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Who are school social workers?

School social workers are pupil services professionals who hold a master’s degree in social work and who have school social work certification in training and experience specific to working in schools and/or with children. This training includes special education
law, school law, and systems theory. They understand the interrelatedness of various systems such as: education, juvenile justice, family/children's health, mental health, and child protective services.

Where do school social workers practice?

Columbia County Board of Education school social workers are employed by the school district and work within their schools of assignment. School social workers provide services at all educational levels: preschool, elementary, middle and high.

How do school social workers assist students?

School social workers utilize an ecological approach to ensuring student success. They assist children and families by examining those factors in the school and/or community that are impacting a student's educational success and then assist in reducing those barriers. These barriers may include but are not limited to: truancy, pregnancy, alcohol and other drug abuse, suicide and sudden death, child abuse and neglect, peer relational issues, violence, basic family needs, economic factors, behavioral difficulties, divorce, mental health concerns, and learning factors such as special education needs.

What else do social workers do?

School social workers support parents in understanding their child's development and educational needs, to effectively advocate for their child in school, and to understand special education services.

School social workers assist teachers in understanding a student's cultural and familial factors and help staff to meet the desired educational outcomes of diverse learners. They assist teachers by providing or directing educators to appropriate resources and by ensuring that they understand the special education process.

School social workers draft and implement prevention programs and policies with administrators in an effort to address external and internal needs that impact school climate and student learning and success. Examples of these include, but are not limited to: truancy and crisis intervention policies, programs that address Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and special education compliance.

School social workers serve as links to the home and community and coordinate community agency/school collaborations in areas such as mental health, behavioral programs, and student re-entry into school after institutional experiences/living.