What Does a School Social Worker do?

school-social-workerA school social worker is an important asset to students, parents, communities, and school districts. By working to ensure that all students are equipped and able to handle the demands of an education, school social workers are able to help children and adolescents overcome a number of obstacles that could impede both social and academic success.

Working with Educators and Districts

The daily tasks of a school social worker include many responsibilities for the creation, implementation, and assessment of various programs at a district-wide level as well as for individual students. School districts rely on qualified professionals to work on program development for at-risk students, special education, gifted and talented, and alternative education.

In addition, at the district level, school social workers often handle possible cases of neglect or abuse, and these professionals often oversee compliance with laws such as Section 504. Additional information on the legislation and regulations related to school social work can be found on the Advocacy/Legislation page of the School Social Work Association of America website.

School social workers are also instrumental in supporting classroom teachers. With advanced knowledge in the various possible impediments to learning that a student might have, social workers can help teachers gain a better understanding of everything from social barriers to developmental delays. School social workers are also often key in the implementation of behavior management strategies within a classroom.

Helping Students and Families

Behavior management is one area in which a school social worker is likely to make a direct impact on a student's academic success. In addition, school social workers offer crisis intervention, conflict resolution, and counseling to students to help each individual child or adolescent gain the social understanding needed to interact in the school environment and learn.

Much of the responsibilities that go along with a school social work position also involve the assessment of a student's behavior, learning ability, and social history. Understanding everything from what a child's life is like at home to experiences in the classroom are essential in this assessment, helping school social workers best develop the plans and intervention strategies for each student.

School social workers also often work directly with families in order to best make assessments of behavior, learning, and social barriers to make changes to intervention plans. Additionally, families look to school social workers for help in understanding and finding resources to help students make adjustments in the classroom and at home.

Working with Community Members

The coordination of resources for parents, teachers, administrators, students, and the community is also a major part of the school social worker's daily routine. Social work professionals in schools work with social, government, mental health, and education agencies to equip classrooms and districts with the resources needed to support all students.

With education and training in mental health, education, and communication skills, professionals working as social workers in all types of schools and education environments are able to meet the needs of everyone involved in the education process for early childhood, elementary, and secondary students. A school social worker provides integral and necessary services to educators, community members, students, and parents and families to create the best programs, plans, and partnerships to help all children and adolescents be successful in and out of school.

Additional Resource: Ultimate Online Guide to Becoming a Social Worker

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