School Social Work Services

In Berrien Springs Public Schools, the School Social Workers (SSW), work with both general education and special education students who are showing deficits in social, behavioral, and/or emotional maturity that are affecting them in the classroom and inhibiting academic growth. SSW’s also have direct involvement in connecting students and families in need with resources and serving as that home-school link.

In the special education realm, SSW’s usually provide direct service to students in the following domains:

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that has been evidenced to inhibit academic progress and must meet Michigan Administration for Special Education (MARSE) eligibility requirements. (This is a different set of criteria than doctors in the medical model use to diagnose Autism).  To meet the MARSE eligibility criteria for ASD, a student must demonstrate characteristics in all three of the following domains:

  1. Qualitative impairments in reciprocal social interactions,
  2. Qualitative impairments in communication, and
  3. A restricted range of interests or repetitive behavior.

​Two additional factors may be considered in determining eligibility under the ASD criteria:

  1. Unusual or inconsistent response to stimuli
  2. Age

Emotional Impairment (EI)

Emotional Impairment (EI) which “adversely affect the student's education to the extent that the student cannot profit from learning experiences without special education support” (MARSE, 2018). To meet eligibility requirements for an Emotional Impairment the students behavior must manifest in 1 or more of the following characteristics:

  • Inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships within the school environment.
  • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
  • General pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
  • Tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

Special Education Service Models

School Social Workers provide services to special education students through several different models including:

  • Social Group Pull Out: The SSW pulls the student out in a small group to provide direct instruction in the areas of social/emotional/behavioral development in a separate therapeutic room outside of the classroom to practice skills.
  • One to One Pull Out: The SSW pulls the student out individually to specifically work on issues or skills lacking in the student in a therapeutic room. This can also be a time for behavioral/emotional “check ins” by the social worker to help support the student during the day
  • Co-teaching: The SSW works together with the special education teachers, Speech and Language Therapists, or classroom teachers as part of a team providing instruction to a whole classroom or to a small group of students
  • Consult:  The SSW provides consultation to interventionists so that they may support the educational needs of students with social/emotional/behavioral delays or disorders. This may include facilitating Functional Behavior Analyses and Behavioral Intervention Plans meetings, serving on Multidisciplinary Teams, providing training and support to building staff in how to support students with behavioral concerns, and serving on building Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) teams.

BSPS Social Workers

Mrs. Holmes
School Social Worker
Mars Elementary
sholmes@homeoftheshamrocks.org

Mrs. Constable
School Social Worker
Middle School
sconstable@homeoftheshamrocks.org

Mrs. Zilke
Behavior Specialist/Social Worker 
High School, Virtual Academy, and Discovery Academy
lzilke@homeoftheshamrocks.org