Social workers support students, staff

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Photo by Elizabeth Hsieh

Shannon Tierney, Editor-In-Chief

When students need an outlet to vent their emotions, from balancing classes, extracurricular activities, social life, as well as family relationships, the middle of class is not the place to do it.
Offered in student services, social workers are available to students throughout the day to aid with these difficulties.
”I think that we’re here to help with any kind of crisis a student might be having and also any of their social, emotional needs. We’re here if a student has an IEP and we can be there for them when they need help during the day,” Marissa Cuttica, social worker intern, said.
Social workers are partners to the education system and offer assistance to students, parents, and staff to identify needs that interrupt the proper learning cycle as well as provide support with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
“My social worker is very nice and is open to dealing with any issue I might have with friends or with my classes,” Lara Ayala, senior, said.
It might be difficult for some students to talk about their personal issues, but social workers exude patience and are ready to wait.
“It all comes down to if a student wants to talk with us. We don’t really push for them to talk if they don’t feel like talking. I would be pretty much straight forward and ask how things are going,” Alan Bank, social worker, said.
Students appreciate having someone who is close by who they can easily access so that pressures do not build up.
“Having someone who is patient with me makes it a lot easier to get things out when I actually need to talk, and it’s less difficult for me to bottle things up,” Ayala said.
Social workers are supports and want the best for their students and they strive to be as helpful as they can, especially when more serious situations arise.
“Many times there are certain situations where students can’t focus at all because of boyfriend/girlfriend problems and family problems and we can help them get back to class,” Bank said.
Social workers allow students to reach their full academic potential.
“Emotional distress due to home life or mental health diagnoses can make it difficult for kids to concentrate in class and complete work,” Jaclyn Kwiatt, social worker, said.
Teachers also appreciate having social workers available.
“And to have somebody who is trained to deal with some very confidential and delicate situations is valuable to us as a faculty and to the students,” Karin Walker, English teacher, said.
Having people available who know what they are doing and know how to react quickly to important situations is a huge advantage for students.
“We can have somebody available to them [students] during the day to help right away instead of letting the issue sit and fester,” Cuttica said.
A school without social workers would not create as successful students because they would no longer have that emotional support they may need.
“If a school existed with just teachers and no social workers and counselors, students wouldn’t have anyone to help support them with emotional problems that may affect their academics,” Kwiatt said.
Social workers are the backbone of a lot of students’ acadmeic careers and provide the support that is needed for students to get by.
“High school can be a very difficult experience for kids, so we are here to help kids make it through and graduate,” Kwiatt said.