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.
Regular attendance by the students at school is essential for students to obtain the maximum opportunities from the education program. Parents and students alike are encouraged to ensure an absence from school is a necessary absence. Students shall attend school unless excused by the principal, or principal’s designee, of their attendance center. This policy, developed in collaboration with the county attorney, is an attempt to address the problem of excessive absenteeism.
Excessive absenteeism is the failure to attend school for the minimum number of days established in the school calendar by the board. The Grand Island Public Schools sets the minimum number of days at 95% of days that the student’s school is open and in session.
The superintendent shall designate an attendance officer. The attendance officer will investigate the report of any child who may be in violation of the state’s compulsory attendance statutes.
If any student has accumulated absences of a total of more than 5% of the days, or hourly, of the current required attendance days or the hourly equivalent, the school shall render all services in its power to compel the student's attendance. These services include but are not limited to the following:
- Verbal or written communication by school officials with the person or persons who have legal or actual charge or control of any child; and
- A meeting or meetings between the school attendance officer, school social worker (or school principal or a member of the school administrative staff, if the school has no social worker), the student's parent/guardian and the student (if necessary) to develop a plan to solve the excessive absenteeism problem
The plan shall consider but not be limited to:
- Determine if illness is related to physical or behavioral health of the child (verified by appropriate documentation);
- Educational counseling to explore curriculum changes such as alternative educational programs to solve the excessive absenteeism problem;
- Educational evaluation to assist in determining the specific condition(s) contributing to the excessive absenteeism problem, supplemented by specific efforts by the school to help remedy any condition diagnosed.
- Investigation of the problem by a school social worker (or principal or administrative staff member) to identify conditions contributing to the excessive absenteeism problem. If services for the student and student’s family are determined to be needed, the investigator shall meet with the parent/guardian and child to discuss any referral to appropriate agencies to remedy the conditions.
If the parent/guardian refuses to participate in such meeting, the refusal will be documented in the child’s attendance records.
Students are subject to disciplinary action for excessive absenteeism. Disciplinary action for students receiving special education services will be assigned in accordance with the goals and objectives of the student's Individualized Education Program.
The school may report to the county attorney of the county in which the person resides when the school has documented the efforts to address excessive absences, the collaborative plan to reduce barriers identified to improve regular attendance has not been successful, and the student has accumulated more than twenty (20) absences per school year. The school shall notify the child’s family in writing prior to referring the child to the county attorney. Illness that makes attendance impossible or impracticable shall not be the basis for referral to the county attorney. A report to the county attorney may also be made when a student otherwise accrues excessive absences as herein defined.
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.