The school social worker serves as a liaison between the school, home and community agencies, building upon a relationship of trust and mutual respect, to facilitate problem-solving efforts for at-risk students which will result in increased student social and academic success.
- Work together with student, parents, school personnel, community agencies and others to help make school a successful and relevant experience for students.
- Assist parents and families in understanding and reducing factors which contribute to school performance problems:
- financial concerns
- behavior difficulties
- lack of positive peer relationships
- court/legal involvement
- health, medical, nutritional concerns
- parenting skills
- Provide supportive counseling on a short-term basis with parents/families.
- Work with community agencies to understand the needs of students/families and to assist students/families in accessing community resources.
- Provide assistance with crisis intervention services for students and school staff in the case of a sudden death, suicide, or other significant traumatic event, as requested.
Mission and Beliefs
The Grand Island School Social Work Program will support the educational process by enhancing the Grand Island Public Schools' ability to meet its academic mission, especially where home, school, and community collaboration is the key to achieving that mission. Our school social workers will actively address barriers within the child, home, school, and community that interfere with student achievement.
We believe that an effective school social worker program:
- is strength-based and family-centered.
- is proactive and preventative.
- advocates dignity and respect for all students and families.
- celebrates the diversity of each student.
We also believe that:
- student success is heightened when families, teachers, and social workers work collaboratively.
- family involvement is essential to create positive outcomes.
- children are increasingly impacted by social forces that negatively affect their role as students.
In order for students to be as successful as possible, they must be in school every day, on time.
- Statistics show that as few as 7 absences a year may affect how well a child succeeds in school.
- According to state law, children must regularly attend school until they reach the age of 16.
- Parents have a legal responsibility to have their children attend school.
- Excessive absences and tardies will be considered a truancy issue.
School personnel will partner with parents to help ensure regular and on time attendance.
It is important to contact the school whenever your child will be tardy or absent.
School social workers will regularly meet with school staff to identify and discuss patterns or potential concerns in attendance. (principal, secretary, attendance clerk, guidance counselor, etc.)
Once patterns or concerns are identified, the school social worker will consult with the attendance hearing officer. At that time, it will be decided whether an initial letter will be sent to the family, which includes the attendance brochure. The attendance hearing officer will send the letter. Copies will be given to the principal and other appropriate personnel.
School social workers will be responsible for documentation on the Attendance Checklist.
- If the student's attendance stabilizes no further action will be taken, but the student's attendance will continue to be monitored.
- If a relapse in attendance problems occurs, the family will re-enter the program at the stage where they were when the attendance program had ceased.
If attendance does not improve upon receipt of the initial attendance letter, the school social worker will offer assistance.
Once a student has been tardy or absent for 10% of the possible attendance days (5 absences/10 tardies per quarter), the attendance hearing officer will be notified, and a second letter will be generated. This letter will inform parents of the continued attendance issues and further action to be taken.
The school social worker and parents will partner to remedy attendance issues. Together they will develop the Student Attendance Intervention Plan. Parent/s or guardian/s, student/s, school social worker, and other appropriate personnel will sign the plan and receive copies. The attendance hearing officer will also receive a copy of the Intervention Plan.
If the Intervention plan does not result in improved attendance, the attendance hearing officer will contact the family for appearance at a school attendance hearing.
Parent/s or guardian/s will carry out the orders delivered by the attendance hearing officer with assistance from the school social worker as needed. Regular appearances at school attendance hearings will continue as deemed necessary. Failure to comply with the order will result in immediate appearance before the attendance hearing officer.
Continued violations of the attendance order will result in referral to the Hall County Attorney's Office for prosecution.
A lessening or cessation of attendance issues indicates success on the part of the family. Families will be recognized for their accomplishments.
How Parents Can Help
- Let your child know you expect him/her to attend school.
- Acknowledge your child's bad/ill feelings, while still expecting them to attend school with mild symptoms.
- Contact the school when your child is absent or tardy.
- Consult with your child's physician when illness is contributing to poor attendance.
- Use your family, as well as resources in the school and community, to work on attendance problems.
- Talk with your child's teacher, counselor, or social worker in order to address attendance issues.
- Together a plan can be developed to improve attendance.