DAVIS COUNTY — Davis School District school psychologists have been on a winning streak in the annual awards of the Utah Association of School Psychologists.
Davis school psychologists took both the School Psychologist of the Year award and the School Psychology Student of the Year award for 2019.
Davis school psychologist Heidi Block won this year’s School Psychologist of the Year award from UASP.
In addition to serving as a school psychologist half time at Canyon Creek Elementary in Farmington, Block is a district-level supervisor of school psychology interns and early-career psychologists in the district, according to Lauren Rich, related services supervisor with Davis School District who is also the president of UASP.
Though she supervises school psychologists in Davis and has a leadership role in UASP, Rich was not on the selection committee for the UASP awards and did not have any input on the committee’s selections.
Block, who won the award, sat on the UASP awards committee, but she did not vote in her category, Rich said in an email.
Block was the only Davis representative out of seven members of the awards committee, who represent districts, charter schools and higher education.
“We’re looking for people who exemplify ... what the field of school psychology is and can be,” Rich said. “They’re a vital resource to their school and their students. They’re known by their parents and their students, and they’re just an integral part of their school community — and ... they work to further the field.”
One of Block’s significant contributions to the field is the training of school psychologists early in their career.
“(Block has) developed our (school psychology) training program at Davis,” Rich said. “When we interview new interns and students who want to come work for Davis, one of the biggest things that they say is they know that we’re going to provide great support and training, and that’s something that (Block) has developed. She’s really created that from the ground up.”
The School Psychology Student of the Year award for 2019 went to Davis intern Rovi Hidalgo, who is currently a student at the University of Utah completing an internship during the final year of her school psychology program.
Hidalgo works as a school psychology intern at Creekside Elementary in Kaysville and at Wasatch Elementary in Clearfield.
Hidalgo has all the same responsibilities as a licensed school psychologist, but as a student, she has additional supervision by her program and by mentors through the district, Rich said.
“We’re really looking for students who have excelled at the university level, dedicated themselves to the field of school psychology, really taken on their internship year ... full force,” Rich said, “... and really are someone that we anticipate will make a huge impact in the field later.”
This is the second year that a school psychologist working for Davis School District has won the association’s School Psychologist of the Year award.
Last year, Davis school psychologist Joseph Viskochil won the award for his work developing the Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses model in the district, which is a method for identifying students with disabilities.
Also in 2018, another Davis school psychologist, Gary Leu, won the UASP lifetime achievement award for his work focused on suicide prevention.
Bethanie Monsen-Ford, winner of the Distinguished Service to UASP award in 2018, is also a Davis school psychologist. Rich won this award for 2019, after serving on the UASP board for three years. She was also recognized for her work as UASP president, which included increasing the visibility of school psychologists in the community and developing community partnerships.
“We have ... strong psychologists across the state and in every district,” Rich said. “... Davis has attracted the type of people who want to be involved in the board. They have worked really hard to ... promote their field within the district, and I think they just have a lot of pride, so I think they were more likely to nominate (candidates for the awards) ... and also they just have really strong people.”