National School Social Work Week is marked every first full week of March to celebrate school social workers across the nation and appreciate their work in helping students achieve academic success. School social workers are professionals within the social work field that work with teachers, parents, and school administrators. They help students deal with mental health and behavioral challenges and provide academic and classroom support. They also help in developing education policies, work with crisis interventions, and identify and report child neglect and abuse.
District #7 has several outstanding social workers and recognized them on social media during the week as they shared what being a school social worker means to them.
KRISTIN AUTERSON, EHS
Being a school social worker means that I have the opportunity to change lives. Social workers provide encouragement and support for ALL students and families. For those that have disabilities that affect the way that they learn, those that are impacted by poverty, mental illness, housing insecurity, family stressors, and also equality. I am their advocate, cheerleader, and voice of reasoning when needed. Social worker’s work as part of a collaborative team with school staff to problem-solve, address barriers, provide interventions, and resources to help student’s become successful not only in the classroom but in daily life. I want my students and families to know that they do not have to face anything alone!
KAYLA DINKELMAN, EHS/LINCOLN
The best part of being a school social worker/counselor is being able to be both an advocate for my students and a trusted person for them to go to for help. I love that I
am able to help my students continue to grow every day and gain new skills to help them succeed in both their academic and everyday lives.
DENISE DOWNES, LINCOLN
Investment in kids, ALL kids, EACH kid, is the way we empower the next generation to reach their potential.
JAMIE ELAFROS, GOSHEN
Being a school social worker means helping students feel safe, supported, and connected so they can be successful. This means helping students who are struggling socially, emotionally, or behaviorally, develop and strengthen skills in regulation and management so that they can achieve success personally, socially, and academically.
LESLIE ELLIS, CASSENS
School social work improves student learning and experiences by strengthening partnerships between home and school, developing systems of support, teaching social skills and emotional regulation, and collaborating with other educators and staff. The days are not easy, and rarely go as planned, but I do not take the special role we serve within our buildings and district for granted.
JILLIAN LEMONS, LECLAIRE/NELSON
DAVE LEWIS, EHS
Being a school worker is an amazing opportunity to help students navigate this difficult time of adolescence. Also to help students develop the skills need to be successful happier adults.
JENNY MULVIHILL, WOODLAND
Being a school social worker means that every day I have a unique opportunity to impact student school success, support teachers and staff, reach out to families, and contribute to a safe, positive school environment. It means making every interaction count and always valuing each individual. It means being there for students and families during their most difficult times but also recognizing how lucky I am to witness all aspects of student growth and to develop meaningful connections with students and the school community.
NICOLE PIENING, WORDEN, HAMEL, MIDWAY
Being a school social worker to me means providing a variety of mental and behavioral health services to students and families so the student can be successful at school and in the community.
MICHELLE WILKERSON, COLUMBUS
I love that I have the opportunity to positively impact the life of a child every single day. My work is challenging, rewarding, and different every single day. I enjoy building relationships with students and helping them learn to solve problems both big and small.