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Where's the PD Coordinator?: A reflection on 6 months at SSWAA

As always, no matter what time of day you are reading this, I will ALWAYS start with: Just in case no one has told you yet today, Good morning! You belong here, you are appreciated, you are valued, thank you for being you! You Matter!

Many of our readers already know that I am just now making my first six months as the NEW Professional Development Coordinator for SSWAA!! If you read my introduction post back in January, you also know that I am a School Social Worker, a Social Work Supervisor, an Educator, and a Lifelong Learner! You may not know that I have been a SSWAA member for years, and I am obsessed with all things professional development and basically, anything related to forwarding on our wonderful profession!!

Over the past six months, I have been able to meet so many wonderful school social workers from across the nation and a few internationally! It has been such a wonderful learning experience, and I found out that jumping in right when conference season is in full swing leads to a full-blown appreciation of how much it truly takes for this small but mighty staff to create and curate a meaningful, diverse, and intentional space of learning, networking, and joy for our AMAZING membership!

I’ve spent the past six months at SSWAA learning, developing, and doing my best to lay the scaffolding that will help me build and enhance the professional development programming SSWAA offers for years to come! I truly believe in education and professional development and recognize that we can NEVER have too much. I’ve worked with this WONDERFUL SSWAA staff and board on new ways to meet member needs and increase the professional development we can offer; based on your feedback, you LOVE what SSWAA does; but want more, more, more!

I must pause and reflect a bit on my time as a SSWAA member…I attended conferences most years; I held my professional liability insurance with SSWAA; and….well…actually, that was it! My connection with SSWAA was great, it enhanced my abilities as a professional, but it was once a year (I got my CEs, and moved on…until the next year…)

Well, you lovely humans who are reading this, you are SO LUCKY that you get to learn from my mistakes!! I mean, we all make mistakes; we are human beings…totally okay. However, the best part about mistakes is when we learn from them! I now know that SSWAA does sooooooooooooo much more than just Conference! Don’t be me…don’t just go to the Annual Conference and unplug from SSWAA for the rest of the year…

Quick Quiz: (sorry, it’s the professor in me 😁)

1. The School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) provides Professional Development all year long?

a. True

b. False

2. SSWAA has Continuing Education (CE) opportunities and programming that includes:

a. Annual Conference

b. On-going Live Webinars

c. Asynchronous On-Demand CEs

d. A National Certification just for School Social Workers (NCSSW)

e. All of the Above


1. TRUE!! (SSWAA offers CEs all year long, not just at the Annual Conference)

2. e. ALL OF THE ABOVE (SSWAA has ongoing PD offerings, including the Annual Conference, ongoing live webinars throughout the year, an AMAZING National Certification that shows advanced practice expertise in our specific field, and BRAND NEW: On-Demand CEs through our new SSWAAed**keep reading).

This year is SSWAA’s 30th Birthday/Anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than by creating new spaces and places of intentional belonging for ALL School Social Workers?

· SSWAA has launched a BRAND NEW On-Demand CE platform where you can go to our one-stop-shop for all things PD!

· We are launching “SSWAA Office Hours” very soon, which will be a regular, virtual meeting space where all members can come, belong, self-care together, and network with SSWAA members from across the Nation!

· We have SO MANY Professional Development Resources it is hard to keep track! So the SSWAA team is working on a revamp just for y’all!!

For ALL SSWAA members, we have just launched our NEW Learning Management System, SSWAAed, which is an online, on-demand CE superstore! You are able to create an account with SSWAAed and self-select to enroll in any of our pre-recorded, asynchronous recordings; if you need to add a few extra hours of training, or you still attend that webinar you couldn’t fit into your schedule, or to go back and learn a bit more from some of our FREE archived courses to add to your toolkit!! We will continuously be recording and adding to this On-Demand Library all year long! Check out all the CEs we have to offer on SSWAAed TODAY!!

  • Attention Members (Premier, Full, Student, and Retired): SSWAAed has a discount code JUST FOR YOU on your on-Demand CE needs!! Every month, the Membership (excluding Basic) Promo Code for the month will be sent out in the eBell. BE SURE to keep an eye on your communications from SSWAA to get EVEN MORE perks from your continued membership!

This year, SSWAA is starting a brand-new adventure into more intentional spaces of belonging, support, and connection! SSWAA Office Hours will be the place to virtually sign-on throughout the month when you want or need to connect with others! We all find ourselves siloed in our work, many of us are the ONLY school social worker in the district, and we reach out to our trusted colleagues for consolation and guidance all the time…NOW, SSWAA Office Hours can be another source of support to add to your repertoire! We will host open networking meetings focused on self-care, building relationships, and just seeing what others are doing in other states when they face similar concerns as us. Tune in to these FREE online networking events SOON!! (**Calendar of Events for Fall will be out shortly for all Members!!)

SSWAA offers LIVE, synchronous virtual webinars basically every month! Did you know you can register and tune in to get CEs, expand your knowledge, elevate your practice, and engage with other School Social Workers from across the Nation? From the comfort of your office, your home, or your (wherever)…you can take an hour to intentionally pause and increase your knowledge regarding various topics, from a diverse group of folks, EVERY MONTH!! Check out our PD Calendar to register for our wonderful events! (**Keep an eye out; our Fall Line-Up Calendar of Events will be coming out soon!!)

***These webinars are also an AMAZING space to elevate yourself as a leader in the field!! Do you know about a specific population or concern that others deal with as School Social Workers? Have you ever wanted to present but were unsure if you had enough information or didn’t have a platform to try it out? Email me at, and let’s set it up!! I am here to elevate your voice to the National Platform. YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES, and others need to hear and learn from your lived personal and professional experiences 😁

SSWRL is basically a cross between a Pinterest Board and Teachers-Pay-Teachers (But for FREE)… SSWRL is a special resource available to all Premier, Retired, and Student Members. This Resource Library is a GIANT collection of resources, tools, tip sheets, links, worksheets, assessments, etc… that is added to all the time! We pride ourselves in sharing out the knowledge of others in our field because…who wants to reinvent the wheel? As a Premier, Retired, or Student Member of SSWAA you get FREE access to this library to enhance your practice! You can add resources to it, take resources from it, and continue to learn from all the thousands of resources our profession has to offer! Whether you are a brand new school social worker or have been in the field for 30+ years, we all know that things change; this Resource Library has everything you need to continue your practice (***and if it isn’t there, we will source it 😁).

I don’t know about you, but when working in the schools, we often see that teachers and other staff have national certifications that they can obtain to personally and professionally grow and show expertise in their field. SSWAA has the only ADVANCED Practice School Social Work National Certification program in the United States! The NCSSW is focused around the nine competencies associated with the National School Social Work Model, NCSSW’s hold this one-of-a-kind title to show that they have advanced practice knowledge and expertise in the field. This program is an evidence-based and rigorous process, which YOU can start if you have an MSW, DSW, or Ph.D. in Social Work, have at least 4 years post-MSW experience as a School Social Worker or SSW educator in higher education, hold a current and active license or certification in your state for a school social work position, and are an active SSWAA member (Full or Premier Level). Yes, this is an EXCITING Process; Yes, it DOES require a full commitment; Yes, it does take longer to be eligible than getting an LCSW in most states….It is designed specifically to show ADVANCED Practice Expertise, and we know advanced knowledge takes time! If you meet the qualifications, join today to be a part of this AMAZING program and join the ranks of a small but mighty knowledgebase in our specific field of Social Work!

What is your favorite Professional Development Programming from SSWAA? Have you presented with us before (either at a National Conference or Live Webinar)? Do you have knowledge to share out with others in the field? We want to elevate your voice to the National Platform because at SSWAA we are focused on creating and curating intentional spaces of belonging for all members, and your leadership, knowledge, and expertise are valuable for your students, faculty, families, communities, and the larger network of school social workers across the nation! Reach out to me at anytime! We LOVE hearing from YOU!!


Dr. J.R. Bullard-Batiste is the Professional Development Coordinator for the School Social Work Association of America. He graduated with his Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree from Walden University in 2020; and previously received his Masters of Social Work (MSW) from Tulane University in 2012. He has worked in various PreK, elementary, middle, and high school settings across the Greater New Orleans region, where he has helped to promote, create, educate, and facilitate trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive learning environments to remove barriers for all children to access education equally to their peers regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or diverse grief and trauma histories. Dr. Bullard-Batiste is also a Contributing Faculty Member at Walden University’s Barbara Solomon School of Social Work, where he forwards on his knowledge and experience to MSW students, as well as always focusing on creating positive social change. He has recently relocated with his spouse and three rescue fur babies back to the Mid-West, after 12 years in New Orleans, to be closer to family. If you stopped by, you would find Dr. Bullard-Batiste researching, reading, ALWAYS working, or trying to dedicate some time to self-care through cooking and being outside in nature with his pups.


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Teachers, in my experience (and possibly yours), often have national certificates to demonstrate their ability and further their careers. geometry dash


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