESD Due Process and Grievance Procedures

AESD Internship Training Manual