"School psychologists should be prepared to practice in schools in ways that meet all appropriate ethical, professional, and legal standards, both to enhance the quality of services and to protect rights of all parties." - NASP, 1997.

Legal, ethical, and professional practices are a necessary cornerstone in any profession, but particularly those who work with children and families, such as School Psychologists. School Psychologists much not only be well versed in the laws and ethical guidelines of their practice, but they must also take a good look at themselves and recognize their own biases, levels of competency, and experience. A commitment to ongoing professional development is also essential to ensure best practices are always being employed. The changing nature of the School Psychology profession makes staying current on new research and literature a must. Also, keeping apprised of relevant litigation or ethical dilemmas allows one to constantly refine one's own ethical views and be aware of new legal precedents as they arise.

Level of Competence in Legal, Ethical Practice, and Professional Development = novice

I have completed coursework in legal and ethical practice as well as taken additional coursework to further my professional development in areas related to School Psychology. I have included descriptions of relevant courses here. I have also included an assignment as it directly relates to my development of competence in this area. I have also included several influential readings on ethical practice in School Psychology. To demonstrate my commitment to ongoing professional development I have included a certificate of training for a workshop I attended, as well as listed professional memberships that I hold. In a reflection statement I provide details of the experiences I have gained that contribute to my level of competency in this domain.

Course Descriptions

CAAP 603 - Professional Ethics
Professional Ethics addresses personal and professional ethical issues in psychology. Students will reflect critically on both personal and collective world views/values and will explore the impact of those perspectives on psychological processes and contexts. Basic ethical issues in therapeutic relationships will be considered, as well as emerging issues, conflicting loyalties in organizational settings, and responsibility to society. Integrity in teaching and scholarship will be addressed. The role of regulatory and collegial professional associations in enhancing the quality of psychological services and protecting the public from unethical and incompetent practices will be presented. The content of the course will integrate knowledge, practical skills, and student self-awareness.

CNPS 427 - Guidance: Planning and Decision Making
This course focuses on the work of the beginning counsellor and guidance worker in assisting clients with educational, vocational, and personal planning and decision-making. The course is designed for students finishing a first or second degree, generally in elementary or secondary education, for those enrolled in a diploma program, for those completing qualifying courses for admission to the Master’s program in counselling psychology, and for teachers seeking a greater understanding of the work of a school counsellor

EPSE 410 - Assistive Technology in Special Education
In today’s complex and dynamic classroom environment, teachers are challenged to include students having a wide variety of needs in daily curricular activities. With the help of assistive technology, students of all abilities can reach their individual potential by successfully participating, communicating, and learning. Over the past two decades, assistive technology has evolved from situation specific devices or adaptations, to more general software and hardware solutions which can support students along a continuum of ability. This course is designed to provide participants with an overview of the field of assistive technology, an understanding of how to implement various technology solutions, and experience using specific technologies to create technology-enhanced units and lessons.

EPSE 472 - Issues in Inclusive Education
Inclusive classrooms provide unique challenges to teachers. Key issues, research findings, and recommended practice are examined to support the development of inclusive classrooms. Foundational literature and research is examined to provide recommendations for best practices and research-based strategies to develop and design inclusive classrooms.


The following assignment is an ethical decision making exercise that I completed with a fellow student in partial fulfillment of the requirements for CAAP 603 - Professional Ethics. This assignment really showcases my ability to think ethically as well as my knowledge of guiding ethical principles and laws. Using a vignette, I describe the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to reach an ethical decision in working with an Aboriginal youth.

Influential Readings

Truscott, D. & Crook, K. H. (2004). Ethics for the practice of psychology in Canada. Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta Press.

This book is a great resource and must read for School Psychologists in Canada. It contains relevant ethical principles and vignettes for examples. This easy to read manual is a great starting point for building ethical knowledge and competency.

Canadian Psychological Association (2000). Canadian code of ethics for psychologists (3rd ed.). Ottawa: Author.

This Code articulates ethical principles, values, and standards to guide all members of the Canadian Psychological Association, whether scientists, practitioners, or scientist practitioners, or whether acting in a research, direct service, teaching, student, trainee, administrative, management, employer, employee, supervisory, consultative, peer review, editorial, expert witness, social policy, or any other role related to the discipline of psychology.

Certificate of Training

The following certificate is an example of additional training that I obtained in administering and interpreting the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement. I took this workshop to further develop my professional expertise with this assessment instrument. I am committed to ongoing professional development and enjoy taking advantage of every opportunity that comes available to me to further my level of competency as a School Psychologist.

Professional Memberships

As a commitment to my ongoing professional development and as a desire to keep abreast of legal and ethical issues, I have become a member of the following professional organizations:

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)
Canadian Association of School Psychologists (CASP)
Phi Delta Kappa Professional Education Association (PDK) - University of British Columbia, Okanagan Chapter

Reflection Statement

Through my coursework and experiences in this graduate program I have become much more aware of my own limitations and areas of expertise, as well as my own biases. I have also come to realize that this awareness is essential in becoming an ethically, legally, and professionally practicing School Psychologist. Through reading relevant literature and experiencing first-hand ethical dilemmas in my clinical assessment experience, I have also realized that a thorough knowledge of ethical and legal practices and guidelines is essential, as many situations will present themselves during my work as a School Psychologist that will require a thoughtful process of ethical decision making.

As a school teacher, I have always been committed to ongoing professional development. In the last two years, the focus of this professional development has shifted towards continuing my growth and developing my competencies as a School Psychologist. I have a true love and passion for learning and am committed to lifelong professional development.