Roosevelt High School in Washington, DC has a team of 8 school social workers – one of, if not the largest team of school social workers at one school in the District. Roosevelt veteran School Social Worker Erica Cartledge (also the Membership Coordinator for the School Social Work Association of DC, or SSWA DC) shares a little about this dynamic team in the interview below.
Question: Where do you work and how did this group come together?
Answer: We met at Roosevelt High School. Having a Principal with an MSW helped in our
advocacy for more mental health supports in the school resulting in our team of 8!
Q: What types of projects do you work on together?
A: We conduct a number of evidence based groups focused on trauma, grief, relationships, and social skills development. Members of the team also serve on a number of school committees including School Advisory Teams, homecoming, law-firm based mentoring programs, etc.
Q: What is your favorite joint project?
A: Planning resource fairs for the holidays and Wellness Wednesdays.
Q: What benefit do you see in working as a team?
A: We always bounce ideas off each other. It’s like having built-in supervision/coaching at a moment's notice. Due to the large number of clinicians, we don't feel as burned out as we have in the past when the team was smaller.
Q: What strengths do you see in your team members?
A: We didn’t realize it until after the beginning of the school year, but most of our team members have worked together in other schools so we have established rapport with each other. Our greatest strength as a collective is our K-12 experience and our willingness to support each other.
Q: How do you all play to each others' strengths in your work together?
A: We're able to work based on each of our personal interests. Because our interests vary so greatly, we are able to meet more student need in a variety of ways.
Q: How do you support each other?
A: We have a weekly team meeting for two hours. After we take care of the business side, we carve out time for laughter, fun, or venting if need be.
Q: What would be your suggestion for other SSWers in how they might build a supportive group like yours? (especially if they don't have a natural team in their district)
A: It starts with having a seat at the recruitment and interview table. Several of us are on the personnel and budget committee, so we were able to advocate for more social workers on staff.