School Social Workers
School social workers are specialists who provide services to students, families, and communities in order to help students achieve maximum benefits from their school program. They unite the efforts of the home, school, and community in resolving problems that prevent students from full use of their educational experience. Students are the primary focus of the educational process, and are viewed by school social workers in relation to the family, the school, the neighborhood, and the larger community. In working with students and their families, school social workers focus on identifying, weighing, and assessing the factors in the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and social systems that contribute to the problem or that can be used to resolve or ameliorate it. School social workers help facilitate the learning process and prevent problem situations by combining skills in dealing with people and knowledge of social, emotional, cultural, and economic issues affecting students and schools.
Social work services, as described by the 1997 Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as related services, include “preparing a social or developmental history on a child; group and individual counseling with the child and family; working with those problems in a child’s living situation (home, school, and community) that affect the child’s adjustment in school and mobilizing school and community resources to enable the child to receive maximum benefit from the educational program.”
· The child must be seen as part of the school, the family, the peer group, and the community. Problems in the school may be caused primarily from difficulties in other contexts.
· The purpose of the social history is to aid in the educational placement of the child and should directly relate to the educational dysfunction of the child.
· The social history is used to guard against the inappropriate labeling of children based on test scores and school performance alone, without consideration of cultural and language differences.