who we are
The School Social Work Association of America empowers school social workers and promotes the profession of school social work to enhance the social and emotional growth and academic outcomes of all students.
Our vision is that school social work is a valued, integral part of the education of all children, connecting schools, families and communities.
“SSWAA is the only national organization solely dedicated to promoting the profession of School Social Work.”
Founding SSWAA Members, Edwardsville, IL 1994
History of SSWAA
On July 22, 23 & 24, 1994 in Edwardsville, Illinois 64 participants from 20 states came together to form an organization exclusively representing School Social Workers. Four task forces were established to assist with the organizational structure and Constitution and Bylaws. The fall of 1994, the first SSWAA Luncheon was held at the Midwest School Social Work Conference Milwaukee, Wisconsin and named in honor of I. Lorraine Davis for her long commitment to furthering the cause of School Social Workers. In July of 1995, SSWAA's first annual meeting was held in Minneapolis and was attended by 60 School Social Workers from 26 states as we continued strategic planning. In October of 1995, SSWAA held its first elections and Randy Fisher was elected as our first President. December of 1995, SSWAA hired its first Governmental Relations person to advocate for School Social Workers in Washington, DC. The 2nd annual meeting was then held in Washington DC. After several meetings, February 23, 1996 SSWAA leadership and the NASW School Social Work Section signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the 2 organizations acknowledging the role each play in promoting the profession of School Social Workers and outlining parameters of collaboration between the associations.
Since 1996, SSWAA has continued to hold Summer Leadership/Legislative meetings to assist with leadership development as well as provide advocacy training and opportunities to "Go to the Hill" and lobby members of Congress and their staff. September of 1996, SSWAA joined with the Kentucky Association of School Social Workers and the Midwest School Social Work Council for the first national School Social Work Conference which was held in Louisville, Kentucky. The first national conference was attended by 593 School Social Workers from 34 states. In April of 1998, SSWAA hosted its own 1st National School Social Work Conference in Austin, TX . Later that year, Randy Fisher was one of 120 invited guests to the White House for the "White House Conference on School Safety: Causes and Prevention of Youth Violence." In 2000, Myrna Mandlawitz became our new Governmental Relations Director who continues to work tirelessly in DC on our behalf . For additional highlights of our first 10 year's of development, download our 10th Anniversary SSWAA Power Point.