(SUBMITTED PHOTO) Perry Township Schools is the first-ever recipient of the National Award of Excellence for Educator Effectiveness by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) at the organization’s annual conference. Award presenters and recipients, representing the school district, are: from left, front row, Craig Hendrick, Perry Meridian 6th Grade Academy teacher; Whitney Wilkowski, English Learner director; Vickie Carpenter, asst. superintendent for elementary education; Pat Mapes, superintendent; Lowell Milken, NIET chairman and founder; Candice McQueen, CEO; Bob Bohannon, asst. superintendent for secondary education; Jane Pollard, director of elementary education/Title I; Chris Sampson, associate superintendent; middle row, Liz Price, Clinton Young master teacher; Nicole Jewell; Douglas MacArthur Kindergarten Academy principal; Cherie Ramos, Southport 6th Grade Academy ; Tim Cooper, Homecroft Kindergarten Academy master teacher; Jackie Miller, Southport Middle master teacher; Dana DeHart, Mary Bryan Elementary principal; Star Hardimon, Douglas MacArthur principal; Jennifer Dishman, Mary Bryan master teacher; Julie Tennell, Perry Meridian High master teacher; Lora Hansell, Jeremiah Gray Kindergarten Academy principal; back row, Jen Oliver, NIET Sr. Program Specialist; Stephanie Quinlan , Southport Middle School principal; Jennifer Pleak, Rosa Parks Kindergarten Academy principal; Natalie Bohannon, Winchester Village principal; Dave Rohl, Glenns Valley principal; Brian Knight, Southport High principal; Doug Smith, Jeremiah Gray Elementary principal; and David Henriott, Rosa Parks principal.
Perry Township Schools strive to nurture the whole child. In addition to our educators meeting students’ academic needs, our social workers focus on meeting their social and emotional needs. During School Social Work Week, we express our sincere appreciation for the social workers who work with students, families, colleagues, and community members to provide important services for children to succeed. Indiana school social workers are master’s level trained, with dual licensure from the Indiana Professional Licensing Association (IPLA) and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).
They’re also required to be knowledgeable about the laws that impact the students and families they serve. Across our district, eight social workers visit each of our schools to invest their time, training, and expertise to address challenges that may hinder students from properly learning. According to experts, children who are exposed to trauma and tumultuous environments, such as inconsistent housing, abuse, or violence, are more likely to have higher risks of mental health problems, poor performance in school, and an inability to generally function in the world. School social workers are skilled in many areas, including crisis intervention, behavioral management, relationship building, and community partnerships.
They understand human growth and behavior, unique family dynamics, racial and cultural diversity, addictions, and legal issues such as child abuse and neglect. Always leading with compassion, our social workers seek resources and experts who can help students and their families remedy challenges. They are a vital part of the total educational team. Working in collaboration with school psychologists, counselors, nurses, teachers, and administrators, school social workers integrate information from all these sources to provide social, emotional, and behavioral support to the child, the child’s family and the school. The work of our social workers impacts the overall school culture.
Our social workers also like to create happy memories. Last Christmas, our district social workers teamed with community partners and supplied more than 3,400 toys to children in need. This event served 1,200 kids and brought joy to both the families and the social workers. With nearly 16,300 students, our culturally diverse population comes with diverse experiences.
Thank you to our school social workers, and our entire staff, who work with our students to overcome their challenges so they may adapt and thrive.