As an undergraduate at Georgia College & State University, Amelia Fitch discovered her passion for school psychology while working in a social/emotional development research lab.
“An amazing professor and mentor fostered my value for the connection between education and child psychology through her long standing work within a community Head Start preschool.”
A Georgia native, Amelia was raised outside of Atlanta and attended graduate school at Georgia State University. After earning her master’s degree, she worked towards her specialist degree through an internship in Virginia and continued working for the same urban district in a traditional school psychologist role for four years.
She moved to Denver last summer and joined The Hello Foundation (THF), a community of speech-language pathologists, speech-language pathology assistants, school psychologists, and occupational therapists. With locations in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Oregon, Washington, California, and Wyoming, THF’s community of professionals fosters growth for one another and for the kids they serve.
“I’m proud of making the solo move from Virginia to Colorado last year to seek adventure, the lifestyle I wanted, and new opportunities.”
“A shared passion for high quality services for students and schools, while prioritizing a work-life balance has made THF a unique and amazing place to work,” adds Fitch.
Typical Day as a School Psychologist
Amelia serves one large elementary school on a military base, which houses classrooms of each of the self-contained programs in a district south of Tacoma, WA. As a hybrid school psychologist, she travels on-site one week per month and works remotely. Her primary responsibility is conducting psychoeducational evaluations for special education eligibility.
She also leads evaluation review meetings linking assessment results to school-based services, completes Functional Behavior Assessments, promotes pre-referral strategies and interventions, and supports crisis response.
“Serving as the most highly-trained mental health professional in a setting with such a wide reach as public schools is an incredible privilege of a school psychologist,” adds Fitch.
“In my current position, I most value the balance the hybrid model creates. Working both remotely and on-site allows the opportunity to connect face-to-face with students (the most fun part of my job) as well as teachers, administrators, SLPs, OTs, and other professionals while maintaining healthy boundaries around work and personal life,” adds Fitch.
On a typical remote work day, Amelia consults with teachers and other staff over Teams calls, contacts parents whose students she is evaluating, writes psychoeducational reports, and participates in a variety of meetings.
“On site, I’m methodically coordinating testing, observations, and meetings down to the minute, as well as taking advantage of every opportunity to connect with students, families, and colleagues in-person,” adds Fitch.
Professional Development, Advice for Clinicians
One of Amelia’s proudest professional accomplishments is co-founding a committee responsible for a district-wide Rate of Learning initiative for all elementary schools in response to increased referrals following a year of virtual instruction during the pandemic. This involved acquiring district leadership and administration buy-in, compiling research and evidence-based interventions and progress monitoring tools, and streamlining training for 30+ schools!
In her spare time, Amelia enjoys traveling, weightlifting, trying new restaurants, snowboarding, and hiking. Amelia notes her Oma (grandmother) as her biggest inspiration.
“I aspire towards her tenacity, independence, and passion for what she loves in life. I hope I am still working in my garden and cycling 20+ miles a day when I’m 84-years-old too!”
Amelia’s three tips for new clinicians include:
- When in doubt, consult! Collaborate with those in your discipline and others (SLP, OT, PT, Vision, Social Work, Nurse, etc.). There are so many different lenses to consider in schools.
- It’s okay to not know all of the answers. Sometimes the best response I can give is, “Great question. Let me get back to you,” or, “Let’s figure that out together.”
- Listen and seek to understand others before anything else. As school psychologists, our interactions with the adults who serve students directly (e.g., parents, administrators, teachers) are often the most impactful. I’ve found meeting stakeholders where they are, understanding what they value, and recognizing their perception of me as an outsider are the foundations for gaining trust and contributing to positive outcomes for kids.
Interested in a School Psychologist Career?
The Hello Foundation is proud to be a part of the Care Options for Kids Community. At Care Options for Kids, we are committed to making a difference for our people through empowerment and encouragement to be there for themselves and their own families. We provide the choices and opportunities our people need to enhance their lives and grow their careers so they can provide better care for others. We believe in making a difference in every way, every day.
With locations in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Oregon, Washington, California, and Wyoming, the Care Options for Kids Community offers a wide range of pediatric health services, including pediatric therapies, ABA therapy, nursing, family caregiver services, and school-based services.
At THF, we hire speech-language pathologists, speech-language pathology assistants, school psychologists, and occupational therapists. Our community of professionals fosters growth for one another and for the kids we serve. Join our team!