(Updated) SSW Practice During a Pandemic: Our Full Free SSWNetwork WEbinar Series
What an amazing week it was.
From April 16th-April 23rd we offered 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 school building shut-downs and fragmented and confusing service delivery directives. Over 500 of you attended them live, and another 4,000 people have viewed them on our SSWN YouTube Channel here.
The response was emphatic and overwhelmingly positive, as these fantastic school social workers showed how they’re doing their work during this pandemic. Below we link to each of them with some pictures from the events, along with the speaker bios. Stay tuned for more great stuff from these school social work leaders, a the 2020 Loyola Virtual SMHAPP Summer Institute: “Telling Our Story and Sharing What Works: A 2-Day Collaborative Workshop to Build Your School Mental Health Practice” on July 16th-17th. Register for the 2-day event here.
SSWNetwork Webinar Series April 2020
Elementary SSW During a Pandemic (article on this webinar here)
Early Childhood/Pre-K SSW During A Pandemic
Megan Berkowitz LCSW (EC/Pre-K Panel Moderator) is a Social Work Supervisor at AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter Schools (Washington, DC). The AELPCS social work and counseling program aims to maximize the well-being and functioning of children and the school community. To increase access to education for all students and families, we:
- Engage in child and relationship-centered best practices
- Provide trauma-informed support for students, families, and school staff
- Strive to strengthen the connections among the school, families, and the DC community.
Cindy Frech has been an Early Childhood School Social Worker at Indian Prairie School District #204 located in Naperville/Aurora, Illinois for 18 years working with preschoolers ages 3-5. As a life-long learner, Cindy is currently completing final course work to receive an additional graduate certificate at Erikson Institute in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Cindy has been married for 33 years and has 3 adult children. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the ukulele and gardening.
My focus during the presentation:
My professional and personal focus during the Covona Virus Pandemic has been on how to best support various “systems”.
- District Level – Mental Health Resources on school district webpage and website information to social work colleagues. Sent various website information to district administration and social work colleagues that I felt was important to share. Some of those websites or resources that I shared ended up on the school district mental health resource page for public access.
- Staff Level – Sent out various website information found on the internet so they could distribute to parents via our Preschool e-Learning Plans. My favorite websites are listed in my attached Power Point (e.g. National Pyramid Model, Conscious Discipline, Child Mind Institute, etc.). I have also been open to communicating with staff about social emotional questions as they arise.
- Parent Level/Preschooler– Sent out many of the same websites (e.g. establishing routines, social stories about Covid-19, etc.) that I have sent to staff to parents, especially those websites that have social stories.
E-Learning Plans are Parent Led instruction. One of our School Psychologists has created a few SEL lesson plans that the parent can do with their child. These SEL lesson plans are given to the parents whose preschoolers have direct/consult services.
Parent contact via phone, email and Zoom with parents about social emotional questions as they arise (during specific school office hours if needed).
- Self-Care – Establishing routines for myself at home, working to maintain professional boundaries, etc.
Gabriela Ibarra Ramirez is a school social worker with the Chicago Public Schools. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997 and her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration in 2002. Gabriela is currently in her second year of the School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program at Loyola University Chicago. Gabriela attended the Chicago Public Schools as a student for 14 years and has worked for the Chicago Public Schools as a school social worker for 18 years. She is currently placed at an Early Childhood Specialty School with students between the ages of three to seven years old. Gabriela has been implementing a support group at her school for parents of children with special needs.
Gabriela works primarily with children with special needs and has been implementing a weekly support group for their parents. Her goal has been to reduce parents’ levels of stress by providing parent education, practical resources, and a social support network. Gabriela will be describing how she plans to continue providing support to parents, virtually, during this time of stress and uncertainty. She will also describe how she plans to continue supporting students’ social-emotional learning.