Mission of RPS School Social Work
The mission of School Social Work services in the Ralston school district is to promote a working relationship of trust and mutual respect between school, home and community agencies concerned with student success.
Students and families occasionally face a variety of barriers to a successful educational experience. Anything outside the walls of the school building can create a barrier. School Social Work services can help by providing a link to the school and community to help support a student and their family overcome these barriers and achieve their potential.
Some of these barriers may include:
Socioeconomic: basic needs like food, clothing, rent, utilities, or shelter (homelessness). We can make referrals to agencies that can help in these areas.
Social-emotional: For parents/grandparents/legal guardians: managing stress, decision-making, parenting, and advocating for their student. For students: support for mental health needs such as anxiety, depression, impulse control, anger management, focused attention, or managing the effects of trauma. School Social Work services can provide some direct counseling services in addition to referrals.
Legal: Students involved in the juvenile justice system or returning from placements outside the family home; domestic violence, divorce or custody issues; or the need for legal resources. School Social Work services can help you understand the system and put you in touch with the right people, or suggest where to find legal services.
Medical: medical insurance, vision or dental care, prescription medication resources. School Social Work services can put you in touch with agencies like the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to see if you qualify for aid, or work with School Nurses and Health Aides in the schools to find resources.
Temporary crisis situations: conflicts or emergencies of any kind. School Social Work services can be provided to consult with families and help them through crisis situations or recommend contacting the Nebraska Family Helpline at 1-888-866-8660.
Focus on School Attendance
School Social Work services are directly involved in matters related to school attendance. “Strive for Less Than Five” absences per year. Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to graduation. Absences related to illness, injury, hospitalization, family situations or emergencies can be addressed in partnership with the school to ensure the student doesn’t fall behind. However, absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty. Always call the school daily to let them know the reason your child is absent, especially if they are refusing school. Students rarely refuse to attend school in the Ralston district, but School Social Work services can assess school refusal with you as your partner if you notice it happening at home.
Problematic absenteeism includes:
- Missing 10% (18 days of school in one year is considered chronically absent)
- Missing 10% of school over any 15 week period (10 days per semester)
- Missing 25% of school for a minimum of 2 weeks (2-3 days over two weeks)
- School refusal or pleas for nonattendance that causes family duress
The School Social Worker can consult with you privately and confidentially if you have any concerns about your child’s attendance. The School Social Worker will attend any meeting at school to help assess school refusal or truancy and to help develop a collaborative attendance plan to solve the problem. Help is also available from outside partnering agencies in the community. Prevention is key. If a student misses more than 20 days of school and our collaborative plan to solve the problem has not been successful, a referral to the county attorney is required. The School Social Worker can continue to provide support to you and your child throughout this process. We will not give up until the problem is solved.
The primary value of the Social Work profession is client self-determination. This means Social Workers take the time to find out what the student and family say they need to be successful and overcome barriers they are experiencing. It is the responsibility of the School Social Worker to assist a family in meeting their own needs by providing either direct services that address their needs or information and referral to new or existing social services in the community designed to meet their specific needs in order to remove barriers to a successful education
- Information and referral to new and existing services in the community
- Individual, small group and family counseling or skill instruction - in the home if requested
- Consultation with parents, legal guardians and school personnel
- Liaison and building partnerships between home and school
- Prevention is the best way to ensure a child’s success
- Strengths, successes, and exceptions to a problem should be used to meet needs
- Success needs to be measurable so we can make better decisions
- A Crisis Plan should always be developed soon (so the adults know what to do)
- Any change in a plan should come from the whole team, not any one individual
- Unconditional: if the plan isn’t working, we should change the plan
About School Social Work
- School Social Work in Ralston is provided by a Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW), also Nebraska Licensed as a Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP)
- School Social Work services are provided free of charge to any family who has a child enrolled in Ralston Public Schools, attending any Elementary or Secondary building
- School Social Work services can be requested directly by parents, legal guardians of students, or by school administrators on behalf of teachers, School Counselors, School Psychologists, and Student Assistance Teams
- School Social Work services are entirely voluntary for families
- A School Social Worker can be contacted in confidence directly by families with any questions about the services they provide and what they can do for you
Steve Snodgrass, LCSW
School Social Worker
Ralston Public Schools
8545 Park Drive
Ralston, NE 68127