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Cradlerock ES Psychologist Named Howard County School Psychologist of the Year

February 7th, 2024

CRES school psychologist Laura Smith-Grose smiling as people clap for her.

At a surprise gathering in January, Cradlerock Elementary School (CRES) psychologist Laura Smith-Grose was named Howard County School Psychologist of the Year by the Howard County School Psychologists Association (HCSPA). The annual award is given to a school psychologist with at least five years of experience who works directly with students to provide a full range of psychological services, and who excels in each area of the National Association of School Psychologists Practice Model.

In being named Howard County School Psychologist of the Year, Smith-Grose is now a candidate for the Maryland School Psychologist of the Year.

“Dr. Smith-Grose goes above and beyond her expected duties to help all staff members at Cradlerock,” says CRES special educator Laura Miranda, who touts Grose-Smith’s ability to listen to students and staff and make them feel heard. “Dr. Smith-Grose consistently has a very positive/ upbeat attitude, even in the face of some very difficult situations. She is extremely knowledgeable about information in and out of her field.”

CRES staff outside CRES holding letters that spell "Dr. G."

“Dr. Smith-Grose conducts herself in a professional manner across all settings. She always provides evidence-based, data-driven, culturally responsive, and compliant information to aid staff and families in making appropriate decisions for our students,” add Miranda and CRES special educator Kelsey Riordan.

“[Dr. Smith-Grose] is a staunch advocate for inclusivity and a champion of restorative practice,” according to CRES assistant principals Deanna Mingo and Katie Murray. “It is common practice for [her] to meet with parents to address their emotional concerns in an effort to improve school relationships, deepen our family-school partnerships, and foster a greater sense of belonging.”

HCPSS psychological services staff with Laura Smith-Grose.

“Laura embodies the qualities of an outstanding school psychologist and her practice aligns with the [National Association of School Psychologists] Practice Model,” adds Mary Nalepa, president of HCSPA and an HCPSS school psychologist. “We are confident that Laura will represent us well at the state level selection.”

Smith-Grose has worked as a school psychologist in Howard County since 2005, and at CRES since 2018. Prior to that, she worked with students and families at ​Long Reach High School and Pointers Run Elementary School. For several years she co-taught a course on family-professional collaboration to educators at Towson University and served on the county school crisis team. She also has been a school psychologist intern supervisor for ​nine interns, many of whom were hired by HCPSS.