SDE: Standards

Standards for School Social Work Practice

The following six standards are adapted from and are a synthesis of the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Standards for Professional Practice. These six standards provide the essential foundations guiding social workersí performance in the school environment consistent with the principles, knowledge and performance practices in delivering school social work services. Fidelity to these most significant standards will help staff remain faithful to the mission and philosophy of their profession in delivering social work services in an educational setting. Each of the following standards is organized by definition, principles for guiding practice, content knowledge and performance expectations.

Standard 1: Foundations of Social Work Practice

As leaders and members of student services teams, school social workers are the liaisons between home, school and community in promoting the success of all students by supporting their academic and social success. They advocate for students and assist them to reach developmentally appropriate milestones. Thus, students are enabled to attain age-appropriate learning, adapt to multiple environments and realize their full potential and personal value.

PRINCIPLES

School social workers are committed to the importance of the Social Work Code of Ethics, which includes:

  • service (help people in need and address social problems);
  • social justice (challenge social inequality and injustice and pursue social change);
  • respect (value the dignity and worth of the person);
  • relationships (use human relationships as key tools in the change process);
  • integrity (be aware of the professionís mission, values, ethical principles, standards and practice, and practice in a manner consistent with them);
  • confidentiality (be familiar and comply with the various local, state and federal mandates related to confidentiality); and
  • advocacy (facilitate change that effectively responds to the needs of students, families and school systems).

These principles serve as the basis for all standards that follow.

KNOWLEDGE

School social workers have knowledge and understanding of:

  • human behavior in the social environment, including theoretical perspectives related to human growth and development, learning, systems, communications, social learning and behavior;
  • the broad range of experiences that shape a studentís approach to learning, such as socioeconomic status, gender, culture, disability and sexual orientation;
  • the needs of at-risk children and children with disabilities;
  • child development and biological factors that affect student functioning;
  • local state and federal mandates related to confidentiality and ethical decision making; and
  • research- and evidence-based practices.

PERFORMANCE

School social workers demonstrate the ability to:

  • develop helping relationships with diverse populations and cultural groups, students, families and communities;
  • facilitate, engage in and demonstrate a variety of prevention, intervention and educational activities;
  • provide student services in ways that build studentsí individual strengths and offer students maximum opportunity to participate in the planning and direction of their own learning experience;
  • protect the legal rights and confidentiality of students, their families and other vulnerable groups; and
  • possess and use professional judgment in order to adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics, which results in ethical decision making.

Standard 2: Education and Learning Systems and Organizations

School social workers understand the nature and scope of education systems and learning organizations. They are able to facilitate processes and engage in practices that promote healthy growth and development in the learning environment.

PRINCIPLES

School social workers are committed to the importance of:

  • improving the quality and effectiveness of the learning environment; and
  • supporting activities to overcome institutional barriers to the equitable treatment of all individuals.

KNOWLEDGE

School social workers have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the organization and structure of the local education system;
  • the relationship between practice and policies affecting students;
  • the financial base of the local education agency, the nature and scope of its authority, and the politics of school-community relations; and
  • the uses of technology to enhance communication, facilitate programs, organize information and demonstrate accountability.

PERFORMANCE

School social workers demonstrate the ability to:

  • identify areas of need that are not being addressed by the local education agency and community and work to create services that address these needs;
  • improve educational programs through decisions and actions based on assessment, data collection and empirical evidence;
  • develop and provide services that address the goals and mission of the educational institution and its academic standards;
  • respect and work within the constraints established by the organizational system; and
  • assist in the development of school improvement plans that include the expansion of school resources.

Standard 3: Collaboration

School social workers work with other professionals within the educational setting to promote student development and learning. They collaborate with families and work with community resources to minimize risk factors, promote resiliency and respond to student needs.

Principles

School social workers are committed to the importance of:

  • broad-based collaboration and cooperation both within the school and the community;
  • incorporating family input into developing plans and interventions to address student needs;
  • expanding the availability of resources to enhance student and family functioning;
  • enhancing the functioning of the individual/family within the community; and
  • promoting comprehensive prevention programs.

Knowledge

School social workers have knowledge and understanding of:

  • community resources and their availability to provide appropriate services;
  • the reciprocal influences of home, school and community;
  • the importance of appropriate and culturally sensitive modeling of behavior by school staff and administrators;
  • the diverse cultures and cultural factors that influence student and family relationships with schools; and
  • preventive practices and programs.

Performance

School social workers demonstrate the ability to:

  • develop and maintain positive, constructive relationships with school- and community-based professionals;
  • facilitate trusting and cooperative relationships between parents, the school, and the community;
  • work collaboratively to mobilize resources in the local education agencies and communities to meet the needs of students and families;
  • empower families to effectively use and gain access to educational and community services; and
  • communicate with school personnel regarding family and community influences on student performance.

Standard 4: Assessment

School social workers individually, or as part of a multidisciplinary team, systematically gather data using various methods and sources to assess the needs, characteristics and interactions of students within the school, family and community settings.

Principles

School social workers are committed to the importance of:

  • objective assessment

Knowledge

School social workers need knowledge and understanding of:

  • methods of systematic assessment needed to plan and implement interventions and evaluate the results;
  • the learning process as it relates to developmental stages, learning styles and special learning needs;
  • ecological perspective that focuses on the individual student in the context of the social environment in school, at home and in the community;
  • the functional approach to assessment as it relates to behavior and interventions;
  • the potential biases in assessment approaches with students of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural experiences;
  • the state and federal laws and regulations regarding students with special needs (e.g., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, etc.); and
  • the state and federal laws and mandates pertaining to bilingual education.

Performance

School social workers demonstrate the ability to:

  • collect and analyze data systematically through standardized instruments, records review, interviews and observations, etc.;
  • write a comprehensive bio-psychosocial history (e.g., eating, sleeping, leisure time and study habits, social relations, problem solving skills, etc.) based on multiple informants ó data collection should include appropriate information enabling the understanding of the various social influences that affect a childís learning and particular learning styles and needs;
  • incorporate bio-psychosocial data into reports that include educationally relevant recommendations with outcome measures; and
  • analyze existing data systems (e.g., attendance, disciplinary and academic records), to craft appropriate interventions that will assist students in their overall functioning.

Standard 5: Intervention

School social workers develop and implement intervention plans with individuals, groups, families, the school and the community. They apply empirically validated intervention methods to enable and enhance studentsí educational experiences.

Principles

School social workers are committed to the importance of:

  • supportive adult relationships to successful student outcomes;
  • students and families as major stakeholders in intervention plans;
  • interventions based upon the studentís existing strengths;
  • clinically appropriate interventions; and
  • culturally and linguistically competent practice.

Knowledge

School social workers have knowledge and understanding of:

  • levels of service (individual, group, family or system interventions);
  • scope of service (primary, secondary and tertiary prevention and intervention efforts); and
  • theoretical perspectives such as behavioral, cognitive, psychodynamic, family systems, strength-based, ecological, crisis intervention and conflict resolution.

Performance

School social workers demonstrate the ability to:

  • develop positive working relationships with students, their families, school staff and administration;
  • ensure that students and their families are provided services within the context of a multicultural awareness and competence to enhance the family support of studentsí educational success;
  • select, implement and evaluate appropriate intervention methods based on assessments and empirical evidence that will enhance a studentís learning capacity;
  • run psycho-educational groups within the school setting;
  • recognize and intervene with studentsí mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and self-injurious behavior;
  • assess and intervene with students exhibiting behavioral problems, such as disruptive behavior, substance abuse and bullying;
  • intervene in crises and offer appropriate counseling services or community referrals for all those affected;
  • recognize and intervene appropriately with traumatized children, their families, and school staff;
  • design interventions to promote positive educational experiences and involve the student, family, school personnel and community services when appropriate; and
  • use collaboration and consultation with other professionals to assist in designing and evaluating intervention plans.

Standard 6: Professional Development

School social workers are committed to lifelong learning and they contribute to the professional development of others.

Principles

School social workers are committed to the importance of:

  • keeping current with developing educational and social trends affecting the lives of children;
  • keeping skills current with best practices in school social work;
  • maintaining credentials and knowledge base in school social work;
  • continuing self-assessment, evaluation and professional development; and
  • contributing to the advancement of the profession.

Knowledge

School social workers have knowledge and understanding of:

  • reforms in education, school social work and evidence-based models of practice;
  • limits and boundaries of professional roles within the educational system and the community; and
  • opportunities for continuing education.

Performance

School social workers demonstrate the ability to:

  • actively use supervision, collaboration, consultation and professional development to support areas of professional growth;
  • provide educational opportunities for students, parents, other professionals and the community;
  • contribute to the development of the profession by educating and supervising school social work interns and other social workers; and
  • actively participate in professional associations.
 




Content Last Modified on 7/22/2014 12:31:07 PM