Date of Conferral







Bonnie Nastasi


AbstractInternationally, formalized school psychology and related services strive to address the academic and mental health of students in schools. In developing nations, teachers are the primary professionals to address students’ needs in schools. Little research has focused on teachers’ perceptions of students’ needs, available services’ quality, and how formalized structures with qualified certified professionals can further address students’ needs. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems and Nastasi’s participatory culture-specific intervention model are the theoretical underpinnings of this qualitative study and focus group interviews were used to investigate special education needs (SEN) teachers’ perceptions. Data were collected using open ended questions and probes with 18 SEN teachers in Grenada. Data analysis comprised reviewing interview transcripts, applying coding stages, and conducting theme generation to answer the research questions. Results revealed teachers perceived that students demonstrated difficulties in academic performance, social emotional functioning, and with their mental health. Results further revealed services were insufficient, quality ranged from totally unhelpful to significantly helpful, and that formalized services are urgently needed and desired. SEN teachers verbalized challenges but had a vision of how formalized school psychological services within a collaborative approach (including SEN teachers, school psychologist, and counselors) would support and address student needs. Implications for positive social change include teacher preparation and competence, stakeholder input into policies and procedures, and contextually derived roles for a future school psychologist that would help students develop their fullest potential.