Standard 5

School Culture and Related Systems

Candidates understand the organizational culture and politics of public school and related systems particularly as they relate to the role of student advocate and the professional role of the child welfare and attendance supervisor.

Introduction

PPS candidates in school social work and child welfare and attendance develop comprehensive knowledge of the organizational culture and politics of the public school and related systems. Through coursework and the field practicum, they acquire a working knowledge of the school system as an organization. They also develop and apply an understanding of the student advocate role of the school social worker and CWA supervisor. The coursework which provides this knowledge base is depicted in Matrix 5-1.

Understanding of the organizational culture and politics of public school and related systems

The MSW curriculum is grounded in social systems theory and its complementary ecological approach as a framework for social work and CWA practice. Thus, students gain a thorough understanding of groups and organizations as social systems as well as ways in which systems influence and impact upon each other. Policy and foundation classes which address these areas of knowledge include Social Welfare Policy I (S Wrk 200); Social Welfare Policy II (S Wrk 203), HBSE: A Multi Systems Approach (S Wrk 212) and HBSE: Cultural Diversity and Oppression (S Wrk 213). For example, see the S Wrk 212 unit which addresses systems theory in Week3.

The advanced practice courses concerned with large systems utilize this foundation in social systems theory and present knowledge and practice skills for intervention.

S Wrk 246, Social Work Practice with Formal Organizations, provides specific content on the structure and functioning of large organizations such as school systems. Topics which are addressed include decision-making, personnel and staffing, planning, communication, supervision and leadership. S Wrk 274, Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools, complements this content with information that is specific to public schools. For example, see the course content on The School as an Educational, Political & Social System. The central role of practice in a host setting is infused throughout the course and there is regular discussion of the politics inherent to this role. Organizational information such as governance structures, funding, regulatory policies and procedures, programs, eligibility for special education and the rights and obligations of schools, parents and pupils are all covered in this course. Candidates review systems theory and apply it to practice in a school setting as a CWA provider. They also learn to analyze the school setting as an organization and demonstrate this ability in a School Practice Paper for the course. This assignment requires the candidate to demonstrate understanding of school culture and politics as they are influenced by school structure (formal and informal), school climate, formal and informal leadership, decision-making roles of school personnel, rules and regulations, school support services and other relevant aspects of organizational functioning.

S Wrk 247, Social Work Practice with Communities, provides the knowledge and practice skills for understanding and working with the community in which schools are located. Topics include assessment of community needs, entry into the community, identification of community leaders, analysis of sources of power and power differentials, and knowledge of available resources in the community. One sample assignment of this content from S Wrk 247 is the community Needs Assessment Paper:. This knowledge base prepares candidates for intervention at the community level through social planning and community organizing.

The field practicum in the schools, S Wrk 282/283, provides candidates with the opportunity to further develop their understanding of the school system as an organization through direct practice as a school social worker and CWA provider. This hands-on experience facilitates the integration of course content with practice. It also allows candidates to experience their role as a school social worker and CWA provider within the structure and mission of the school setting. As members of the pupil support team, candidates develop understanding of their “guest” status in the educational environment and strategies to facilitate joining and professional survival. They are oriented to the importance of national, state and local professional organizations as sources of professional support as well as life-long learning through continuing education.

Understanding of the role of student advocate

The foundation knowledge base for understanding the advocate role and developing practice strategies for advocacy is presented in S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221, Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II. Candidates are introduced to Social Work as a helping profession and examine the values and purpose of social work as well as the professional change process. They also learn about the multiple roles of a social worker, many of which are applicable to the CWA provider. The role of advocacy is central to both professional positions. For example, see the S Wrk 221 exercise on advocacy in this Skill Practice. S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221 provide foundation knowledge to prepare candidates to deliver effective services by addressing the helping relationship, engagement skills and skills for communication, problem solving and intervention at all systems levels. These skills are further developed throughout the advanced practice concentration for application at each respective systems level: individual; family; group; formal organization; and, community.

Knowledge and skills for advocacy are taught in all of the practice courses. In keeping with the program mission, candidates learn to provide advanced, multi system intervention that demonstrates a commitment to social justice, diversity/cultural competence, and empowerment. These intervention strategies include advocacy at all systems levels, including pupils, families, school staff, the school and other related organizations and the community. Both of the School Social Work/CWA courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, provide specific content on strategies for advocacy in the school setting and with community organizations on behalf of pupils and families with attendance and child welfare issues. This knowledge and its accompanying skills are put into practice during the field practicum in the schools, S Wrk 282/283. The S Wrk 282 and S Wrk 283 learning agreements both include assignments that support the student advocate role such as mutuality in service planning, complex case management, and advocacy/brokering. The PPS learning agreement addendum also includes specific assignments in the role of pupil advocacysuch as participation in educational teams such as Student Study, 504, and manifestation determination as well as advocacy concerning appropriate discipline and alternatives to suspension or expulsion.

Department of Social Work Education PPS Credential Program

MATRIX 5-1

STANDARD #5

Policy

HBSE

Practice

Field

Research

School Social Work

CWA

School Culture and Related Systems

200, 203

212, 213

220, 221 224, 225 227,246 247

280,281 282, 283

260, 261 292 298/299

274 275

274 275

Factors to consider:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding of the organizational culture and politics of public school and related systems

200, 203

212, 213

246, 247

282, 283

 

 

274

Understanding of the student advocate role

 

 

220, 221 224, 225 227,246 247

282, 283

 

 

274 275

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