As school social workers, we must all step into the discomfort of this conversation as this impacts every one of us when we serve children and teenagers in the schools. If we serve Black youth and other youth of color, we must be willing to assess where we are in our own journey of anti-racism. If we work with white youth, we are equally responsible for breaking the legacy of white supremacy and model for white youth what anti-racism looks like. We need to assess our own spheres of influence and our skill sets, thinking about how we can use our strengths, develop new skills, and be willing to be courageous and take risks in order to enact anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices.
To assist in our advocacy efforts, SSWAA created a new position paper titled “The Impact of School Social Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic” and updated the “School Social Workers’ Role in Addressing Mental health Needs and Increasing Academic Achievement” to be used as resources for school social workers as they articulate their value and remind others of the essential and often lifesaving services we deliver. We hope that you will be able to utilize these resources this summer when talking with your administrators, school board members, legislators and other stakeholders.
Editor’s Note: What follows is our recruitment materials for our “School Social Work Practice During a Pandemic Survey Project”–our survey project link will go live on Tuesday May 26th on SSWNetwork. Please consider sharing your perspective on how your SSW practice has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and stay tuned here on SSWN, SSWNetwork and our other social media channels as we share the survey findings later this Summer and Fall. Thanks for all that you’re doing and for considering this invitation.
Along with teaching at Loyola, I am also the Director of the online School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program (SMHAPP) as well as the Family and School Partnership Program (FSPP). To date, the FSPP has provided advanced training CEUs to over 1,500 school mental health professionals. including our 15th Annual Summer Institute this July 16th & 17th. We’ll have lots more to tell you about the special stuff we have planned for our 15th year, including the speakers, registration links etc. by the end of February, but for now, save the dates to join us in beautiful downtown Chicago at our Water Tower Campus this July!
In response to the rapidly-changing COVID-19 situation and questions from our SSWNetwork members, we are sharing some resources here, first two FAQ documents from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the second, a transcript of our 3/14 LiveChat where we discussed our responses to the COVID-19 crisis in our states and school districts, and shared strategies for how to turn the school shut-downs happening in our districts into an opportunity to promote wellness and SEL for our students, staff colleagues, and ourselves.
We wrote a biography of the group and zine — Students Strike Back is a student-led group created during the Chicago Teachers Union one day strike in 2016. Students are neighborhood high school students in Chicago Public Schools from the southwest side. Students are determined to have their voice in education issues. “No decisions about us without us”. As students who must endure the conditions of Chicago Public Schools, the group is determined to fight for education equity. For far too long, students have endured budget cuts after budget cuts. It is time for education to be taken seriously.
Due to the strong positive response to this presentation and article I did at the National Center for School Mental Health in November 2019 (pictured), Trauma-Informed Care In Schools: What We Know (And Still Don’t Know), And Why That Matters For Marginalized Youth In K-12, we’re creating a Call for Papers (CFP) for a special issue at our journal the International Journal of School Social Work (IJSSW) on this topic–abstracts are due by March 15th.