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CCCS Social Workers: Breaking Barriers
Social workers play a significant role in supporting our students and community, so we would like to tell you about who the CCCS social workers are and what they do.
Parents may see the acronym LMSW behind a name and wonder what it is, so let’s start with that. LMSW stands for Licensed Master Social Worker. What do they do? Well, at CCCS, social workers help break down barriers to learning by empowering our students to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present in the classroom. In other words, they provide the support that keeps our students ready to learn. Social workers serve as a link between home, school, and community, and they foster the collaboration that is key to achieving student success.
As Dr. David Clark, CCCS CEO, puts it, "without the social workers, too many of our students would not have the ability to focus on learning because they would not have the life-basics covered. In many cases, the social workers make sure the students have basic nutrition, transportation, clothing, and sometimes even housing.”
Working to help families get the resources they need, including housing, school uniforms, and bookbags/school supplies, social workers provide constant support to members of our community. This includes partnering with organizations like Cradles to Crayons, which provide new clothing to children facing clothing insecurity. Social workers also assist families with completing the documents required for registration with the McKinney-Vento Act.
Mrs. Keisha Carter, LMSW, is a woman who wears many hats. She is currently in her third year as CCCS’s Lead School Social Worker and her first year as Homeless/Foster Care Liaison. She works with families to provide community resources such as behavioral health, food stability, and clothing assistance. The list of assistance provided is practically unlimited and depends on the particular needs of each individual or family. As the Homeless Liaison, Mrs. Carter works with families across all campuses experiencing housing instability in Delaware or Philadelphia Counties. Homelessness affects many families and includes those who are “doubled up” or living in motels.
Mrs. Carter and the other CCCS social workers assist with getting students transportation to and from school to ensure that their lack of housing doesn’t lead to chronic absenteeism, which is one of the greatest obstacles to learning. As the Foster Care Liaison, she participates in meetings that advocate the best school placement for each individual situation.
Ms. Ward (East Campus) is in her second year at CCCS and says, “I love working here and I love the work I do.” She is particularly proud to be able to help parents and students in times of crisis, providing them with a strong shoulder on which to lean.
Ms. Frigiola (West Campus) says that there are many aspects of being a school social worker that make her love her job, but she is particularly heartened when she sees the students coming into school first thing every morning, and she is touched by experiencing their gratitude for the support she provides.
Mr. Belgrave, who has previously worked as a crisis-intake specialist in a hospital, an English language teacher oversees, and with local service agencies, has brought a wealth of diverse experience to his position and assists middle schoolers and their families as they take on challenges in and out of school.
At CCCS, we greatly appreciate our school social workers' efforts and value their impact on the students. Dr. Clark commented that, “without the commitment of dedicated professionals like Mrs. Carter, Ms. Ward, Ms. Frigiola, and Mr. Belgrave, many of our students would at a loss.” He went on to point out that, “the type of person who takes on the role of school social worker is someone with unique compassion and a sense of caring. We are so grateful for the dedication of these individuals.”
Mrs. Carter is focused on alleviating the issues that should not capture the attention of students, such as housing, food, clothing and supplies. By helping to reduce stress and anxiety outside of the school, she hopes to better prepare CCCS students for learning when they are at school.
In addition to being Lead Social Worker for all CCCS campuses, Mrs. Carter directly oversees social work activities on CCCS’s West Campus. There are also full-time social workers on CCCS’s three other campuses: Anne Ward, LMSW, is assigned to East Campus; Shaheen Frigiola is at CCCS-Upland; and Michael Belgrave, LMSW, is at CCCS-Aston.
Without the commitment of dedicated professionals like Mrs. Carter, Ms. Ward, Ms. Frigiola, and Mr. Belgrave, many of our students would be at a loss”
- Dr. Clark, CCCS CEO