New Mexico Public Education Department: Social Workers for Middle Schools
The purpose of the Social Workers for Middle Schools Initiative is to establish a cohort of middle school social workers placed across the state to address the many social and psychological issues and challenges faced by middle school students and their families that may impact their academic achievement and social well-being in the school environment. School social workers can provide services and supports to students that help reduce risk factors, increase resiliency, and achieve positive student outcomes such as improved behavior, attendance, academic performance, and peer relationships.
Schools participating in the Social Workers for Middle Schools Initiative can develop a school-wide approach to promote positive academic, behavioral, and social traits while also providing more effective and individualized support to students and families requiring such support. Participating schools will benefit from reduced truancy and dropout rates, peer-to-peer conflict, drug and alcohol use, disciplinary or behavioral concerns (e.g., suspensions and expulsions) and improved student well-being and academic success.
Amount: Approximately $1,300,000 is available to New Mexico school districts to support placement of up to 20 school social workers to establish an innovative and impactful social worker program in eligible middle schools.
Eligibility: New Mexico districts, charters, and Regional Educational Cooperatives (RECs) interested in hosting a middle school social worker to provide these services for one or more middle schools are eligible to apply. Specific eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Districts serving at least one middle school of any size or any district or charter serving any of grades 6-8 may apply. Regional Educational Cooperatives representing more than one middle school are also eligible.
- Districts or targeted middle schools do not already have a school social worker position, and must articulate a recruitment strategy to hire an individual with an appropriate license in accordance with STARS assignment code #82 (e.g., ability to recruit from an Institution of Higher Education, or an identified candidate).
- Districts or targeted middle schools should meet one or more of the following criteria (with priority given to those schools meeting multiple criteria): 1) 2013-2014 School Grade of C or lower; 2) 70% or more of students eligible for free or reduced lunch; or 3) Habitual truancy rate of 15% or higher.
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