Psych Savvy is written by the Anchorage School District's Psychology Department


Student Support Teams A Student Support Team (SST) is a group of school-based professionals that assist a classroom teacher in problem-solving and developing interventions to increase student academic and behavioral success at school.

Executive Function Skills

The term "executive function" is used to describe a set of cognitive skills that we use in order to attain goals, adapt to new challenges, and make decisions. December 2011

Working Through School Refusal

 A student's refusal to attend school can quickly become a stressful experience for everyone involved. Understanding the causes of school refusal and the knowledge of the steps to take to problem-solve this issue is critical in order to identify an effective solution. September 2011


When parents think of a bully, they might imagine a mean kid on the playground or a tough guy waiting around the corner; however, their students could have a completely different idea. These days, some of the biggest bullies may never be seen nor heard. Worst of all, these bullies have the ability to engage in “electronic bashing” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. August 2007

Self-Injurious Behaviors: Parent Handout

Self-injury is the deliberate and repetitive action of harming one’s body without intending to cause death. It can be cutting, burning, repeatedly hitting your head, scratching, biting, or even picking at scabs so that wounds will not heal. This behavior is usually done secretly and often in a way that wounds can be concealed afterwards. December 2006
Television: Implications for Child Development
Does television viewing affect your child's development? Many people are interested in whether television adversely affects a child's attention span, activity level, and concentration. For example, Christakis, Zimmerman, DiGiuseppe, and McCarty (2004) concluded parents and caregivers could reduce the chances a child might develop ADHD by limiting television viewing of young children. November 2005
Improving School Attendance
Regular school attendance is important for so many reasons. Strong attendance is highly related to academic progress, self-esteem, graduation rates, and exposure to a variety of learning experiences and persons of diverse backgrounds. November 2004

The Teenage Brain

There is strong research emerging about how changes to the brain during adolescence influence the typical adolescent behaviors of moodiness and recklessness. The brain has been found to make major changes between the ages of 10-20. January 2004

Thinking of Moving?

Moving means a change of teachers, friends, and often curriculum. Students must adjust to different teacher and school expectations. Students who change schools are likely to find their new teacher is not using the same textbook as the previous teacher. If the same text is being used, it is highly likely the students are in a different part of the book. You may find your child ends up skipping some chapters and repeating other chapters. September 2003

Helping Middle School Students Make the Transition into High School

Starting high school is a major rite of passage for adolescents. Young adolescents entering high school look forward to having more choices and making new and more friends, though changing schools and especially moving to a large school can be an academic and social risk factor. August 2003

Developing Assets: A Framework for Success

Too few young people grow up experiencing key ingredients for healthy development, including support from adults, relationships that cross generations, and/or hear consistent messages about boundaries and values. Much of the responsibility and capacity for the healthy development of youth is in the hands of the general public, America’s people. April 2003
First Steps for Dealing with Attention Problems in the Classroom
Every year teachers will have students whose difficulties paying attention, completing work, staying organized and maintaining self control negatively impact their school progress. Attention problems exist on a continuum from mild to severe and can have a variety of causes (e.g. ADHD, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, epilepsy, acculturation/language acquisition issues, hearing problems, autism, traumatic experiences and health problems). February 2003

Talking with Children about Cancer

A parent getting the news that she or he has cancer has many decisions to make. Among them is what to say to the children. Family routines will change, priorities shift, and children will always know that something is different. They deserve to be told, but what is appropriate to share at differing developmental levels? January 2003
Fluctuating Hearing Loss in Young Children
Children who have a history of recurrent middle ear infections (chronic otitis media) have a significantly higher incidence of the following social and educational characteristics. November 2001

Depression in Adolescents

Depression is a common and universal part of the human experience. It can occur at any age and have multiple causes and symptoms. The onset of depression can be gradual or sudden, brief or long-term. Recognizing depression can be very difficult in teens because it co-exists with other disorders such as anxiety, drug/alcohol abuse or Attention Deficit Disorder and because of the normal mood swings common in adolescence. October 2001

Children and Divorce

Each year about one million children experience a family divorce. Over half of these children have no contact with their fathers after divorce. Many children do, however, have regular contact with the non-custodial parent. These visits are very important to a positive divorce adjustment. Divorce is distressing for children, but most children adjust to this change in their family within two years. Divorce is increasingly being seen as a difficult experience on the path to growth, rather than a tragedy from which no one recovers. September 2001

School Dropout Prevention

A school dropout is likely to earn one-half as much as a high school graduate. They are three times more likely to live in poverty in comparison to persons who complete their high school education. Over the course of a person’s lifetime, each year’s dropouts will cost $200 billion dollars in lost earning and tax revenue. April 2001

Battling Bullying

Bullying can be manifested as physical or verbal threats, racial or sexual harassment, name-calling or rude gestures, which aim to intimidate, extort or provoke fear in the victim. This harassment usually occurs repeatedly over a period of time and is unprovoked. Boys tend to be more physically aggressive than girls who use more ridicule and teasing in their bullying. February 2001

Victimization and School-Age Populations

Victims are not significantly different in behavior, appearance or ability from non-victims except for possible lesser physical strength. Both sexes are equally vulnerable for victimization. Olweus describes at least two types of victims: "passive" who are anxious, insecure, fail to defend themselves and "provocative" who are hot-tempered, restless, irritating and teasing. April 1999

Study Skills

September: The beginning of a new school year. For most of you the year begins with a fresh start and high hopes for your children’s success in school. Even the youngest school aged children can begin to develop patterns now that will speak to their future organization and planning skills. September 1998

Testing, Testing 1, 2

As students proceed through the education system they will take many tests. This article will explain some of the tests a student may experience and what the various test scores mean. April 1998

Children and Responsibility

Society today places a high priority on responsibility in children. However, with the conflicting advice offered in books, magazines, and newspaper columns, parents may feel confused as to exactly what a responsible child is, and what, if anything, can be done to encourage responsibility in children. April 1995
Children and Organizational Skills
All too often we take for granted that the ability to organize, plan and work efficiently is somehow present in all individuals. Even more surprisingly, we seem to assume that children have such skills. Consequently, when problems exist in these skill areas, they are often blamed on lack of motivation, procrastination, laziness, avoidance, or irresponsibility. Organization program cut across race, age, intellectual level and economic status. Many bright, emotionally stable children exhibit poor organizational skills.
Children and Holidays: A Holiday Survivor's Guide to Parent Handout
The holiday season is rapidly approaching. Along with good times and good food, all too often, comes a bit of STRESS. A season full of goodness and merriment becomes taxed with increased tension, headaches, heartburn, and STRESS for many families. November 1992
Praise and Rewards
Most of us appreciate a "pat on the back" recognition for our accomplishments. Children and teens are not exceptions. Acknowledging the attempts and successes of young people can help promote positive relationships between adults and children. Acknowledgment can also assist children and adolescents in development positive feelings about themselves. February 1991 
Homework - Whose Job Is It, Anyway?
Homework, work assigned for completion outside the school day is a fact of school life. In the early grades, it may be as simple as studying spelling words. As students progress, assignments become more complicated and include projects that take weeks to finish. February 1990 
Goal Directed Conferences
The short informational parent teacher conferences held in the fall are often seen as an end in themselves. While in many cases a short conference is all that is needed, for some students further longer conferences designed to meet a specific goal are necessary. October 1989


















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