We had a spirited chat this past Monday as we all start to grapple with the questions around what it will take to re-open our schools in the U.S. safely? And importantly, what are the key components of trauma-informed care, SEL, and MTSS that can be brought into the conversation to make sure that our students, parents, and staff are ready for the many complicating issues that will come with re-opening?
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.
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 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.
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.
Great to hear what people are doing to help get their schools ready to “re-open” and to make sure that SEL and trauma-informed approaches are big parts of that work. Ms. Laura Smail, Lead Social Worker, Tactical Assessment Team U-46 (IL) joined the chat and shared some of her work helping her district anticipate and plan for the SEL and trauma-informed needs of her schools when they re-open. Big thanks to Laura for joining in, and the rest of the group for another lively LunchTime LiveChat.
We got our 5-part “SSW Practice During a Pandemic” series over at SSWNetwork off to a great start, with presentations from 4 SSW, (2 from MI, one from CT, and another from TX). You can read more about their bios and information here, and can get all their presentation slides in a Google Drive Folder we’ve created for all the presentations here. We’ll be having the next 4 presentations this week, and you can read about all the details here and RSVP to these free webinars on SSWNetwork. A big thank you to Kristin, Lisa, Rebekah and Dora for sharing their time and expertise!
This webinar will feature a panel of SSW from around the country (moderated by Kristin Miller LCSW from CT, pictured here) who all work in elementary schools and who are trying to figure out how to “do” SSW during this COVID-19 crisis. They will share their successes and struggles too, and invite all of you to continue to share what you’re doing to meet the needs of your elementary schools. This webinar is free to join and will also be recorded to share on our SSWN YouTube channel.