Supervision When Schools Are Closed

By: Tracy Cruise, Dennis Simon, Mark Swerdlik, and Cathy Stein
(Coordinators of ISPA Supervisor Credential Program)

We have spoken with many supervisors who are working to meet the challenges of providing supervision to their practicum and internship students when the schools are closed.  These indeed are challenging times.  We’ve been impressed with the resourcefulness and dedication of school psychology supervisors.  Universities will provide guidance regarding meeting requirements and the logistics of completing training with reduced opportunities for hours and service provision.  We wanted to share a few thoughts to support your efforts regarding the supervisory process.

It remains important to maintain routine weekly scheduled supervision sessions. The principles of the DEP Model and its structures are important to maintain.  These include the following:

  • Maintain the structure of regularly scheduled supervision sessions
  • Perform an updated developmental assessment of supervisee skill levels on all NASP Practice Domains and develop shared achievable goals for the last quarter of the school year
  • Consider using role playing and simulations to achieve goals that are unrealistic to execute under current circumstances
  • This crisis provides a unique opportunity for novel program development, consistent with their abilities involve supervisees in planning and brainstorming to address the needs of students, families, and faculty during this stressful time.
  • Since supervisees will be engaged in new methods of service delivery, take care to provide sufficient oversight and appropriate formative feedback

Within the midst of the current crisis there is an OPPORTUNITY to teach our supervisees about crisis intervention, novel program development, flexible provision of services, prioritization of service delivery, and self-care.  The social-emotional challenges our students, families, and faculty face are substantial.

While it is routine for school psychologists to provide family consultation and parental supports over the phone, close supervision is required for any structured efforts for providing student supports remotely.  Issues regarding consent, confidentiality, and technical proficiency need to be addressed.

Our responsibility to provide multiple method supervision provides us an advantage in these unusual circumstances.  Role playing and simulation activities may be particularly useful to address remaining training goals.  We encourage intern supervisors to engage in developmental assessment and goal setting discussions with supervisees to design final quarter activities and training goals. Below are a series of reflection questions that you might find helpful in planning your final quarter supervisory activities.

Below you will find some reflection questions to guide our supervisory practice that emanate from the Developmental, Ecological, Problem-solving (DEP) Model for supervision designed specifically for school psychology practice.

We encourage you to reach out to each other and to the Trainers within the ISPA Supervisor Credential Program. The more productively we share ideas and resources the better we will be able to provide quality supervision in these unusual circumstances. Thank you for your work and commitment to quality supervision.

Contact Information

Please feel free to contact any of us for consultation or to share your successful supervisory innovations:  Tracy Cruise ([email protected]), Mark Swerdlik ([email protected]), Dennis Simon [email protected], Cathy Stein ([email protected]).

Reflection Questions:


  • what is my DEVELOPMENTAL ASSESSMENT of my supervisee's needs with only one quarter of training year remaining?
    • what skills does my supervisee need to refine to be ready for first year practice or next stage of training
    • what are realistic goals and how might we achieve them under these circumstances
  • What supervision METHODS might I employ, e.g., role playing, simulated system change project, specific readings with discussion...


  • Are there PARENT SUPPORT phone contacts that might be helpful for families on caseload
  • would it be worthwhile to have a discussion about the differential impact of no school and economic collapse on different SES groups
  • what SOCIAL JUSTICE issues are present when E-learning is not available to one segment of the school population, when there is backlash against Asians because virus began in China...


  • what training do I as a supervisor and my supervisee need for TELE-HEALTH/TELE-EDUCATION interventions?  What may be resources?
  • Is there a simulated system change/program development project my supervisee could engage in?
  • How does the current ECOLOGICAL CRISIS shed light on the importance of context and environmental factors in problem-solving and how can I incorporate that into my supervision time?


  • how can I best structure video conferencing supervision sessions?
  • what technology supports may I personally require?