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School Psychology for the 21st Century

Third Edition
Foundations and Practices

Kenneth W. Merrell, Ruth A. Ervin, Gretchen Gimpel Peacock, and Tyler L. Renshaw

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May 4, 2022
ISBN 9781462549535
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334 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
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334 Pages
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Now in a revised and updated third edition reflecting a decade of changes in the field, this leading text prepares new practitioners to support all students' academic, behavioral, and social–emotional success. The multiple roles and functions of the school psychologist are described and illustrated with vivid vignettes. Readers gain vital skills for planning and implementing evidence-based prevention and intervention efforts and collaborating to facilitate systems change. Guided by a problem-solving perspective, the book provides tools for effective, culturally responsive practice in today's diverse schools. End-of-chapter discussion questions and activities enhance learning.

New to This Edition

“In its third edition, School Psychology for the 21st Century remains the introductory text that all school psychologists in training should read. The focus on problem solving and multi-tiered systems of support aligns perfectly with current standards and practices in the field. This is an excellent text for introductory school psychology courses as well as for current practitioners who want to expand their skills.”

—T. Chris Riley-Tillman, PhD, Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Missouri–Columbia

“Since the first edition, I have enjoyed this text's comprehensive coverage of the central domains of the field, its focus on data-driven problem-solving strategies, and its consistent insights and forward-thinking approach. I appreciate the changes in the third edition, including updated data on who school psychologists are and what they do, newly published assessment instruments, emerging intervention frameworks, and heightened emphasis on positive psychology constructs, including social–emotional health. I highly recommend this book for first-year graduate students in school psychology and for university trainers seeking to broaden their views and adjust their vantage points, consistent with progress in the field.”

—Randy G. Floyd, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Memphis

“This stellar work is a comprehensive foundational text for graduate students who are learning critical aspects of the profession. The updated third edition further integrates the problem-solving model, tiered supports, and data-driven practices into each chapter. New topics that reflect important trends in the field have been astutely chosen and emphasized. Offering a deep and broad introduction to the field, the text presents critical information that is easily accessed, well researched, and illustrated with realistic and interesting examples. Thoughtful discussion questions at the end of each chapter guide students to explore ways they can apply the content.”

—Ellie Young, PhD, NCSP, Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education, Brigham Young University

“A comprehensive text that provides a highly relevant and timely introduction to the field. This engaging text is a great choice for an introductory graduate course in school psychology and can be a resource to practitioners. The discussion questions and activities at the end of each chapter will be useful for readers to extend what they have learned and deepen their understanding of the content. I look forward to using the third edition in my courses.”

—Stacy-Ann A. January, PhD, NCSP, Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, University of South Florida

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to the Field of School Psychology sample

2. The Historical Context of School Psychology

3. Facilitating Change through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and Data-Driven Problem Solving

4. Becoming Culturally Responsive: Diversity and Multicultural Issues in School Psychology, with Rebecca Martinez

5. Becoming a School Psychologist: Training and Credentialing Issues

6. Working as a School Psychologist: Employment Trends, Opportunities, and Challenges

7. Legal and Ethical Issues in School Psychology

8. The School Psychologist’s Role in Assessment

9. The School Psychologist’s Role in Prevention and Intervention: Part 1. Academic Performance and Skill Development

10. The School Psychologist’s Role in Prevention and Intervention: Part 2. Social–Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health

11. The School Psychologist’s Role in Research and Evaluation

12. Moving the Field Forward: Mapping the Future of School Psychology

About the Authors

Kenneth W. Merrell, PhD, until his death in 2011, was Professor of School Psychology and Director of the Oregon Resiliency Project at the University of Oregon. For 25 years, Dr. Merrell’s influential teaching and research focused on social–emotional assessment and intervention for at-risk children and adolescents and social–emotional learning in schools. He published over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles; several books and nationally normed assessment instruments; and the Strong Kids programs, a comprehensive social and emotional learning curriculum. Dr. Merrell was the Founding Editor of The Guilford Practical Intervention in the Schools Series. He was a Fellow of the Division of School Psychology (Division 16) and the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Division 53) of the American Psychological Association. In 2011 he received the Senior Scientist Award from Division 16, the Division’s highest honor for excellence in science, and the Outstanding Contributions to Training Award from the National Association of School Psychologists. Dr. Merrell’s contributions to the field of school psychology will continue to live on in his published works, in the many students he mentored over the course of his career, and through the manner in which he touched the lives of his colleagues on both a professional and personal level.

Ruth A. Ervin, PhD, is Associate Professor (part-time) at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Dr. Ervin's teaching and research interests include promoting systems-level change to address research-to-practice gaps in school settings; collaborative consultation with school personnel, parents, and other service providers for the prevention and treatment of emotional and/or behavioral disorders via a data-driven, solution-oriented problem-solving approach; and linking assessment to intervention to promote academic performance and socially significant outcomes for school-age children.

Gretchen Gimpel Peacock, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Utah State University, where she is a member of the school psychology program faculty. She regularly supervises psychology practicum students in an early intervention setting. Dr. Gimpel Peacock’s publications and professional presentations focus on child behavior problems and family issues related to child behaviors, as well as professional issues in school psychology. Dr. Gimpel Peacock serves on the editorial advisory boards of several school psychology–related journals.

Tyler L. Renshaw, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at Utah State University, where he is Director of the School Psychology Program. He teaches graduate seminars in school mental health and supervises a team of graduate students who provide multitiered mental health services in local public schools. Dr. Renshaw’s research focuses on investigating practices that drive mental health work in schools, with particular focus on developing brief rating scales and testing mindfulness-based interventions. He is a former Editor-in-Chief for Assessment for Effective Intervention, a current Associate Editor for School Psychology Review, and an editorial board member for several other scholarly journals.


Rebecca S. Martinez, PhD, Indiana UniversityBloomington


School psychology students and practitioners.

Course Use

Serves as a primary text in such courses as Introduction to School Psychology and School Psychology: Roles and Functions.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

Second Edition, © 2012
ISBN: 9781609187521

First Edition, © 2006
ISBN: 9781593852504
New to this edition: