The “triumph” during these last two school years was found in the little victories that I witnessed. I found myself falling back on the basics of social work, breaking down barriers, respecting the client and family, looking at situations that were fraught with difficulty, and continually finding new ways to help students succeed.
An important aspect of this professional development should include how to respond if a student approaches an adult for help. In addition, a coordinated approach through a single provider can further the adoption of a shared vocabulary across the entire school community, an important aspect of a high-quality Tier 1 program.
Considering that 31% of high school students reported having symptoms of depression in a given year, early identification of those students is imperative. Teaching about depression allows all students the opportunity to learn about the signs and symptoms and teaches them important help-seeking skills.
Schools, although sites of victimization, often are places where students feel safe to express their sexual and gender identities and receive mental health support and services. With the shift to remote learning, many LGBTQ+ are spending more time at home. Students who are not out to their families are experiencing increased stress related to concealing aspects of their identity and students who are out but do not receive support from their family are facing rejection and harassment (Salerno, Devadas, Pease, Nketia, & Fish, 2020).
The school-to-prison pipeline is a system that currently harms our students, and we can do something about it. School social workers have the knowledge and skills – as well as an ethical commitment – to see it eliminated.
A consistent question from parents and teachers is, “how do I help my students regulate themselves?” A common answer has been to have parents act as the default co-regulators of their children’s learning. School social workers have an opportunity to directly address this concern during the pandemic.
People are mourning the passing of Toni Hsieh (46), the former CEO of Zappos Shoes. You may wonder why I would mention Toni on a blog dedicated to helping schools. When I connect with secondary educators, I often hear that we should not use positive approaches with our students. Their reason is that when students enter the “real world,” businesses do not do “soft skills” things like teaching and rewarding behavior. That’s true..except for companies that are both successful with their teams and their finances.