Seattle Public Schools


School Social Worker

SPS School Social Worker Program

Welcome to Seattle Public Schools School Social Worker Program!

The school social worker’s purpose and role is to provide an integral link between school, home, and community in helping students achieve academic and social success. This is accomplished by removing barriers and providing services that include Mental Health and academic counseling, social-emotional learning, support for students and parents, crisis prevention and intervention, professional case management, collaboration with other professionals, organizations, and community agencies, and advocacy support for students and parents.

School Social Workers (SSW) are trained Mental Health Clinicians who hold an advanced degree (MSW) with an Educational Staff Associate Certificate (ESA).

SSWs work on-site in individual schools to provide wrap-around support services that include:

  • Short-term mental health counseling (individual and groups).
  • Collaboration and referrals to an outside therapist, psychiatrist, pediatrician, and other community organizations that support the mental health and wellness of young people and their families.
  • Suicide screening and referral (SBIRT)
  • Increasing academic success with strategic supports
  • Developing positive social skills 
  • Teaching problem-solving, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills 
  • Providing ongoing emotional and behavioral support 
  • Moving students from being dependent to becoming independent
  • Provide resources for parenting support and education. 
  • Refer to community agencies. 
  • Consult with parents regarding childhood and educational concerns. 
  • Facilitate school/home/community communication. 
  • Build family advocacy for systems change.
  • Identifying and eliminating educational barriers
    • Educating how factors of family, culture, socio-economic status, and physical and mental health affect student learning 
  • Coordinating resources
    • Providing professional development on social, emotional, behavioral, and well-being strategies and interventions 
  • Providing analysis, development, implementation, and evaluation of various school-based programs:
    • Inclusionary Practices (Universal Design for Learning)
    • Multi-tiered System of Supports 
    • Restorative Practices 
    • Early Learning Programs