Amy (Boger) Lowder, Lead School Psychologist in Cabarrus County Schools, received the 2018 Innovative Practice Award at the Fall Conference of the NC School Psychology Association (NCSPA) in October.
Lowder is a 2003 graduate of the MA/Specialist in School Psychology at Appalachian State, and she has been leader—in her school district and across the state—throughout her career. According to NCSPA’s website, “the NCSPA Innovative Practice Award is presented to a school psychologist who has been engaged in innovative practices that have provided significant benefits to a group of teachers, school, or school system as well as the children within those school systems.” Materials submitted in support of Lowder’s nomination detailed her collaborative efforts “to design and implement a district-wide tiered framework for a comprehensive Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) services delivery model to address safety and wellness for her district of nearly 34,000 PreK-12 students. [She] worked in collaboration with multiple departments/agencies and across multiple constituents within the school district and the community to problem-solve for solutions and ongoing support to create and sustain this model…[resulting in] a district leadership team consisting of a discipline-specific supervisor for each of the following disciplines: school counseling, school psychology, school social work (and school nursing and school resource officers, as needed), and this district-level team provides direction to all administrators and SISP across the county on topics such as safety and wellness, mental health/trauma, crisis prevention/response/recovery, etc.”
When asked how the innovation has benefitted her district, Lowder explained that “EACH school in our district now has a targeted student support team to assist with academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs. The benefits reach beyond just the students, though, as our SISP staff members have been able to make huge breakthroughs with family outreach, community supports, and they are being asked to share their “how” with other districts across the state and nation.” NCSPA represents more than one-half of the 800 school psychologists employed in the state of North Carolina.