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A Look Back At 2020: Highlights And Top Content

A Look Back At 2020: Highlights And Top Content

As the calendar year comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on the last 12 months and our defining moments. Here’s a list of this year’s highlights, our most popular content, and our goals for 2021.


Here at SSWN, we’ve had a lot of exciting developments in 2020.


Over 120 new blog posts were added in 2020, which more than double the 50 posts added last year. We had unique contributions from 49 school social workers and school mental health researchers, our most ever. Many of our 49 authors had never written anything for SSWN before, and thanks to the incredible efforts of SSWN Managing Editor Sean Delaney, they were able to put together article ideas on every facet of school social work practice, from self-care to leadership development to practicing in a pandemic (more on that last part in a minute). We welcome any and all SSWN readers to send us their article ideas at this link here and you can read a short article we wrote about our call for articles here. Let’s keep telling the story of school mental health work into 2021 together and a big shout-again to Sean for all her awesome work as a crucial component of our editorial team!

All of these original posts were in addition to the many open-access research articles we shared and discussed, many of them from SSWAA’s International Journal of School Social Work (where I serve as Editor-in-Chief and which had 11,500 downloads of articles from SSW all over the world). This was all part of our “Year of Open-Access Research on SSWN” we kicked off last January.

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Even as we begin to see the gradual and hopeful distribution of vaccines begin, it’s hard to overstate just how strange and challenging this year has been (and continues to be) for all of us. Here at SSWN (and in partnership with a variety of other SSW partners such as SSWAA) we’ve been with you every step of the way, sharing what people were doing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic public health crisis. We are most proud of the videos in our 6-part “SSW Practice During a Pandemic” webinar series, led by Loyola School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program (SMHAPP) students and SSWNetwork members around the country, and which has been viewed on our SSWN YouTube channel over 20,000 times. Here is just a selection of the articles and links that we published on SSWN on the pandemic, and we will continue to share the best tools, strategies and inspirations we can find into the new year:



This post features a lecture I gave on July 17th, “Notes on Becoming an Anti-racist School Social Worker,” as part of our 15th Annual Loyola SMHAPP Virtual Summer Institute. In the video, I got into a variety of excellent anti-racist education resources that have contributed to my own efforts to take actions as an anti-racist school social worker and educator. But even though my talk was titled “Becoming an Anti-racist SSW,” it’s clear that this is a lifelong, daily task, not a final goal that any of us can reach. We invite everyone reading this to delve further into these articles and resources we posted this year on SSWN and to join us in building an anti-racist SSW practice identity for our field going forward.


Most Popular Posts Published This Year


Here are the most visited posts of 2020 that were published prior to this year.


We’re going to keep our focus on many of the core themes we’ve covered in 2020 well into 2021 and beyond (e.g. anti-racism, COVID, and open-access research), but there will also be some new projects and opportunities we are going to debut in 2021 as well–stay tuned for more news on those when we have it. We’ve had an incredible year at SSWN in this extremely difficult time thanks to all of you, and we are honored and humbled to have the chance to provide this space for all of you. See you in the new year.

About The Author

Michael Kelly

Michael S. Kelly PhD, LCSW is the Lucian and Carol Welch Matusak Professor and Director of the School Mental Health Advanced Practice certificate and Family and School Partnerships Program at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work. Prior to coming to Loyola in Fall 2006, he was a school social worker, family therapist, and youth minister in the Chicago area for 14 years. He has authored over 80 journal articles, books, and book chapters on school social work, evidence-based practice (EBP), and positive youth development. He is a fellow of the Oxford Symposium for School-Based Family Counseling, co-Chair of the Society for Social Work & Research SSW Special Interest Group, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of School Social Work, and Associate Editor of School Mental Health. He has recently brought his work on school mental health and EBP to researchers and practitioners in England, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Canada, Chile, and Japan.

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