As school social workers, we must all step into the discomfort of this conversation as this impacts every one of us when we serve children and teenagers in the schools. If we serve Black youth and other youth of color, we must be willing to assess where we are in our own journey of anti-racism. If we work with white youth, we are equally responsible for breaking the legacy of white supremacy and model for white youth what anti-racism looks like. We need to assess our own spheres of influence and our skill sets, thinking about how we can use our strengths, develop new skills, and be willing to be courageous and take risks in order to enact anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices.
While the emphasis on SEL continues across the nation in diverse educational settings, it is worthy of our time and consideration to think about the unique ways in which we serve single-sex institutions. Girls are facing new challenges every day, and yet, we see resounding resilience, strength, and immense power in their voices. Effective SEL programming should harness that power and support girls in all aspects of their increasingly complex world.
Due to the strong positive response to this presentation and article I did at the National Center for School Mental Health in November 2019 (pictured), Trauma-Informed Care In Schools: What We Know (And Still Don’t Know), And Why That Matters For Marginalized Youth In K-12, we’re creating a Call for Papers (CFP) for a special issue at our journal the International Journal of School Social Work (IJSSW) on this topic–abstracts are due by March 15th.
Whether you’re a school social worker or a teacher, you’re in a very important line of work responsible for the education and well-being of our youth and our collective future. Of course, doing this work involves a lot of stress and likely poses daily challenges for us that can start to build up if we don’t make a conscious effort to maintain our mental health. This week on SSWN and SSWNetwork, we will provide suggestions and examples for improving your own mental health and supporting the growth of a school staff’s well-being, breaking down the barriers getting in the way of implementation, and research on the topic to illuminate the realities of mental illness and self-care.