BURRILLVILLE – In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, June 6, Burrillville School District’s Laura Dittrich was named the RI School Psychologist of the Year for 2023 by the Rhode Island School Psychologists Association.
Dittrich, who is based at Steere Farm Elementary School, has reportedly worked in Burrillville for the past eight years.
“Mrs. Dittrich is passionate about supporting students in developing their cognitive, academic, social-emotional, and life skills,” said Supt. Michael Sollitto of the announcement. “She provides direct services to students through individual and group counseling, social skills instruction, and academic interventions. She naturally connects with students and creates a safe and supportive environment for them to learn and grow.”
Sollitto said Dittrich is also an outstanding crisis intervention counselor, providing timely and effective support to students and families during times of crisis.
“She is highly skilled in helping students to manage their emotions and develop coping strategies to navigate difficult situations,” he said.
School administration joined Dittrich’s student support services team and colleagues from across the district, surprising her during a student assembly Tuesday at Steere Farm. The annual award recognizes a school psychologist who provides services in an exemplary manner that is in line with National Association of School Psychologists practice standards, demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities; and earning the respect of peers and colleagues.
According to the superintendent, Dittrich clearly fits the bill. The RISPA Board reviewed nominations, submitted by co-workers, administrators and students, from across the state. The Burrillville School Department’s Director of Pupil Personnel Services David Alba nominated Dittrich.
“She is a leader in our district, providing professional development opportunities to her colleagues and advocating for the importance of school psychology in promoting positive student outcomes,” he said.
Sollitto notes the psychologist also understands the importance of collaboration between home, school, and community.
“She works closely with families to ensure that they are actively involved in their child’s education and development,” he said. “She is an innovative and forward-thinking school psychologist, always seeking out new and practical approaches to support student learning and well-being.”