About School Social Work

WHY do today’s schools need School Social Workers?


Children today are increasingly victims of many social forces that negatively affect their role as students. The family is in a state of change and until it becomes stabilized, in whatever form, children’s unmet physical and emotional needs will continue to interfere with their ability to learn and adjust in school.

Young woman student under stress at school, thinking about her problems with her head to the wall.

Child psychologist with a sad little girl, the doctor looks at the child's picture

WHY hire School Social Workers?

School Social Workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school system and the pupil services/Specialized Instructional Support Personnel team and are instrumental in furthering the purpose of schools to provide a setting for teaching, learning, and the attainment of competence and confidence.

School Social Workers enhance the district’s ability to meet its academic mission, by maintaining and enhancing the mental, emotional, behavioral, cognitive and social functioning of student learners.

School social work services promote the development of a positive school environment that supports a sense of belonging and connectedness, the development of positive relationships, enhanced self-esteem and empowerment that benefits the student, the school and broader community.

School social workers are effective members of an interdisciplinary team and bring their unique skills, abilities and a systems perspective to act as a consultant to teachers, parents and others to facilitate the understanding of how factors in the home, school and community affect student learner outcome.

WHAT do School Social Workers do?

social worker sitting in group sessionSchool social workers are licensed as well as certified pupil personal providers with unique and diverse skills.  School social workers who are licensed as a Clinical Social Worker can diagnose mental, emotional, behavioral, addictive and developmental disorders and disabilities.

A sampling of the scope of school social work practice includes:

    • Identifying biological, medical, psychological, cultural, sociological, emotional, legal, economic, and environmental factors that impact student learning.
    • Implementing appropriate school intervention and prevention programs in response to demonstrated needs,  which may include but not be limited to:
      • crisis intervention,
      • conflict resolution,
      • violence prevention,
      • substance abuse prevention,
      • child abuse prevention,
      • positive self-image,
      • social skills and character education,
      • consultation,
      • individual, group and/or family counseling.

social worker consoling a child

      • Offering classroom management strategies and professional development programs to teachers to enhance their knowledge of social/emotional and behavioral needs to generate positive results in academics.
      • Forming collaborative relationships with community agencies and practitioners to address needs of student learners.
      • Conducting assessments, educational planning and transition services.
      • Understanding theories of normal and exceptional development in early childhood, latency, adolescence, and early adulthood and their application to all students.
      • Administering and interpreting tests and measures of psychosocial functioning, developing and implementing appropriate assessment based treatment plans, provide behavior therapy and psychotherapy as qualified.
      • Utilizing family strengths and structures, to enable families to function for their children’s education and well-being.
      • Incorporating diversity issues to plan for the unique educational needs of culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
      • Providing resources and information on community services/agencies and making referrals to appropriate agencies.