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 Why Hire a School Social Worker?

   "I cannot teach the head when the heart is broken or the mind is troubled" 
       Parkway School District Teacher of the Year, St. Louis, MO

The best teachers with the biggest teaching "bag of tricks", recognize that numerous factors interfere with their ability to reach many of their students.  Children today are increasingly victims of many social forces that negatively affect their role as students.  Many families are in a state of change and until it becomes stabilized, in whatever form, children's unmet physical and emotional needs will continue to interfere with their ability to learn and adjust in school.  School Social Workers are an increasingly common component to student support school services and critical members of a school's Problem Solving Teams. 

School Social Workers fill a unique niche in the school setting as they conduct psycho-social assessments and provide in-depth mental health services for a targeted number of students with more complex social,  emotional and behavioral barriers to learning, typically Tiers 2 and 3 interventions.  School Social Workers are not only trained in mental health concerns but also behavioral concerns; positive behavioral supports; academic and classroom supports; and consultation with teachers, parents and administrators.  As a result, the School Social Worker’s training and skill sets enable them to provide services that are instrumental in furthering the mission of the school in order to improve students' educational functioning and success in school.

Role of the School Social Worker

SSWAA National School Social Work Practice Model:  Improving Academic and Behavioral Outcomes       This page provides complete information regarding SSWAA's model for School Social Work Practice.  

School Social Workers' Role in Addressing Students' Mental Health Needs and Increasing Academic Achievement

School Social Work Services:   A quick, one page resource outlining School Social Work services.

Elements of School Social Work:   Learn some of the elements of School Social Worker's direct and indirect services.  One page bulleted quick glance regarding the role and services areas School Social Workers address.

Frameworks of School Social Work.  Systems level framework for School Social Work Services  2013.   One page diagram

In April, 2013 SSWAA joined the National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of School Psychologists, American School Counselor's Association, National Association of School Resource Officers to develop  A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools    This document outlines the various roles that we each play in schools. 

NASW School Social Work Standards   2012

Overview of School Based Mental Health Services  Joint document regarding School Based Mental Health by the School Social Work Association of America, the American School Counselors Association and the National Association of School Psychologists

"Removing Barriers to Learing:  Make specialized instructional support personnel a part of your team to help ensure the success of all students"  Principal Leadership, September, 2013

Responding to the Mental Health Needs of Students       National Association of Secondary School Principals, 2006

"The School Social Worker in Crisis Situations:  The Right Skills, The Right Professional"

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has provided an excellent article outlining the value of School Social Workers in Crisis Situations.  The article notes:  "School Social Workers (SSWs) are extensively trained to manage and deal with crisis--providing an advantage in assisting school administrators and teaching personnel."  "They are trained to triage to determine priorities during emergencies."  "When crisis occur, they are trained and experienced in delivering difficult and sensitive information...that is  age-appropriate and culturally sensitive."   "Whether the crisis is outside of the school or if the crisis directly affects the school community, support, guidance, and expertise is needed to manage the crisis and lead the recovery."  "Needs persist long after the traumatic event and SSWs work closely with school administration and teachers to determine when children or families require ongoing support."  

School Social Work ad.   One page flier

A Day in the Life of a School Social Worker:  DVD Available for purchase.

Need Help With a Job Description?

 For samples of Job Descriptions for  your consideration,  please click here. 

Ready to Hire?

If you need help with interview questions, please feel free to review a list of questions that you may wish to choose from.  If you have a job position available, we would be happy to assist you by posting a free job opening ad for you.    Check out our Career Center to post your position and/or access resumes. 

How Do I Evaluate a School Social Worker?

As School Social Workers, we often do not fit into typical district forms for employment or evaluation. As a result, teacher evaluation forms are often used to evaluate school social workers.  The School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) National Evaluation Framework for School Social Work Practice (2013) is adapted from The Framework for Teaching Evaluation Instrument (2013) by Charlotte Danielson, published by the Danielson Group.   The SSWAA National Evaluation Framework for School Social Work Practice (2013) is cross-walked with the SSWAA National School Social Work Practice Model (2013) and the National Association of Social Workers Standards for School Social Work Services (2012).  School systems are invited to adapt this evaluation framework to meet specific needs for evaluating their school social work programs and services.

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