School Psychologist

Lisa Asperheim, Ed.S., M.A. 

Education: Ed.S. in School Psychology;  M.A. in Counseling and Human Services 

Telephone Number:   612-668-1143


Welcome!  It is a  pleasure to work with the students, staff, and families of Sheridan School.  As we enter the 2017-2018 school year, I also enter my 22nd year providing psychological services to schools and my 12th year of employment with Minneapolis Public Schools.  Prior to working for MPS, I worked in urban, rural, and suburban school districts in the states of Idaho, Washington, Iowa, and Minnesota.  As a former MPS student, however, I am very pleased to be able to be a part of the MPS district and to continue my work with the wonderful students, families and staff of our community.  


What is a School Psychologist?  School psychologists apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community.

What Do School Psychologists Do? School psychologists provide direct support and interventions to students, consult with teachers, families, and other school-employed mental health professionals (i.e., school counselors, school social workers) to improve support strategies, work with school administrators to improve school-wide practices and policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate needed services. They help schools successfully:


Improve Academic Achievement

·         Promote student motivation and engagement

·         Conduct psychological and academic assessments

·         Individualize instruction and interventions

·         Manage student and classroom behavior

·         Monitor student progress

·         Collect and interpret student and classroom data

·         Reduce inappropriate referrals to special education


Promote Positive Behavior and Mental Health

·         Improve students communication and social skills

·         Assess student emotional and behavioral needs

·         Promote problem solving, anger management and conflict resolution

·         Reinforce positive coping skills and resilience

·         Promote positive peer relationships and social problem solving

·         Make referrals to and help coordinate community services provided in schools


Support Diverse Learners

·         Assess diverse learning needs

·         Provide culturally responsive services to students and families from diverse backgrounds

·         Plan appropriate services for students with disabilities

·         Monitor and effectively communicate with parents about student progress


Create Safe, Positive School Climates

·         Prevent bullying and other forms of violence

·         Support social-emotional learning

·         Assess school climate and improve school connectedness

·         Implement and promote positive discipline and restorative justice

·         Implement school-wide positive behavioral supports

·         Identify at risk students and school vulnerabilities

·         Provide crisis prevention and intervention services


Strengthen Family-School Partnerships

·         Help families understand their child's learning and mental health needs

·         Assist in navigating special education processes

·         Connect families with community service providers when necessary

·         Help effectively engage families with teachers and other school staff

·         Enhance staff understanding and responsiveness to diverse cultures and backgrounds

·         Help students transition between school and community learning environments, such as residential treatment or juvenile justice programs


Improve School-Wide Assessment and Accountability Monitor individual student progress in academics and behavior

·         Generate and interpret useful student and school outcome data

·         Collect and analyze data on risk and protective factors related to student outcomes

·         Plan services at the district, building, classroom, and individual levels




What is Special Education?

“Special education” is instruction, specific to a child with a disability, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of that child.

Schools in Minnesota provide comprehensive special education services for students with disabilities from birth through 21 years of age. Guided by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) and Minnesota Rules Chapter 3525, Minnesota schools ensure that students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education.

Special education services are available to students identified with one or more of the following 12 educational disabilities:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Deaf-Blind, Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Emotional or Behavioral Disorders
  • Developmental Cognitive Disability
  • Developmental Delay
  • Other Health Disabilities
  • Physically Impaired
  • Severely Multiply Impaired
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injured
  •  Visually Impaired

It is important to note: Students with disabilities are general education students first. They receive individualized special education support services in conjunction with the general education curriculum.  Special education is an instructional service, not a place.


How can a student receive special education services?

In order for a student to receive special education services, the student must qualify for, and need, services and have an Individual Education Plan (IEP).  An IEP is a comprehensive plan that addresses the unique needs of each individual student who receives special education services.

A comprehensive evaluation is conducted to determine if a student qualifies for services by meeting Minnesota state eligibility criteria under one or more of the 12 educational disability designations.  Once the evaluation is completed, the evaluation team will review the findings and determine if state eligibility is met and the student qualifies for, and needs, special education services.  Parent input into the findings and eligibility is also obtained. 

If the child is found eligible, an IEP is then drafted by the team (including the parents).  If the parent agrees to the proposed IEP, written consent is then obtained and special education services begin.  Special education services cannot begin without an IEP and written parent consent.