Professional Leadership Development
The program provides candidates with opportunities and experiences to display an understanding of the development, improvement and evaluation of programs that support effective pupil learning. The program also provides candidates with an understanding of the importance of leadership by the pupil personnel services provider in operating as a systems change agent.
Candidates acquire an understanding of the development, improvement and evaluation of programs that support effective pupil learning. They also demonstrate understanding of the importance of leadership from the PPS provider as a systems change agent. Demonstration that each content area has been satisfactorily learned and applied is evidenced by a passing grade in the relevant courses, an overall grade point average of 3.0, and a grade of “Credit” for the field practicum. The specific content areas are listed and discussed below.
Understanding of the development, improvement and evaluation of programs that support effective pupil learning
PPS candidates gain foundation knowledge of human behavior in formal organizations and communities in S Wrk 212. Theoretical approaches to the organization of human services and communities are addressed, including theories of bureaucracy, decision-making, and social change. This content can be found in the S Wrk 212 syllabus beginning with week 11, Organizational Theories/Models.
The foundation practice courses, S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221, introduce knowledge and skills for practice at the organizational level. This foundation prepares candidates for advanced practice in the second year of the program. S Wrk 246, Social Work Practice with Formal Organizations, presents the knowledge and skills for effective program development, implementation and evaluation. For example, see the course content that begins with Program Design. It includes steps in program planning, budgeting, supervision, and formative and summative evaluation. S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275 include specific content on program planning, implementation and evaluation to support effective pupil learning. This content is found throughout both courses in assigned readings as well as in seminar discussion on resources, funding, and innovative practices among the various internship sites. Current trends in school reform are also examined in light of their impact on current pupil services as well as planning for future programs.
The second year practicum, S Wrk 282/283, provides the opportunity for students to implement program planning, implementation and evaluation in the schools. For example, the PPS learning agreement addendum includes learning assignments under competency 6 to develop programs and activities topromote pupil success.
Candidates gain knowledge about the various programs and resources available at the school and district levels to facilitate effective program planning. This knowledge is gained through consultation and collaboration with school staff, networking with personnel in school-based programs, and supervision with the MSW/PPS field instructor. They also learn about the various sources of funding for programs at the local, state and federal levels. PPS interns have had the opportunity to participate in grant writing and delivering services that are part of grant-funded programs.
Leadership as a systems change agent
PPS candidates are socialized throughout the MSW and PPS program to the leadership role inherent to being a school social worker. In keeping with the mission of the program, candidates acquire an understanding of a commitment to social justice, cultural diversity and practice informed by an empowerment perspective. Thus, the role of systems change agent and the skills to support this role, such as collaboration, persuasive communication and advocacy, are a core component of social work.
S Wrk 246, Social Work Practice with Formal Organizations, addresses the knowledge and skills for effective leadership as a systems change agent. For example, see course calendar for week 3 on EthicalPractice: Using Social Work Values and Advocating for Change. Course content includes key practice areas such as effective communication, formal and informal communication processes, decision-making and leadership. S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools I and II, provide the specialized knowledge of the schools as a context for social work practice. Candidates develop a clear understanding of their “guest” status within the educational setting and methods to build bridges to become effective team members. Once their credibility has been established, methods for advocacy at the organizational level are presented through various course assignments. One example from S Wrk 274 is the class session devoted to Special Education: Discipline and Policy Practice. The concurrent enrollment in a school field placement, S Wrk 282/283, provides the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to practice. Candidates have multiple opportunities to participate in advocacy for systems change. These opportunities include participation in multidisciplinary team meetings, advocacy for policy changes with school staff and administrators, and empowering parents to organize in support of the best interests of their children.