Shout out to the school counselors, social workers, and psychologists serving Granite District students. Often unsung advocates in in the background, these essential employees are critical partners for students and their academic success. We know from research that stress and trauma in a student’s life may block the ability for them to learn. These mental health professionals not only guide students’ daily studies but give them the confidence to prepare for college and career after high school. Sadly, Utah does not have a legislated mandate limiting the number of students each school mental health provider is assigned which means that numbers assigned to one of these advocates could easily be in the 1,000’s.
We have no doubt that every student is under some level of stress and anxiety right now. Students who regularly move through the social and academic stresses of school with some ease, are experiencing unprecedented times. High school students who should be focusing on ACT tests, graduation, and post-secondary education are now called to care of younger siblings, older adults in the family, and manage continued on-line learning.
This AdvoCat’s granddaughter is a 5th grade student at a Granite elementary school. This young person lives daily with anxiety, and experiences sensory issues. Without the regular support of the school social worker, she would not be thriving successfully. Not only does the school social worker support this student, but so does the school office assistants and other educators in the building. Her school career in Granite has been successful in part to the caring people in our school buildings.
Knowing that this student (one of many on her caseload) has high anxiety around transitioning to middle school next year, and is facing the reality that she will likely not be going back to her 5th grade classroom, the school social worker contacted my daughter to set up a conference with my granddaughter to check in and see how she’s surviving the school dismissal. I can’t share enough how important this one-on-one connection was to my granddaughter, but what blows me away is that this social worker is making a difference for the other 500+ assigned students!
So please, help me give a “shout out” to all of Granite’s school counselors, social workers, and psychologists working so hard right now to support students during this stressful period (and beyond).