School social workers are highly trained professionals who use an holistic approach in helping students to overcome barriers to educational success. Staff members work with parents, administrators, school staff, and community agencies to identify the strengths and needs of students and their families. School social workers have the flexibility of providing services in a variety of settings, with the overall goal of serving as the link between the school, home, and community.
School social workers believe that:
- Each student is unique;
- Each student should be allowed to participate in the learning process and to learn in the least restrictive environment;
- Individual differences should be acknowledged, and intervention should focus on supporting student's academic goals; and
- Each child, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or disability has a right to equal treatment in the school setting.
School social work services include:
- Providing case management, crisis intervention, and family support
- Linking students to school-based mental health services
- Referring students and families to an array of community resources (i.e. individual/family counseling, medical services, financial assistance, shelter, support groups, and parenting skills classes, etc.)
- Helping families to gain a better understanding of school programs, policies, and services
Students and parents are generally referred to MPS social workers by the principal, guidance counselor, and other school-district personnel. Referral reasons include, but are not limited to mental health concerns, financial difficulties, medical concerns, severe behavioral problems, parent-child conflict, family crises, and homelessness. Social work interventions can range from one to multiple contacts, depending on the needs of the student and/or family. All services are provided to students and families on a voluntary basis.