A Social Worker Job Description
Before I worked in the schools, I never knew that school social workers even existed. I knew that counseling was available in middle school and high school, but I never really gave a thought to what happened at the elementary school level. Since I’ve worked at elementary schools (now in my ninth year!), I realize that there’s quite a lot of things that social workers do:
What Do Social Workers Do at School?
1) See students who require IEP minutes
- Social workers counsel students individually and in groups. Those IEP minutes would be related to goals for social skills from learning how to participate in a group to raising self-esteem. Please note that to get minutes on the IEP for social work, the student’s social and emotional deficits have to have an “adverse educational” impact. Otherwise, the student would need counseling and not IEP minutes.
2) Respond to a student in crisis
- Some schools have more behavioral issues than others and need more crisis support. If you’re at a school with a behavior program, there would be a social worker available to assist in crisis situation. Those include when a student needs to be restrained (they are trained in a specific way of restraining a student called CPI).
3) Respond to a building level crisis
- Another kind of crisis would be where there was an immediate need for counseling. Incidents where a teacher or student was injured or passed away due to some disease or illness. Super sad stuff, but it does happen.
4) Attend meetings
- School social workers attent a lot of meetings meetings for behavioral behavioral issues with students. The meetings can be annual reviews of IEPs, eligibility meetings, or problem solving meetings.
5) Develop behavior intervention plans (BIPs)
- The school social workers write behavior intervention plans or (BIPs). This are short-term plans (6-8 weeks and it has to be revised) to help students focus and learn how to control and regulate themselves. depends on where you going which school with the column
6) Community outreach
- The school social worker does outreach to parents and provides them with community-based resources for counseling. If they were in crisis and they needed a place to live, school social workers would be working with different agencies to coordinate care for them. They might work with a food pantry, for example.
7) Perform evaluations
- Using an instrument called an SDS or a social development study (please correct me if I get this wrong and you know better!), school social workers figure out whether a student needs social work support.
8) Work in the classroom
- School social workers teach kids about different social skills to prevent behavior problems in the classroom.
What have been your experiences with the school social worker? What roles do you see? Please let me know your thoughts by commenting.