• Ask a High School Psych!

  • Zachary Maupin

    30 June 2021 at 0 h 54 min

    Hello all! I hope this message finds you well and recharged (fingers crossed) during a relaxing summer. My name is Zack Maupin, I support this group in my role as ‘Ask a High School Psych.’

    Currently, I work in southern California and provide Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS) while maintaining a regular assessment and counseling caseload in several high school settings. I also support the development of programs and procedures to support student mental health across our district. In my “spare time,” I have the privilege to teach graduate courses on mental health in schools, mental health assessment, and clinical supervision at Chapman University. My research areas of interest involve, but are not limited to, evidence-based mental health assessments, school-based mental health services, school refusal behavior, transition supports, and school climate.

    I look forward to meeting, supporting, and learning with each of you! Please post any questions (e.g., high school psych questions, mental health questions, general school psych trivia) here over the Summer Bootcamp!


    • This discussion was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Zachary Maupin.
  • Amanda Rao

    20 July 2021 at 0 h 55 min

    Hi there!

    So ERMHS is an area that I am needing to develop more skills ( this is an area I feel grad school didn’t really focus on). Anyway…. I have tons of questions in relation to ERMHS.

    First, to be legally defensible or best practice…. Does there need to be two separate reports (psychoeducational AND ERMHS) when considering ERMHS services for a student? The reason I ask, I am both the psych and the ERMHS assessor (we do not have MFT’s in my district ). I feel like I have enough in the social emotional section of my psych report to support the need if necessary. Therefore, if I were to complete an ERMHS report too it would basically be the same information.

    Does this make sense? Can everything be in one report?

    • Zachary Maupin

      28 July 2021 at 17 h 56 min

      Hi Amanda! Great to hear from you again. I hope all is going well. Great question Re: ERMHS assessment reports. I’m always eager to discuss AB114 or ERMHS/ERICS related questions!

      In my experience, I have done this both ways- embedded social/emotional or mental health content in a psychoeducational report or written it as a separate report (typically completed by another school psychologist). An ERMHS evaluation, I’ve probably mentioned before, is a made up thing and doesn’t have explanation or guidance in any legal realm that I’m aware of- it’s very subjective to each district. That being said, the purpose of an “ERMHS” evaluation is typically to determine the level of mental health needs to guide your IEP team in what goals should be written and what services would be required. If you have this information in your psychoed report, I wouldn’t see the need to generate an entirely different report- that being said, always follow your district’s protocol.

      I have, however, intentionally kept my reports separate when there is a triennial or psychoed report completed by another school psych. It will inevitably repeat some of the soc/emot content (we collaborate on this portion of the assessment), but I am using the data in a slightly different way (determining services, not eligibility). I have also had bad experiences where someone has changed my content in the collaborative report. In litigious cases, advocates or attorneys often times like to see them as separate entities to help keep things separate or distinct from one another. This can get complicated if you are asked to do an ERMHS evaluation simultaneously with an initial psychoed; because if the student doesn’t qualify for SPED they would not be eligible for ERMHS related services. If, in this scenario, you didn’t collaborate with the school psych doing the psychoed, you may find yourself in an awkward situation where you recommend services, but they did not recommend eligibility.

      Let me know if this helps or if you have further questions!


    • Zachary Maupin

      28 July 2021 at 18 h 21 min

      Things an ERMHS evaluation my consider that a psychoed does not always include:

      – OFAID: Onset, Frequency, Antecedents, Intensity, and Duration of symptoms

      – Psychiatric, medical, developmental, and treatment history

      Severity of behavior, Chronicity, Behavioral change / generalizability, Treatment strength, Treatment integrity, Treatment effectiveness

      An important part of the ERMHS process is establishing what is going on (the problem), what has been tried (past interventions or services), and is change necessary (more, less, or different services). I have seen some districts use the following criteria in ERMHS evaluations:

      “The purpose of this assessment is to determine if further mental health related services are required for Fname to access and benefit from his/her individualized education program. A student may be considered eligible for ERMHS if they…

      …are eligible for special education,

      …are exhibiting significant social, emotional, and/or behavioral challenges that significantly impede access to education or impede the ability to accomplish IEP goals,

      …are not responsive to previous interventions or related services,

      …are deemed to have the capacity to benefit from services, and

      …require ERMHS to benefit from special education in their least restrictive environment.

      ERMHS are defined as related services provided to a student whose emotional and behavioral needs are documented to be more intense in frequency, duration, and intensity; affect their ability to benefit from their special education program; and are manifested in school, at home, and in the community. Therefore, ERMHS are intended to be a higher level of intervention services.”

  • Ana Arenas

    27 July 2021 at 21 h 05 min

    What assessments do you use for vocational ?

    • Zachary Maupin

      28 July 2021 at 18 h 35 min

      Hello Ana, I hope you are well. Regarding ITPs and vocational assessment, I stick to the RIASEC (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional) personality inventory that matches select character traits to vocational areas. It is quick and easy and relates well to other information in my psycho ed reports. I also supplement with some informal tools and interview items (Jerome Sattler’s behavioral assessment handbook has some great transition, post-secondary, and activities of daily living inventories).

      However, there are several other instruments out there. This article has a great review of several tools and the overall process of transition assessment and planning:

      Sitlington, P. L., & Clark, G. M. (2001). Career/Vocational Assessment: A Critical Component of Transition Planning. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 26(4), 5–22. https://doi.org/10.1177/073724770102600402


      Let me know if you have any further questions!


  • Kezhia Rodriguez

    30 July 2021 at 22 h 59 min


    I was just told that my placement will be at my district’s virtual high school (a new program/school) and students will be virtual all year. I wanted to see what type of procedural supports or recommendations you would have for a first-year school psychologist.

    Throughout my internship last year, I supported an elementary and middle school and focused on delivering Tier 1 mental health supports in various classrooms which expanded to some Tier 2 groups. However, going into this year I would like to be more efficient and be able to have teachers, staff, or students refer/self-refer for mental health support as needed. My district is a bit unique in that there is an MFT or MSW designated for each site, so generally, they may support general education students and I may support special education students; however, in some cases, there is an overlap. Additionally, we have a virtual wellness center in place with general resources and activities that is an ongoing collaborative effort between our MFT, MSW, school counselors, and school psychologists.

    Can you expand on some of the systems or forms that you have in place (or needed to adapt to online over the last year) for students, teachers, parents, and staff to refer students or obtain resources for mental health concerns?

    • Zachary Maupin

      5 August 2021 at 5 h 46 min

      Hello Kezhia, great question(s), it sounds like you have some great collaborators to help with your new placement. I would say the first thing to do would be map out what resources your site will have available and who is involved with what. This can look like a simple resource mapping and putting each resource in its respective tier, or could include a formal program evaluation and building a logic model to determine what input/output, short/long-term goals, and other resources are needed. The next step would be establishing what forms your site will use for referrals (a quick checklist with some interview questions to gain info from parents/teachers), consent, and documenting progress monitoring. Then you can maybe delegate which staff (MFT, LCSW, counselor, or school psych) handles which cases at what point. An important next step would be to determine when a student needs more or less services, when a sped evaluation would be needed, and how the school will manage referrals.

      I would also look for social emotional learning resources that have been designed or built for online learning. Also, some telehealth training would be great for all service providers. Let me know if you would like further input or have any further questions!

      Good luck with your new placement next year!


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