Sunday, February 27, 2011

Everyday Heroes: School Social Workers Honored During National Recognition Week

School success is not all about academics. Social, emotional and economic factors play a part, sometimes creating obstacles that stand in the way. Helping students and families navigate their way through these non-academic obstacles are school social workers.

Fayette County Public Schools has three social workers, Kim Bryan, Michelle Martin and Eulene Paulk. Their responsibility is a much about working with the student as it is about working with their families. During the 2009-2010 school year, they assisted 643 families with social, emotional, economic, mental health, medical, and school attendance improvement needs.

March 6-12 is National School Social Work Week. This year’s theme, “Social Workers Change Futures,” celebrates the many ways school social workers make a difference in the lives of students every day.

“Our social workers work tirelessly making a difference in the lives of our families in Fayette County. They are greatly appreciated for all their hard work,” says Barbara Serapion, director of Pupil Personnel Services for Fayette County Public Schools.

School social workers serve as link between the school, community and home by:

* Assisting with the enforcement of the Georgia Compulsory School Attendance Law by assessing barriers to school attendance
* Providing referral information to facilitate family and student use of community-based resources for social, emotional, economic, and medical needs
* Providing assessment and referral services for displaced students and families
* Conducting home visits to assess environmental factors that inhibit learning and impede the social/emotional well-being of students
* Promoting parental responsibility
* Helping parents to better understand and meet the social, developmental and emotional needs of their children
* Reporting concerns of child abuse and neglect
* Collaborating with community resources to meet the needs of at risk students and families

School social workers have an impact on children that extends long after the final school bell rings. Fayette County Public Schools asks the community to remember to thank Fayette’s school social workers March 6-12 for their dedication to students and families in the county.

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