Preparing For When Our Schools RE-Open: SSWNetwork/SSWAA Live Chat 4/20
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. Have an idea for a topic or want to co-host with me? E-mail me at [email protected] and remember, we’ll be doing these SSWNetwork/SSWAA LunchTime LiveChats from now until the COVID-19 crisis ends, every Monday, Wed., & Friday.
SSWNetwork/SSWAA LunchTime LiveChat
MONDAY, APRIL 20
Michael Kelly11:00 amOk, hello everybody its our Monday SSWNetwork/SSWAA LiveChat time.I realized this morning that the notices of this week’s LiveChats didn’t get posted this weekend, so I might be the only one on today? 😅
Michael Kelly11:01 amLet’s get a sense of if we have a LiveChat room for today (no worries if we don’t, we’ll be back again Wed.)If you’re here for the chat, say hi and tell us where you are, and maybe something you’re looking to talk about today…go!
Julie Feldman11:02 amHi! I have never attended one of these. Is it all through chat or is there one person speaking?
Michael Kelly11:03 amHi Julie–welcome! It’s a totally LiveChat set-up, where we just communicate via this text feature. We do have some webinars coming up via SSWNetwork, including one later today on HS SSW during the pandemic….SSW Practice During a Pandemic: Announcing Our Full Free SSWNetwork WEbinar Series – School Social Work
SSWN colleagues: we are happy to announce that over the next few weeks we will be offering 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 …
Michael Kelly11:04 amfor more info on those, and you can RSVP here. Are you new to our SSWNetwork?
Julie Feldman11:04 amLooks great, thanks! and Yes!
Good morning. I am putting together a rough proposal to present to a work group in my district that will address “post pandemic” SEL needs of students, families and staff when returning to the buildings. I am interested in any thoughts/plan that other districts are working on.–Ms. Laura Smail, SSW U-46 Illinois
Michael Kelly11:04 amawesome–will you introduce yourself and let us know if there’s any topic you want to make sure we discuss today, if you have one?
Dessiree Malone11:05 amHi everyone! I’m a graduate student at Loyola University at Chicago.
Laura Smail11:05 amGood morning. I am putting together a rough proposal to present to a work group in my district that will address “post pandemic” SEL needs of students, families and staff when returning to the buildings. I am interested in any thoughts/plan that other districts are working on.
Michael Kelly11:06 amcool to see you here Dessiree! How’s that little one of yours doing?
Michael Kelly11:07 amLaura, welcome! I love your topic, and I think we should definitely put some thinking to it starting today here and on SSWNetwork more broadly too…Anybody else on here today that wants to say hi and to give us some topic ideas/questions to work on as a group?
Julie Feldman11:08 amLove that idea, Laura. My behavioral heath team started talking about this today too.
Stephanie Ochocki11:08 amHello & happy Monday everyone! This is Stephanie Ochocki, Minnesota SSW & Midwestern Rep for SSWAA.
Julie Feldman11:08 amOh, and I am Julie Feldman, school social worker at a chicago charter school. 2011 Loyola alum 🙂
Michael Kelly11:09 amYay, Stephanie’s here how are you?
Erin O’Connor-Slater11:09 amHi, Erin from NY
Michael Kelly11:09 amI thought I recognized your name Julie–great to have you and you too Erin!
Stephanie Grotzky11:09 amGreat and I am listening to a Zoom meeting with counselors and the principal at one of my campuses.
Stephanie Grotzky11:10 amI hope that was directed to me…
Elaina Daves11:10 amHi! Elaina from NC
Michael Kelly11:10 amOk, so I think there are at least 2 topics we have for today, one I brought and one that Laura helped us start talking about. Actually the topics are related in a way: how to help schools open and take care of the SEL needs that will be presented by the aftermath of this crisis.
Michael Kelly11:11 am(and stephanie G. I didn’t know you were on too, but you get a big YAY from me as well…) 😁
Dessiree Malone11:11 amThe kids are doing great! I am trying to find ways to remain engaged since I am no longer able to interact with students through the Chicago Public Schools. I’ll be checking in on the webinars through SSWN.
Michael Kelly11:12 am
I put this tweet on the RSVP invite today, as I think it captured some stuff for me in thinking about what “getting back to normal” will look like for our schools and for us as SSW.
Laura Smail11:12 amDr. Bruce Perry has a Covid-19 series of talks related to supporting students, families and staff. I watched one last night that specifically addresses the need to build institutional care that supports all of us who work with others, whether it be in mental health, education, healthcare, etc.
Julie Feldman11:13 amCan you send us the link, Laura. Sounds intersting.interesting!
One big concern I have (beyond the very strong possibility that given how our current political climate is that we’re going to have a rushed “re-opening” of the country that puts lots and lots of us at increased risk for COVID-19 over the next 6-9 months) is how we do trauma-informed work in the midst of a crisis like this one.–Prof. Kelly
Michael Kelly11:13 amLaura, can you say a bit about what you’re already considering/planning in your district? Are you going to try to bring some of Perry’s work into it?
Laura Smail11:14 amHere is the link. https://www.neurosequential.com/covid-19-resources
Michael Kelly11:14 amOne big concern I have (beyond the very strong possibility that given how our current political climate is that we’re going to have a rushed “re-opening” of the country that puts lots and lots of us at increased risk for COVID-19 over the next 6-9 months) is how we do trauma-informed work in the midst of a crisis like this one.
Laura Smail11:15 am#7 is the one I watched about Organizational Care and it is vital as we move through this and into next fall.
Michael Kelly11:16 amIt seems like we’re already seeing some pretty big disparities in terms of how different people are experiencing the trauma of this global crisis i.e. COVID-19 is impacting communities of color more, people are more likely to be experiencing the sickness or death of older relatives than young people, and how will just those 2 disparities impact our schools in the Fall.
Michael Kelly11:17 amStephanie O., what are your thoughts about how we support schools to do trauma-informed care and SEL when schools go back?
Michael Kelly11:18 amand what are others discussing/doing to make plans for going back, whenever that proves to be?
Laura Smail11:19 amProposing a 3 tiered approach: SEL for students, families and staff. There are real time issues that need to be immediately put into action and vetted so that we don’t overwhelm our student and families. But in a post pandemic arena, I believe that a universal MTSS approach to address the SEL needs should be seriously considered. It is important that students have equal access to processing emotions and expressing themselves when they return to the classroom. The reality is that there are educators who have a reluctance, resistance or difficulty addressing SEL themselves on a personal level and therefore lack the skills to facilitate with students. I believe that at the beginning when returning the the classroom,, teachers be provided a process/outline/talking points to universally address the issues.
Stephanie Ochocki11:20 amYes, that is an interesting question. Like so many things in education, it will depend on what is happening in your district and state.
Michael Kelly11:21 amThis is really good stuff Laura–and I’m also really intrigued with how this whole crisis is going to affect our teacher colleagues both in terms of their own trauma and possible grief reactions, but also the thing you noted here: will this make teachers more amenable to doing SEL at a Tier 1 level and not consign it to “extra” or something that the SSW does?
Stephanie Ochocki11:22 amMight this COVID-19 crisis interrupt gains in this area or might it push the work forward?
Michael Kelly11:22 amI LOVE that Stephanie O. is asking that question a lot in our chats–it’s so crucial to ground what we’re all doing in this deeply strange and serious time within what districts did/didn’t do before. Knowing that makes it more likely to enact changes post-shut-down that will “stick.”
Laura Smail11:23 amWe are actively and thoughtfully embedding it and finding that it MUST live in Tier 1. While in the past, this has been STRONGLY suggested, I believe that this current crisis makes it non-negotiable.
Michael Kelly11:23 amand to your point here Laura, how are you and your team conceptualizing who is going to “do” this Tier 1 work, (and related to that, how do you see SSW supporting it?)
Laura Smail11:24 amAs so many of us use the oxygen analogy, we have to build capacity for our front line staff to manage their own SEL before they can help their students.
Stephanie Ochocki11:25 [email protected] S are there any things happening right now in your practice/district that would support frontline staff to “breathe” that could be carried over & supported when schools reopen?
Laura Smail11:27 amWorking within the framework of MTSS and because teachers frequently ask “what can you give me to use” or “what should I do” I think using a trauma-informed approach along with developmentally and age appropriate activities/discussions that are provided in outline or easy to follow directions in the weeks we return to school. The district has said that the first 2 weeks of schools should focus on SEL and building relationships as the foundation for addressing procedures and expectations.
Laura Smail11:28 amNow more than ever are these SEL through a trauma informed lens going to be necessary and vital to supporting each other.
Michael Kelly11:28 amInteresting 2 weeks or relationship-building (and re-building) all embedded in SEL, very cool, Laura. Can you also tell our group today what grade levels you’re talking about for this (apologies if I missed that in an earlier comment?)
Michael Kelly11:30 amAnd what about others’ take on this too–how would you hope to see that first 2 weeks-month of your school respond when they re-open, and how do you see your SSW role supporting those efforts?
Laura Smail11:30 amPrimary, Intermediate (elementary) Middle School, High School. The elementary would look different from Middle school. High school would be very different since much of their SEL is intertwined with peers.
Laura Smail11:31 amKindergarten, 7th grade and 9th grade are the most challenging because of the transitions occurring at these ages.It is where most of our behaviors live.
Michael Kelly11:32 amThat makes sense–Laura, you’re bringing us such great stuff today, thanks for this. Do others in the chat have questions for Laura and/or want to share how their school’s conversations are going around these issues?
Laura Smail11:32 amSchool social workers are the experts in the building and can provide the necessary PD in the first days of the school year.
Kate Reierson11:33 amWhat school district are you from Laura?
Scott Carchedi11:33 amHi, Laura! 🙂
Laura Smail11:34 amU-46. Hi Scott! I see you are here. I hope I’m not giving away district secrets.😏
Michael Kelly11:35 amAnd just so everybody knows, U-46 is a big “urban-suburban” district here in IL (and where Laura and the inestimable Scott Carchedi, founder of these sites, both work)
Scott Carchedi11:35 amHaha. Good to see you, too. I was just catching up in the chat on all the things you’re working. Sounds awesome. Can’t wait to hear more.
Michael Kelly11:36 amOther questions for Laura from the group?
Michael Kelly11:37 amLaura, I would love your take on this tweet that I’ve been sharing and mulling over–how do you see that playing out where you are?
Dessiree Malone11:38 amI was concerned about children that were in the process of evaluations. How are schools handling this? I was on a webinar recently and they were encouraging parents to get everything rescheduled and in writing.
Laura Smail11:38 amWhen I have these ideas in my head and get talking about them, I get really energized. We are an enormous district with good people who are committed to students. The challenge is to identify the need, find the people, identify the buckets of work and make sure not to duplicate the work. I.E reinvent the wheel. We have a lot of moving parts at U46 and we are trying to centralize the information and use our time wisely.
Michael Kelly11:40 amAnybody have an answer to Dessiree’s question from their districts (Laura included)–how are you handling in-process case studies/re-evals?
Laura Smail11:40 amOur community has an Alignment group that has key stakeholders at the table who are Trauma focused and trained to facilitate conversations, activities and support the greater community.
Laura Smail11:42 amAs far as I am aware and Scott, you may know this as well, evaluations that were completed should have findings presented virtually
Michael Kelly11:43 amThat’s what I’m (mostly) seeing too in my consultations and observations Laura–anybody on the chat seeing anything different being done in their districts re: current/pending evaluations?
Stephanie Ochocki11:44 amSame here re: evals.
Erin O’Connor-Slater11:44 amI know our district has written letters to parents to get extended time for pending evals. We are still holding meetings virtually if we have current evals done
Michael Kelly11:45 amThanks for sharing that Erin–I wonder too if individual state Boards of Ed are giving any guidance for these extensions, given the standard guidelines from the feds regarding time to complete an eval?
Scott Carchedi11:46 amHere’s the wording from our district: “Re-evaluation and initial report back meetings may proceed as planned if they are completed or can be completed. For example, if academic or cognitive testing is not completed you will not be able to proceed with that meeting. However, if we only have rating scales, parent interviews or health histories to complete, those can be completed remotely and that meeting can proceed. If you are unsure if a report back should proceed, please reach out to your SEA for direction and they can evaluate where you are in the evaluation process. “
Kate Reierson11:46 amIn WI, we can request an extension if necessary, but we have been told to attempt assessments virtually/remotely when possible (unless it needs to be in-person)
Michael Kelly11:48 amthanks for sharing on that question, everyone. We have a few more minutes before I want to do some announcements from SSWAA and SSWNetwork. Any other questions people have for today?
Dessiree Malone11:48 amThanks everyone for sharing. So most people here are approaching evaluations in similar ways.
Michael Kelly11:50 amok, so thanks everybody for a great chat to kick off our week. A few announcements; SSWAA has great stuff going on to support you in this COVID-19 time: https://www.sswaa.org/blog-1That’s a blog from SSWAA on members reflecting on the crisis and their practice.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources Last spring, SSWAA chose a theme for the 2019-2020 school year which was tied to School Social Work Week in early March and the 23rd National Conference originally scheduled for mid-March. Our national theme: “BEACON OF HOPE: School Social Workers – Lighting the Way” has certainly been applicable in recent days.
Michael Kelly11:52 amIn addition to the cool stuff we’re doing at SSWAA, we have these co-sponsored LiveChats M, W, F through the crisis, and
Stephanie Ochocki11:52 amItems 1, 2, 3, 4 on the “COVID-19” main page are SSW specific documents that have garnered a lot of positive feedback. https://www.sswaa.org/covid-19-resourcesOf other interest for SSWAA resources, registration for a past webinar has reopened.
Due to an overwhelmingly positive response, SSWAA is extending the window of access to this webinar. Please note, individual registering after April 17th, will be registering to watch the recorded webinar. CEUs will be available for any individuals who watch the recording and submit an evalua…It is the recording, but you do get CEUs. 🙂
Michael Kelly11:53 amGlad to hear that Jim Raines’ webinar for SSWAA is still open to listen to!
Also…we’re super-excited to have the next 4 webinars from our SSW Practice in a Pandemic series here on SSWNetwork, led by Loyola SMHAPP students and other SSW on the network. Today we have our High School one at 4 p.m. and the rest of the schedule is in our events tab here.
Michael Kelly11:54 amPlease spread the word about all these opportunities (and please join SSWAA if you haven’t yet as well…)
Laura Smail11:54 amI joined SSWAA today!
Scott Carchedi11:54 amLooks like the registration for that link, Stephanie, is closed. Is there a different link?
Michael Kelly11:55 amvery cool Laura–what a great way to end the chat today! 😁Everyone thanks so much for being here today–we’ll see you again this week, starting on Wed. and on Friday too. Take care everyone!
Stephanie Ochocki11:56 [email protected] I see what you are saying. The language is updated to note the registration is open, but the link is not. It might be on the list to reactive today, but I’ll check just to be sure. 🙂
Michael Kelly11:57 amThanks for checking that Stephanie and see you all soon…