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Posted: March 8, 2016

Honoring Social Workers in Schools

Social workers provide a link to home, school, community.

More than 100 social workers provide services to students in APS schools each day.
    APS and districts across the country honor these highly trained professionals, who provide a link between students’ homes, their schools and communities, during National School Social Worker Week (March 4-10) and National Social Work Month throughout March.
    "Social workers play a critical role in the education of our children, providing a link to home, school and community. They step in when children and schools are in crisis; direct families to resources; address truancy, mental illness, poverty, addiction and other barriers to academic success; and so much more," said APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy. "Join me in expressing gratitude for our social workers and all they do each and every day on behalf of our students and families."
    Merion Haworth, APS school social worker liaison, explained that in addition to supporting students and staff with social and emotional behaviors that are barriers to learning, school social workers utilize a wide variety of research based interventions that develop positive and supportive relationships, gaining the trust of the student, staff, and family and that are caring, respectful, and non- judgmental.  School Social Workers advocate for students and families, and practice restorative justice to bring about satisfactory and safe outcomes for all.
    Some of the amazing work done by APS School Social Workers:

  • maintain a clothing bank for students to use on campus
  • support foster students who moved out of district by provided holiday gifts
  • provide their own resources or mobilize the community resources for shoes, food, and basic needs when they know of families struggling
  • have stayed after school to meet with families, wait with students while parents are late to pick them up or while crisis plans are being arranged
  • set up back pack weekend food programs with community agencies for students in poverty so they have at least one meal each day

     Kristine M. Meurer, executive director, APS Student, Family, and Community Supports Division, highlighted truancy social workers, who provide supports to students, families and schools in order to find out the root causes for why students miss school and to provide referrals and supports to students and families in order to bring students back to school and keep them there.  In addition, the Truancy Social Workers are a part of the overall all Attendance Prevention Unit in APS to help schools improve chronic absenteeism.

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