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State psychologists' group honors Funkstown school's principal

May 05, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

FUNKSTOWN -- Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education Principal Susan Burger was named a 2008 Outstanding Educator by the Maryland School Psychologists' Association (MSPA).

She was honored during the group's April 25 conference in Greenbelt, Md.

Nomination criteria include support for school psychological services, exemplary performance, and earning respect of fellow employees, students and parents, according to a press release.

Burger said the distinction was "quite an honor."

She was nominated by school psychologist Sharon Conley, who said in the nomination, "What sets (Burger) apart is that she devotes equal attention to academics and the social and emotional development of the young students at Funkstown."

The school serves students in prekindergarten through second grade, with a focus on early childhood development and education. Conley continued, "(Burger) takes it upon herself, as principal, to work directly with students who struggle with emotional and behavioral issues, and always seeks out information and resources to help her improve her 'counseling' role."

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Burger said every Washington County public school has a psychologist assigned to the building. At the Funkstown school, the school psychologist assists with psychological assessments for special-education students and also offers support to any student who needs it.

"I play a key role in deciding on best practices for students," Burger said. "I work closely with the student psychologist to make decisions that are in the best interest of kids."

She said a school psychologist might consider student behavior, attendance history, mental-health issues and other items in order to serve children.

"Any kind of problem students are having ... so we can have a plan to help them."

For details about the Maryland School Psychologists' Association (MSPA), go to www.webspace.umd.edu/mspa

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