School Social Work
To promote academic achievement by supporting and linking students and families with school-based and community resources to enhance all areas of student development.
About School Social Workers
CMS school social workers are highly trained, Master’s level professionals with specific expertise in systems theory, child development, counseling skills, psychiatric disorders, community resources and other areas. School social workers use these skills to serve the students and families of CMS and reduce the barriers to a successful educational experience. Our goal is to partner with students and their families to develop a collaborative relationship. There are currently forty school social workers employed by CMS. They are assigned to schools that experience high rates of economically disadvantaged students, demonstrate challenges in the area of attendance/truancy and serve a significant number of underachieving student learners.
School social workers coordinate Truancy Court in collaboration with district and superior court judges and Truancy Safe Neighborhood programs in collaboration with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers in targeted schools.
School social workers reduce or eliminate barriers to student achievement by targeting four major Areas of Focus (social work service delivery model):
School social workers are uniquely trained and skilled to conduct assessments of student and family needs and interpret this information for the purpose of developing individualized intervention plans for students. Assessment determines the direction of social work services and provides the framework for all the work school social workers do with students and families.
2. Dropout Prevention
School social workers provide counseling support, assistance and internal and external wraparound support services to assist students at risk of dropping out of school, reduce the number of dropouts and increase the graduation rates for CMS high schools. School social workers provide students with assistance in the areas of academic support services, bullying prevention and intervention, counseling, crisis intervention, financial resources, medical services, mental health services, peer mediation, positive decision making and problem solving and substance abuse services.
School social workers build partnerships with community programs that serve students who are at risk for dropping out of school and provide linkage to community services.
The McKinney-Vento law provides certain protections and supports to students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence due to economic reasons or specific crisis situations. Students experiencing homelessness and their families are entitled to critical support services to help provide stability and assistance during a challenging time. School social workers help to eliminate barriers to academic success by providing counseling support, school-based and community resources and assistance with referrals to meet basic needs to minimize the harmful effects of homelessness. Additionally, school social workers ensure that the services provided to these students meet federal compliance guidelines.
4. Crisis Intervention
A crisis may occur on a personal, family or societal level which may require the services of the school social worker. Social workers provide support, referral and direction for families and students during these difficult situations. Traumatic or stressful changes in a student’s life may include one or more of the following:
- Unstable or dangerous situation
- Severe emotional or mental distress (i.e., grief and loss, mental illness, substance abuse, etc.)
- Neurotic/psychotic disorder that impairs individual functioning
- Suicidal ideation/attempts
- Emergencies (abrupt changes in the student’s living environment that have a drastic impact on the student's quality of life)
The Areas of Focus Model
The Areas of Focus model provides a framework for school social work services and most services occur via the 4 Areas of Focus. However, there are many additional social work services that occur outside of these areas. School social workers also:
Advocate for students to receive academic supports and resources to eliminate barriers and build students' capacity for success in the learning environment;
Collaborate with teachers, administrators and professional support staffs to evaluate students' needs;
Consult with teachers, administrators, IEP teams and Intervention Teams and other professional support staffs (school counselors, school psychologists, school health nurses, etc.) to develop intervention plans and provide services to students and families;
Provide individual and small group counseling to students;
Develop behavioral interventions for students struggling with anger and other emotions, displaying poor social skills and having conflicts with other students;
Provide classroom behavior support to teachers;
Intervene with students and families experiencing a crisis such as child abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, emotional and physical trauma, chronic health problems, poverty, substance abuse, etc. and link them with appropriate services;
Respond to the needs of students who have been victimized as a result of abandonment, child abuse, domestic violence, dating violence, neighborhood violence, mental illness, bullying and harassment, gang involvement, etc., and coordinate appropriate school and community services;
Collaborate with internal CMS departments and community agencies to meet student and family needs and to reduce or eliminate barriers to student success;
Participate on school-based planning and intervention teams; and
Serve as the liaison for home, school and community to assist parents in understanding and accessing school and community resources.
CMS school social workers are assigned to targeted schools based on high need indicators.
Atrium Corporate Center
4421 Stuart Andrew Blvd., 5th Floor
Charlotte, NC 28217
CMS E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org