Social workers serve as advocates, mentors, therapists, analysts, community liaisons, activists, and visionaries. Social workers work in schools, mental health clinics, hospitals, prisons, retirement communities, corporations, and in government. We are everywhere.
School social workers serve to assess students’ overall functioning, provide therapeutic and crisis management services, advocate for children, connect families with community resources, and facilitate workshops for the school community on topics like stress management and mental health.
What does this look like?
Using evidenced based strategies to promote best informed interventions for students
Using both qualitative and quantitative data to support interventions
Jumping in to help a student work through a crisis (divorce, move, death in family, etc.)
Meeting with students one on one consistently to provide strategies to improve their ability to engage and interact appropriately socially and emotionally with adults and peers
To provide strategies and resources for teachers to best promote social and emotional well-being for their students
Gather and utilize community strategies to help students and families know their rights and be able to meet their own needs
Provide support for parents so that home-school interventions are effective
When would a student need social work support?
If a student in your class appears to not understand or be able to gain and maintain friendships
If a student in your classroom has lagging social skills
If a student in your class struggles to understand his/her emotions and needs tools to help them self-regulate
If a student in your class has excess mental health needs that are impeding their learning
If a student in your class needs some temporary support due to grief/loss, natural disaster, car accident, divorce, conflict at home, etc.
If a student in your class needs support being able to advocate for themselves or needs strategies to build self-confidence
If a student in your class needs excess support with problem solving, organization, being on task, being able to keep track of assignments, etc. (beyond what is expected per their grade level)
When might the school social worker help me as a teacher?
Providing resources for the whole class or one student that will help them be successful
Providing training regarding mental health, trauma, self-regulation, etc. that can help create an inclusive learning environment
Observing students to help make decisions that will impact that child’s learning
Creating a safe space where you as a teacher are heard and validated in your concerns and offered support as needed
Being a constant listening ear when you need to blow off steam
Teaching social and emotional related lessons in the classroom to grow students understanding of skills in this area