Who are School Social Workers?
School social work is a specialized area of practice within the broad field of the social work profession. School social workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school system and the Student Services Team. School social workers are instrumental in furthering the purpose of the schools: To provide a setting for teaching, learning, and for the attainment of competence and confidence. School social workers are hired by school districts to enhance the district's ability to meet its academic mission, especially where home, school and community collaboration is the key to achieving that mission.
What School Social Workers Do
School social workers play a unique role in the schools as they work with school staff, students, families, and community agencies in removing barriers to education. Historically, the foremost role of the school social worker is that of a home-school-community liaison. Although the field of school social work has evolved considerably with the dynamic changes of society, and school social workers function as change agents more so than ever before, they continue to serve as the vital link between home, school, and community. Some of the many services provided by school social workers in ACPS include the following:
Consultation and Education
- Confer with school personnel to sensitize them to student-family-school-community relations which affect a student's school performance.
- Provide consultation at the system level to enhance classroom/school climate for success, promote optimal learning, improve interpersonal skills, and alleviate barriers to good adjustment.
- Develop and present appropriate parent education workshops within schools.
- Collaborate with school personnel to develop additions to the curriculum in the areas of mental health, social welfare, and family life education.
Direct Services to Students and Families
- Provide clinically appropriate counseling and/or therapeutic services to individual students, groups of students, and families when students show high levels of "at risk" symptoms for school failure.
- Provide crisis intervention and counseling.
- Provide timely support for the system's transient students and their parents to facilitate each student's adjustment to the academic program and to enhance social success.
Child Study Committee
- Function as an integral member of the Child Study Committee when screening students referred by school staff and/or parents to determine appropriate interventions.
- Complete social histories for the social-cultural component of new and triennial multi-disciplinary referrals for Special Education.
- Function as an integral member of the Eligibility Committee to determine student eligibility for Special Education programs.
Case Management of Clients with Interagency Involvement
- Manage and follow through on the multi-agency services provided to students and their families, particularly as the needs and services impact the educational adjustment of students.
- Serve as liaison between school and community agencies in respect to reporting child abuse/neglect.
- Secure the services of other agency staff to assist with providing services to individual and/or groups of students.
- Promote and reinforce regular attendance with students, families, teachers, and administrators.
- Intervene in instances of chronic truancy and non-attendance of students.
- Provide appropriate interventions to prevent school "drop-out" in conjunction with established school and community programs.
School social work programs in ACPS strengthen the home/school/community partnership and address barriers to student learning. Our school social workers serve as catalysts in promoting student wellbeing and successful completion of school. ACPS is fortunate in that all of our elementary schools are staffed with a full-time social worker; middle and secondary schools have two or more school social workers in order to provide for the diverse needs of our school population. Several of our school social workers are bilingual.