Courtesy of the San Benito County Office of Education:
Through the Learning Communities for School Success Program (LCSSP) Grant, the San Benito County Office of Education has hired three School Social Workers to work with students across San Benito County. The LCSSP Grant is the result of a consortium consisting of the San Benito County Office of Education, the Aromas San Juan Unified School District, the Hollister School District, and the San Benito High School District. The grant provides $1.47 million over three years. Funds are used to address chronic absenteeism by identifying underlying social emotional issues experienced by many of our students.
School Social Workers Amit Bhandal, Cristal Guevara and Adrianna Gallegos each have a Masters Degree in Social Work as well as a Pupil Personnel Services Credential which allows them to provide case management, counseling and therapeutic intervention for students and families focused on creating a positive learning environment. They serve as members of the school crisis team to provide intervention to students and assessing for safety. In addition, they provide training and workshops to parents and school staff.
School social workers assess and identify factors that may affect a student’s learning and general wellbeing by consulting with parents, teachers and other school staff to find strategies for dealing with challenges related to social emotional and academic needs. As part of the intervention team, they collaborate with school counselors, student services staff and with community based organizations to support student success and provide resources. School Social Workers often conducting home visits and facilitate individual and group counseling sessions to address specific social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students. Ultimately, the goal is to develop resiliency strategies and a positive self-concept so students can be successful in school.