Submitted by Mike Adams, Past President of the School Social Workers Association of Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri
School Social Workers direct our district Community Response Team, a community based organization but driven by efforts of our school social workers. This team provides networking and referral but took it further by beginning to raise funds (~$8000 a year now and growing) to use for families that don’t qualify for regular assistance or when that assistance is not available. This has created positive publicity for the district and given administrators a resource to which to direct parents.
One of our fundraisers for the above was a district wide health/weight lost campaign focused on staff but also containing a fundraising component. Both staff and our student’s families benefited as did the district with further positive publicity as well as doing something positive for staff that was connected to SSWs.
Several of us have become active on the various district committees such as Health Advisory, Suicide Prevention, Parent Involvement, and Behavior Guide committees.
Volunteer to assist with grant writing that can bring in funds to your district as well as valuable programs e.g. Safe Schools/Healthy Students; Suicide Prevention: Dropout Prevention; etc.
Serve on Committees
Volunteer to be active with building and district level committees and other endeavors such as RTI and PBIS. School Social Workers have the skill sets to not only participate but take a leadership role.
Demonstrate how our role can be integrated into the mission of the school district. School Social Workers have the skill sets t
have integrated our roles making it more difficult to consider replacing us. Our assistant superintendent directly in charge of SSWs, knows and appreciates that she can count on us to step up for additional activities. This has lead to SSWs becoming a key component in other committees representing the superintendent re: mental health such as our NCADA Networking committee, the Gateway Youth Suicide Prevention Resources Partnership, and the University of Missouri Partnership for Education Renewal.
RTI & PBIS
Take an active role in developing PBIS and RTI models in your schools and district. School Social Workers are key components in the RTI process. Show others how your services can make a difference for the educational outcomes of students.
If you are not already collecting and using data, start. Assist with data collection and progress monitoring as part of RTI . Develop statistics regarding your own caseload services. Align your data with the mission of the school district.
Align Yourself with Issues Important to Administration
We also look at the issues important to administration such as attendance and have placed referral to SSWS as a part of the procedure and are working to show that we can impact attendance improvement.
We have SSWs that are recognized publicly for awards and efforts in the community such as one of our SSW’s being written up in the news for being honored by the North County Churches United for Racial Harmony and Justice.
We established a SSW of the Year award in our district so we could be further recognized for our contribution.
Volunteering to write procedures such as a Crisis Intervention and Postvention procedure and tools, parts of which are now being shared with other schools and organizations.
Belong to Your Professional Organizations
The School Social Workers Association of Missouri (SSWAM) has begun establishing a list of district superintendents so we may send a reminder regarding SSW month and may consider other appropriate information pieces we could direct to districts’ leadership.
Joining and actively supporting SSWAM and SSWAA is obviously an important resource, but I just wanted to list it here as an emphasis.