Schools should not have to worry about finding resources that would be acceptable to their team members to read or use, particularly those that require translation to secondary school language. My co-authors and I understand the dilemma. We spent years trying to find examples and approaches that would be useful for secondary settings. That led us to write this book, Implementing Systematic Interventions A Guide for Secondary School Teams.
“While there is undoubtedly more to developing support for a school-based initiative, my point here is that administrative support is a critical system component. The strategies recommended here may be one way to build support for your efforts.”
The day that I received the news we would be virtual to start Fall 2020, from my school district, I tried to figure out ways to connect with students. In my search, I came across a post by Bridget Hills-Yoder. She shared in a Facebook Page by the Illinois Association of School Social Workers how to create your own digital office. After I read this post, I began to work on my own digital office and I received lots of positive feedback from colleagues. Therefore, I asked Bridget if she could kindly share further details. The interview is below:
As Kjirsten points out, there is a wisdom that comes from those who work the frontline, those who know what is happening and know the points of pain. The leadership that can be offered through this experience holds value and power. We have a unique position to serve as a liaison among the systems within the schools we serve. We hold the perspective of our students, their families, teachers, and paraprofessionals.
The other day, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said teachers “gave up” last spring during the beginning of the pandemic. I don’t think I need to convince you that’s untrue, but it did inspire me to create a short list of things educators did or continued to do as school buildings began shutting down in March. Our whole school community linked arms (metaphorically, of course) to ensure school continued. Here are just a handful of things I remember happening within our small school.
We knew the kids were accessing wellness information (on our Clinician’s Corner site) when they started sharing personal struggles regarding mood, eating habits, and behaviors. Julie and I noticed that the kids were either commenting on not being active, their weight gain, or in their words, “laziness.”
Rather than viewing the pandemic and school shutdown as a professional dilemma, colleagues Lori Klein and Julie Robinson approached the situation as an opportunity. Lori, a School Social Worker, and Julie, a School Psychologist, expanded their reach by creating a virtual classroom. What started as a virtual lifeline grew into a live, interactive community focused around social-emotional competencies with a splash of fun.
I want to share that the SMHAPP was a great addition to what I already had with my MSW. What this program helped me not only with all the material
that is very practical for me to use in practice, is the that just seeing, hearing and listening to what social work is and how big of an impact we can actually have was a mentality change for me. I would encourage anyone to go for it and do the SMHAPP because the one year we have in internship practice in a school is not enough to learn everything there is. So again, I felt like I needed more. And like others said it’s not just something else I had to do. It was a pleasure to do these things.