The school social worker is involved with school life in a number of different arenas. As a member of the Evaluation Unit, incoming parents and students are welcomed by the social worker and meet to share pertinent information that may affect the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP), which includes the parents' vision for their child's future.
The school social worker is actively involved with the quality of life of the school and works in a team effort to be aware of stressors that stand in the way of each student achieving his or her optimal learning experience.
The school social worker is the Coordinator of The Connection Team, a student support team which, also consists of the school psychologist, the behavioral specialist, the school nurse, contracted psychotherapist, from outside agencies, and a behavioral and systems consultant from Lesley College. The Connection Team addresses student life in general and any number of complexity of concerns, specifically. Issues and concerns are conferenced until a successful plan is set in place to remedy the situation. In addition, attendance at weekly case conferences throughout the school brings the school social worker in close scheduled contact with teachers and staff.
On an individual level, the school social worker is available to meet with students for counseling on a short term, long term, or an as-needed basis. The concerns raised by students with the school social worker may range from anxiety caused by academic pressures to acute psychological distress. Depending of the severity of the issue raised, the student may be referred for outside treatment, consultation, or evaluation. The school social worker also works with students in a classroom setting by teaching classes designed to develop social and emotional competence.
The school social worker is parent-centered. Support may be offered to parents in the forms of family counseling, parent-child consultation, and parent- guidance counseling. For these purposes, an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter is available to join these meetings to facilitate communication between parent and child, at the request of the parent or student. Interpreters are also available in several languages by the Boston Public Schools, including, but not limited to Spanish, French Creole, Cambodian, and Vietnamese. Other means of parent support offered or facilitated by the school social worker are the Sign Language Program for Parents and Parent Support Groups, which offered on an as needed basis.
Because school safety is of outmost concern, it is imperative that the physical, emotional, and psychological safety of each student be protected. To this end, the school social worker is a member of the Safety Team, which oversees the safety of the building. The school social worker also works to ensure the protection of student rights, as mandated by the Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools, regarding zero tolerance of discrimination and harassment in any form.
Barbara Phillips, Social Worker