Lissette Goas named School Psychologist of the Year
The second week of April, Lissette Goas received quite a surprise when she stopped by the Lee County School District’s main office to drop off paperwork, one that still had her smiling a week later.
She was named the School Psychologist of the Year for the district.
The psychologist, who began working for the district 22 years ago, found a home once a week at The Sanibel School 10 years ago this August. Goas also does Spanish testing throughout the district because she is bilingual, as well as sitting in as the school psychologist for Heights Elementary School.
She travels to other schools in the south zone of the district to conduct Spanish testing. Goas said she has to follow a certain time frame for completion of the testing.
“I think it is the contact with the students,” she said of why she has enjoyed the profession so much. “It really is the fun part. Having conversations with them. It’s the kids that keep you going.”
Goas decided to get into school psychology after finishing a college degree in psychology.
“At the time I knew there was not a lot you could do with just that, so I looked into several fields in psychology. I was living in Miami at the time. One of the things that was being offered was industrial psychology and school psychology,” she said. “I thought that really interested me, the school psychology part. It’s really good to be able to work with students one-on-one.”
Over the years, Goas said she wished she had some foresight in writing down some of the answers she receives from the tests she gives to the students.
“A lot of the kids here are really smart and they score really well on the tests,” she said.
Goas gives a gamut of tests ranging from gifted IQ tests, learning disabilities, achievement and cognitive processing. She said typically the teachers are instrumental in helping her identify which tests the students may need to take.
“It’s like a CSI episode because you are going in there and trying to listen to everybody’s concerns. When you ask questions from the teachers, they usually pinpoint the issue right there and then. They will say I teach him something and he comes back a couple of days later he has forgot what I taught him,” Goas said. “That pretty much tells me what kind of tests to use to verify that.”
With 22 years under her belt, she is able to listen to the teachers and feel out the areas that she needs to look into. Before meeting with the student she observes them in the classroom unanimously as part of the evaluation before testing takes place.
“It’s a team effort. If the teachers were not giving their input it would take forever to give every single test we have,” Goas said. “You can be very, very smart and still have a learning disability.”
She said when she talks to parents she tells them to not think their child is not smart because they are having a hard time processing information. Goas said it all comes down to teaching how they learn better.
After the results of the tests are determined and Goas finishes working with the student she puts together a report that provides information for the parent and the school. She said she meets with the parents and the ESE teacher.
“If the child is eligible for the exceptional student education services they put together an individual education plan, which covers the areas we have talked about at that meeting. It is tailored to the students needs,” Goas said. “It is a very lengthy process and I know sometimes it is difficult for the parent to wait that long. You wouldn’t want to rush it.”
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