Ciara Caprara Named School Psychologist of the Year
Ciara Caprara, a psychologist with MCPS for six years, has been named 2021 School Psychologist of the Year by the Montgomery County School Psychologists’ Association (MCSPA). She was nominated and selected by her peers.
For all six years, Caprara has served three elementary schools—Bradley Hills, Chevy Chase and Rock Creek Forest.
She is described as a leader and a team player who brings intellect, compassion, empathy and positivity to the job. Even with a full schedule, she always finds time to support students, families and colleagues. Her kind, creative and patient demeanor allows her to easily connect with students.
Caprara provides individual and group counseling to address students’ needs with anxiety, cognitive flexibility and emotional regulation. She is a gifted data analyst and uses an array of data tools to analyze the impact of academic interventions and to write Functional Behavior Assessments. Colleagues say she is very knowledgeable about educational laws, and that she often helps guide them through difficult situations, while always keeping the conversation student-focused.
At Rock Creek Forest—the largest elementary school in its cluster with more than 700 students—Caprara works with students in multiple, specialized programs, including PEP, autism, prekindergarten inclusion and Spanish immersion. Her assessments, reports and presentations are comprehensive and thoughtful. She also created specialized behavior interventions, visual schedules, social stories and visual coping strategies for multiple students.
As students transitioned to virtual learning, she presented tips for parents to help their kids be successful. She also suggested data-driven approaches to help parents support students’ social and emotional development, and connected them with a mental health provider for further support.
Caprara volunteers her time to support district-level initiatives, including Mental Health Awareness Week. Her contributions were invaluable as she was organized, dedicated and thorough. She contacted presenters, assisting them with creating and recording presentations, and also served as a chat moderator for the virtual resource fair.
Caprara is an active member of MCSPA and the Maryland School Psychologists’ Association (MSPA), and also holds membership with the National Association of School Psychologists. She is the co-chair of the Professional Relations Committee for MCSPA and a member of the Legislative and Public Affairs committees for MSPA.