Thanks to a new partnership between UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education and its school psychology program, Piedmont students now have access to a Wellness Center intern with more experience than ever before.
PUSD recently joined the Berkeley Psychology Internship Consortium (B-PIC) making Piedmont High School’s Wellness Center an accredited internship site. The B-PIC is made up of Piedmont Unified School District, Oakland Unified School District, and San Francisco Unified School District.
The B-PIC intern in the Wellness Center for 2021-2022 is Nic Saldivar, who worked there last year as a practicum-level therapist. This year, with his additional experience and training, Saldivar is able to provide services to Piedmont students at a lower cost to the district than a licensed psychologist.
Additionally, as part of his internship, Saldivar has responsibilities at the elementary schools providing psychological assessments for special education and intervention.
“The consortium allows us to bring in someone who has a lot more experience and training than we typically attract. Often a majority of therapists we attract are in graduate school and only have one year of class,” said Wellness Center co-clinical supervisor Dr. Alisa Crovetti. “These interns have multiple years in school already, a year of assessment training in schools, and a year of mental health intervention training,” she said.
Crovetti hopes to find money to add an additional B-PIC intern next year. The six therapists in training, including Saldivar, have full caseloads. The Wellness Center is currently seeing 60 students regularly, which doesn’t include students who drop in. It serves middle and high school students by helping them manage emotional and social challenges including stress, depression, grief, relationship conflicts and substance use concerns. The demand for mental health counseling for Piedmont high schoolers skyrocketed during COVID. Referrals to the PUSD Wellness center increased 78% from the 2019-2020 school year to the 2020-2021 school year.
Becoming an accredited internship site allows the Wellness Center to hire more qualified graduate students from a larger pool. “When we do hiring for the internship program it’s a national search with applicants across the country,” said Crovetti.
UC Berkeley school psychology students had been working in local school districts like Piedmont already and the consortium allows for a uniform training program across the school districts. “We enhanced and formalized those partnerships,” said B-PIC co-training director Kate Perry. “Formalizing the internship program allows for quality control and collaboration around one uniform plan for training psychologists,” she said.
The second annual Walk for Wellness, a fundraiser for the Wellness Center, takes place September 20-26. This accessible and socially-distanced event is family-friendly and open to the entire Piedmont community. Details and how to sign up here: