We’re happy to publish this guest column by Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT about how she suggests we talk to our own kids about the Coronavirus. This piece can also inspire some ideas about how we might help our school community (parents, teachers, kids) talk about these issues in these challenging times. Thanks Nancy for your contribution and here at SSWN we’re thinking of all of you as we all struggle to navigate this rapidly-changing public health crisis.
As a school psychologist and a 2nd year student in the School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program at Loyola, I am in the midst of a school change project in my small rural school district. The project I’m steeped in is to build teacher capacity to implement a tier I social and emotional curriculum in our 4 year old kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms. Professional development and on-going training is a big part of the success of this project. As we train our staff to teach the SEL curriculum to our students, we can’t neglect to acknowledge that to teach SEL to students, we as adults must be competent in our own social and emotional awareness and abilities. If we engage our staff in ongoing adult social and emotional learning, we will hopefully foster a supportive environment not only for students, but for staff as well.
Within this ‘journal entry’ of our school’s quest to implement tier I SEL, I continue to reflect on things not yet seen and adventures not yet taken. Strategies that we have yet to incorporate include ongoing training opportunities in the form of monthly meetings. It is with great excitement that we continue on this journey with our teachers, students, and the parent community.
In honor of School Social Work Week 2020, I went onto our sister social media platform SSWNetwork (always 100% free to join here) and asked the 2,300+ clinicians there this simple question, “What is your favorite part about being a school social worker?” What follows are a sample of the great replies I got, along with some added detail about cool stuff we’ve posted about SSW over the past few months–Happy SSW Week everybody!
Schools are awash in data, and it may seem like you’re always collecting or counting something in your school practice. But what if you had real data to start a conversation with administrators about your role and responsibilities, the diverse needs of students you serve, and your contributions to your students’ success? By following the steps we outline in this post, you’ll learn how to conduct a time study of your work tasks that will help you better advocate for your workload and gain useful insights into how you spend your time.
It is vitally important that interns understand what they represent when they put on the role of the school social worker intern. That being said, it is even more important that they embody the ethics of our profession from the day they start engaging students.
This week on SSWN, I’ll be focusing on all things autism! I’m very passionate about working with this population of students. Currently I work with K-8th graders who have a primary diagnosis of autism. Most of my students also have a secondary diagnosis of anxiety or another related mental health concern. Over the years, I’ve curated different resources and adapted visuals to help meet the needs of my students. I’m excited to share that with you this week!
School mental health practitioners play a vital role in the lives of children with significant disabilities. They provide social, emotional, and behavioral support and programming to ensure a child feels valued, loved, accepted, and connected within the larger school environment. Just as importantly, practitioners can play a valuable role in supporting the parents of these children. Their careful and compassionate work can help promote trusting bonds and positive effective collaboration between home and school. Understanding the grief cycle, how it may reappear at different times during a child’s school experience, and how to compassionately respond to grief-related behaviors can greatly enhance the practitioners’ effectiveness in schools.