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About the Dallas Independent School District

 Experience Working with Students from Diverse Backgrounds in an Urban Setting

The Dallas Independent School District presents interns with a unique opportunity to work with an unusually large number of different ethnic groups and populations within the setting of a large, urban school district. Our students come from many nations (almost 70 languages are spoken in the district) and are shaped by experiences that may not be seen in other settings. Many of our students come from countries scarred by war or civil unrest and may be the victims of extreme poverty and other hardships. The school district also serves thousands of homeless students. Working with these students through the schools or the Youth and Family Centers exposes the interns to new opportunities for growth and service delivery.

Department of Psychological and Social Services

Psychological and Social Services (PSS) is located at the Student Support Services Center at 2909 North Buckner Boulevard, Suite 501, Dallas, Texas, 75228. PSS staff is comprised of Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSP) and licensed social workers.  Seven (7) of the direct-services staff hold Licensed Psychologist credentials as well as the LSSP credential. Each staff member is assigned a set of schools, where they deliver counseling and consultation services to both regular education and special education students. They consult with Student Support Teams to assist in the development of pre-referral interventions.

The Dallas Independent School District has offered a pre-doctoral professional psychology internship for over 25 years. In 1991, the program became the first within a school district to receive accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA can be contacted at:

American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(202) 336-5979

The program was successfully re-accredited in 2008 for seven years. The School Psychology Division, Texas Psychological Association, recognized PSS for Outstanding Psychological Services in 1984 and 1991.


Internship Synopsis

The Dallas Independent School District currently funds four pre-doctoral interns in the Department of Psychological and Social Services.

The interns work forty to fifty hours per week, five eight-hour days. Two and a half days a week, twenty hours, are spent in both elementary and secondary schools. One day per week is spent providing individual and family therapy to referred students in a Youth and Family Center, the Dallas ISD’s nationally recognized program for provision of school-based, physical- and mental-health services. Interns have one-half day per week to dedicate to their secondary rotation. The secondary rotations are one semester of evaluation for special education with Dallas ISD’s Individual Evaluation department and one semester of a placement that meets their individual training goals. Another one-half day per week is set aside for group supervision, training, and research. A half-day, or four hours, per week is reserved for interns to work on completing their dissertations. Documentation of effort, data entry, and two hours of individual supervision per week are folded into the previously outlined work week. In addition, once a month, for an hour and a half, the interns meet for supervision training.

In the schools, interns provide individual and group counseling; consult with parents and school personnel regarding emotional, behavioral, and academic concerns; participate on Student Support Teams (SST) and Foundations Teams; conduct functional behavioral assessments (FBAs), develop behavior intervention plans (BIPs); and participate as members of the Crisis Response Team. Each intern conducts informal assessments (classroom observation, parent/teacher/student interview), formal suicide/violence risk assessments, in addition to 5 to 10 formal special education assessments (actual number depends on competency/experiences prior to internship).

The Youth and Family Centers allow interns the opportunity to broaden counseling experience to include family therapy; consultation with clinic psychiatrists, and assessment for the purpose of DSM-IV-TR (Fourth Edition - Text Revision) diagnosis. This configuration allows the interns broad, continuous exposure to the variety of roles fulfilled by professional school psychologists. Furthermore, the interns’ weekly schedules afford them considerable opportunity to interact with each other as well as other professional and supervisory staff.


The following is a summary of type of students served and time spent:

Type of Students Served:

Regular Education Students



Special Education Students



Youth and Family Center Students



Time Spent




Assessment (formal and informal)









Learning Activities (Professional Development, Professional Issues, Supervision Training)



Research (including dissertation)



The rich range of experiences provided by our internship program prepares the intern for employment in a variety of settings. Many of our former interns are employed as school psychologists across the country. Others are affiliated with universities, either in teaching, counseling, or consulting positions. Several of the interns have chosen to remain with the Dallas Independent School District, including one who became Center Manager for a Youth and Family Center.

The Dallas ISD’s Department of Psychological and Social Services is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). This site participates in the annual APPIC internship matching procedure. Our Program Code Number is 5711.