Site Based Social Workers Provide Extra Support for Students

When students enter a classroom to learn, they are bringing multiple dimensions of themselves into the learning environment.  They are bringing their own levels of knowledge and their own individual experiences that impact how that knowledge has been formed.  They are bringing their own personalities that have been shaped by friendships and relationships and genetics.  They are bringing their physical health and nutrition (or lack thereof) and the amount of sleep (or lack thereof) they were able to get the night before coming to class.  Most importantly, though, they are bringing their social/emotional health to the classroom and, in some cases, that can be a stumbling block to learning.

Realizing the need for student support in all aspects of student’s lives, Haywood County Schools (HCS) was able to provide a site based social worker on each campus in the district.

Led by Corey Currie, each social worker in the district is in place to help students navigate social, emotional, and behavioral issues that can sometimes hinder a student’s learning process in school.

“Our social workers focus on three things: behavior, attendance, and academics.  With that, we’ll do personalized learning plans based on those three aspects.  That plan will have action steps and goals to help students reach their potential,” Corey explained.

The primary job of a site based social worker is to make sure the student is in class, in front of the teacher, and mentally and emotionally prepared to learn.  Social workers at each school will also help with truancy and be able to do home visits that will provide an extra layer of support for students and the families in HCS.

While having a social worker on each campus has been on the district’s wish list for a few years, Elementary and Secondary Relief Funds (ESSER) made that wish a reality.

Along with being on school campuses during school hours, the social work team also partners with other support programs in the district to provide the best support system possible for students.

“We also partner with 21st Century afterschool program to supplement that learning and that goal setting with their students,” Corey said.  “Our social workers are also hosting small groups for students in schools.”

Social workers were also strategically placed on campus based on their individual strengths and experiences.

“It was important to put a black male at Anderson Early Childhood Center and for those kids to see an African-American male on staff along with Coach Chris who is also African-American.  I think it’s important for our kids to see that at an early age.  Same thing for putting a Hispanic female at East Side.  It’s so important for our minority students to see and hear people in those positions who they can relate to,” Corey said.

Much like having a school nurse on each campus can positively affect the culture of a school, having a site based social worker can also enhance the learning environment in multiple ways.  More importantly, it gives the students of HCS an added layer of necessary support.

“This will be a game-changer for this district.”