Social Work 720

SOWK 720: School Social Work

Prerequisites: Graduate Standing in the MSW Program or Permission of Instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

This course is designed as an entry for social workers into the School as a complex host organization for social work practice. Philosophical, societal, population and cultural sensitivity issues are addressed. School Social Work emphasis area elective.

Detailed Description of Course

Thematic Outline

I. Historical, legal and cultural foundations for School Social Work
II. Issues for Social Workers

    A. Working in a Host Environment: A values dilemma?
    B. Clinical issues in School Social Work
    C. Special Education

III. Community Networking

Detailed Description of the Content of the Course

The course introduces students to the underlying philosophy of School Social Work. Current programs and policies, which guide school social work are studied, along with the legislative imperatives that influence school social work. The context of school social work is studied including the place of schools in society, the expectations placed upon schools to educate and socialize children, and the changing nature of the school-community-society environment. Culture, class, race, ethnicity and gender are introduced as attributes that must be understood in the practice of school social work. Students are introduced to the special problems, demands and needs of children and youth in schools, along with the roles school social workers play in relationship to children, families, community, and other professionals within and external to schools.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals: to sensitize social workers to the school as a practice environment.

Objectives: Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

1. identify the place of schools in society and the obligations between parents, children and the schools to fulfill the socialization purpose of education
2. analyze the current programs and policies that are in place in Virginia and elsewhere
3. analyze best practice models in school social work
4. exhibit sensitivity to the diversities among children and youth and the meaning those attributes hold for groups and individuals
5. interact with children and youth having special problems and needs, including impairments as defined by law (emotionally
impaired, mentally impaired, learning disabled, autistic impaired, physically and otherwise health impaired, and speech and language
6. explore the complexities of the roles of school social workers
7. engage in interdisciplinary aspects of working with teachers, superintendents, school boards, community members in advocating
for and furthering the understanding of children and youth.

Assessment Measures

Assessment revolves around assignments (written and oral) that call forth critical analysis, for instance:

Book reports on families with children with disabilities, the family structure, coping strategies, and the way families experience professionals and professional intervention;
The ways of relationship-building Analysis of a societal/school issue from a professional publication
An interview of a teacher on variables associated with student academic achievement
A case study of a school-based parent education program
Analysis of a local education agency budget

Other Course Information


Review and Approval

April 2000 New course approval