Working with School Social Workers
The recommendation is that mentors contact the school social worker of whichever schools their families have kids attending, with the following things in mind:
How to contact them:
- Call main number for school and ask to speak to the social worker OR ask for social worker's email address.
- School social workers tend to be very overloaded with many many many things to do. In a perfect world, they would be able to give each student the care and attention they need. Realistically, they are working hard always and have a hard time keeping up with the needs of the schools. If you don't hear back from them, don't be scared to reach out again.
Ways to make sure schools know they have permission to talk to you about students (one of these should be fine, some schools may want both):
- Have mentee add your name to emergency contact list (mentee can do this by calling main office at school, or going in to main office at school)
- Have mentee fill out school district release of information form with your information. To get this done, mentee can either go in to school main office and ask to fill one out then and there, can ask that the form get sent home with their child and they fill it out and send it back in with the child (make sure kid REMEMBERS to give it to teacher!), or you could try emailing school social worker or teacher to ask them to email you a scanned copy/print it out/have mentee fill it out/scan it back to school.
- Call school while mentee is with you so they can give permission over the phone that school talk with you. This will likely work with some schools, and not cut it with others. Worth a try!
What to say to school social worker:
- State that the point of your phone call (or email) it to simply let them know that you are associated with the family, and should be considered a point of contact if the school is having a hard time engaging with family. Best practice is that school also is trying to reach out to family directly as well.
- School could contact you if they are trying to arrange any outside supports/services/programming for student. Make sure they know that you can be helpful with helping family to fill out certain forms, coordinate planning for summer camps/etc, anything else that may come up.
- Let school know of any concerns that you hear from parents/students.
- Anything else that comes to mind!