Being a school social worker during this pandemic can feel torturous when you're unable to be a physical presence for students who have relied on that rapport. There are so many worthy concerns to fill our minds. In the mix of all the triage, supervisors are still trying to figure out how to support the next generation of school social workers and many of our interns are feeling worried about their preparedness.
In early March, we were excited to publish our 5th volume of the International Journal of School Social Work, marking five continuous years of the journal's publication. This issue arrived at a crucial time for our schools and communities around the world, and in this brief essay attached in this article, I argued that it's never been a more exciting and consequential time to be a school social worker. Then my state of Illinois shut down, schools went to e-learning, and our national SSWAA conference was postponed, among many other changes that we're all still reeling from.
SSWN colleagues: From April 16th-April 23rd offered free webinars via our SSWNetwork site focused on how SSW practitioners at specific grade levels (Early Childhood/Pre-K, Elementary, Middle School, High School, & Alternative Education settings) are all adapting their SSW practice in this COVID-19 crisis time of school building shut-downs and fragmented and confusing service delivery directives. Over 500 of you attended them live, and another 4,000 people have viewed them on our SSWN YouTube Channel here. The response was emphatic and overwhelmingly positive, as these fantastic school social workers showed how they're doing their work during this pandemic. Below we link to each of them with some pictures from the events, along with the speaker bios.
Have you ever worked with a salesperson you really liked? Perhaps the person helped you purchase a car, computer, or home. What we like about good salespeople is that they seem to know our needs. Great salespeople "qualify" their customers. In sales terms, qualifying means taking the time to see if your product matches the needs and resources of your customer. If you are concerned with buy-in, that usually means you are selling or "offering" a resource to someone. I think the same ideas of understanding the needs and resources of your end-users will help you be more effective at establishing buy-in. The following post is from a live chat related to buy-in. I hope this discussion and resources are useful to your buy-in efforts
Does Restorative Justice (RJ) work? Or better yet, to the extent that RJ does work in K-12 schools, how would we even know? Is it because the program that is offered at our professional development day claims to be "evidence-based," or because we know that it is? And even more directly, how would we figure out if something is evidence-based, and where would we start in looking for that evidence? These are the questions I asked the 4th cohort of the Loyola School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program (SMHAPP) students. As part of the "EBP in School Mental Health"hey were asked to examine these questions around RJ and school violence prevention programs, and to create a Research Brief (RB) that described the evidence for a study that looked at RJ. Several of the students also wrote short descriptions of what they found, why they chose that specific article, and what they learned from the SMHAPP EBP class. What follows are their RBs, and some selected references from the articles they drew from.
These Research Briefs (RBs) will describe research articles and what the particular study could contribute to your school social work practice, starting as soon as tomorrow. They will cover the kinds of things you see every day in your practice and (hopefully) be written in a way that you can use the information immediately. Today, we’re excited to share an RB by Amanda Trerotola, (BSW student, Ohio State University) based on a course taught by SSW researcher and doctoral student Michele Patak-Pietrefesa. The article (available also open-access below) describes the evidence for an innovative treatment for young people who have experienced sexual abuse--animal-assisted therapy.
In partnership with the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA), Common Ground was fortunate to host Dr. Jim Raines, Professor at California State University-Monterey Bay. Dr. Raines specializes in ethics (among other things) and has a wealth of experience to share with us. In this podcast, Dr. Raines addressed ethical issues we are facing during this pandemic and offers some observations on our current crisis situation.
Have you ever witnessed something so beautiful, so delicate that it stops you, and demands your attention? And you get this tingly feeling come over you, you cannot help but smile while you breathe it in? This is what it feels like, every day, in a school. Schools are truly a sacred space- a space where students can feel safe, heard, cared for, and valued. Schools are so much more than an education, state tests, and homework- they are a labor of love, they are a village of adults, students, and families coming together from all walks of life.