SSWNetwork Forum: “Oh, You Work With THOSE Kids?” SSW Working in Alternative Ed Schools
Hello SSWN friends: This project has been in the works here at SSWN and our SSWNetwork for a while now, and I’m so excited to share more of it with you today. Starting in December and into 2020, all of our current Loyola School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program (SMHAPP) students will be “hosting” a week on our site, sharing information about their SMHAPP project work and responding to critical issues impacting K-12 schools and school mental health practice.
I’m thrilled to move into our final week for 2019 (with more coming your way in early 2020). For Week #3 of our SMHAPP SSWNetwork Takeover I’m thrilled to welcome Lisa Baker, a member of the 4th SMHAPP cohort, who will be talking about the implicit and explicit biases that exist about working in alternative education environments as school clinicians. Just as we’ve done before, Lisa will help us end the week over at SSWNetwork with a LiveChat from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. central time where we’ll come together to discuss what we learned over the past week. Here in her own words is what she’s going to be doing this week in this “SMHAPP SSWNetwork Takeover,” along with her biographical information. Take it away, Lisa, and we hope to see all of you on Saturday morning for our LiveChat!
“You work THERE?”, “Oh, you work with THOSE kids.”, “That’s where the BAD kids go.”, “Those kids are all VIOLENT, right?”, “There is no way I’d ever let my kid go to THAT SCHOOL.”, “Everyone says I’M BAD, so why should I care?”, “I’m a screw-up. I’ll never get out of THIS school.”, “I’M DEFECTIVE. I belong at THIS school.”
This week we will discuss perceptions of alternative education schools and its students. I want to explore the idea of implicit/explicit biases and the stigma that I think exists around alternative education students and working with them. Throughout the week, I will post questions, ideas, and links on our SSWNetwork and share resources about various aspects of alternative education designed to make people think about their own biases or attitudes toward alternative education as well as those of others within the educational setting and the community. I am also interested in raising awareness of how biases and the stigma alternative education students face affects their emotional well-being. Here is our schedule of topics and readings for this week; join us over at SSWNetwork to share your thoughts and ideas there.
“Oh, You Work With THOSE Kids?” SSW Working in Alternative Ed Schools
SUNDAY MORNING: 12/15
QUESTION: Describe what comes to mind when you think about “alternative education” or “alternative schools”?
- Editorial link: https://www.nkytribune.com/2018/09/voices-from-classroom-really-really-kids-in-alternative-schools-need-understanding-too/
QUESTION: What kind of student comes to mind when you think about the students who are placed in alternative schools?
- Link to documentary: http://www.thebadkidsmovie.com/#the-bad-kids
QUESTION: What kinds of things have you heard educators/school staff say about alternative placements and/or the students who are placed there?
- Williams, J., Pazey, B., Fall, A., Yates, J., & Roberts, G. (2015). Avoiding the Threat: An Exploratory Study Into a Theoretical Understanding of the De Facto Segregation of Students With Disabilities. NASSP Bulletin, 99(3), 233-253.
QUESTION: What thoughts have you heard from others in the community (or outside stakeholders) about alternative schools/students?
QUESTION: What is the attitude of the staff and/or the students when someone who was alternatively placed returns to their home school?
QUESTION: What is the attitude/thoughts of students who are being placed in an alternative school? What is their attitude/thoughts of students when returning to their home school setting?
- Kennedy, B., Acosta, M., & Soutullo, O. (2019). Counternarratives of students’ experiences returning to comprehensive schools from an involuntary disciplinary alternative school. Race Ethnicity and Education, 22(1), 130-149.
SSWNetwork LiveChat 9-10 a.m. Join us by registering on our SSWNetwork site (always 100% free to join and the link is here ; make sure you join our chat on Saturday from a laptop/desktop so you can participate fully). See you Saturday morning.
About Lisa Baker, our SMHAPP Student SSWNetwork Forum Host: I graduated from Aurora University with her MSW in 2013. I began working in education as a paraprofessional in 2001 where I worked with mainstreamed and self-contained special education students in a public high school for 5 years. I then worked in a small therapeutic day school as a behavior specialist with outside placed special education ED high school students. It was during my time there that I discovered my passion for working in alternative education settings. My first position as a school social worker was in a therapeutic day school where I worked for 4 years before moving to an in-district alternative setting the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. I strongly believe that all students can be successful given the right environment, support, and understanding. I think that every student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in an equitable manner. I mainly use CBT, Motivational Interviewing, and DBT in my practice, but I pull from many other therapeutic milieus when necessary to best help my students be successful. I have all my supervised clinical hours completed for my LCSW, but I have not yet taken the exam. Once I receive my LCSW certification, I am interested in working with private clients online or via web/tele-therapy, specifically with military personnel and their families. Outside of work, I am a proud military wife and fur-mama to 2 precocious cats. I make sure to do something every day for self-care whether it is listening to an audiobook, going to the movies, or just spending time with my loved ones.