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Standard 22

Pupil, Family, Faculty and Community Linkages and Partnerships

Candidates demonstrate the skills to create and maintain linkages and partnerships with pupils, families, faculty and staff and the community. Candidates demonstrate the ability to advocate for and partner with a wide range of service integration efforts and providers to enhance pupils’ ability to define, work toward and reach their full academic and personal potential.


School Social Work practice increasingly involves interfacing with innovative service delivery models to meet the needs of pupils and their families. To this end, PPS candidates must develop skills to create and maintain linkages and partnerships among all constituencies: pupils; families; faculty; staff; and, the community. Candidates also must acquire the ability to advocate for and partner with various services. Matrix 22-1 illustrates the classes which provide content in support of these learning requirements.

Skills to create and maintain linkages and partnerships

The advanced, multi-systems practice concentration of the MSW and PPS programs provides candidates with both the knowledge and skills to develop and maintain linkages and partnerships at all systems levels. S Wrk 212, HBSE: A Multi Systems Approach provides the foundation knowledge base for understanding how organizations function and interface with one another. Systems theory is examined in-depth to facilitate an understanding of the reciprocal influence of various systems upon one another. This understanding provides the foundation for developing effective practice skills for the school social worker. S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221, Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II, introduce candidates to a generalist, problem-solving approach. Basic practice skills such as engagement, communication, interviewing, facilitation, consultation and collaboration are introduced at five systems levels: individual, family, groups, organization and community. For example, see course content from S Wrk 221 on Inter-organizational collaboration. The advanced practice course for each of these systems builds upon this foundation by addressing more specific and more advanced knowledge and skills for practice at each respective level.

S Wrk 246, Social Work Practice with Formal Organizations, provides much of the advanced practice content relevant to creating and maintaining linkages and partnerships. Course content includes information on the structure and function of human service agencies, staffing, communication, supervision and leadership. Candidates gain both knowledge and practice skills to become effective team members within complex organizations. The course specifically addresses skills to create and maintain linkages and partnerships in the unit on External Relations. Skills in consultation, collaboration, facilitation and team building are developed through class assignments and exercises.

S Wrk 247, Social Work Practice with Communities, addresses the knowledge and skills needed for effective intervention at the community level. Candidates acquire skill in assessing a community and its needs, gaining entry and trust within the community, identifying formal and informal leadership, and learning to mobilize and organize communities to address their needs. These skills are all essential to creating and maintaining linkages and partnerships within and outside of the school setting.

The School Social Work courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, add the specific content related to practice in the school setting. S Wrk 274 provides a thorough knowledge base regarding public schools as organizations as well as the policies that govern public education. Specific practice strategies for creating and maintaining linkages and partnerships are presented, including consultation with teachers and school staff, participation in multi-disciplinary teams, collaboration with families, school staff, program and service providers and the community. The current status of increased school-linked programs and partnerships is examined. For example, see content from S Wrk 275 on Community Practice and SchoolLinked Services. The importance of school social workers being prepared to function effectively in school and community partnerships is emphasized through assigned readings, lecture, and class discussions.

PPS candidates participate in the field practicum (S Wrk 282/283) concurrently with the practice classes in order to facilitate integration of theory and practice. Field internship includes assignments to gain advanced practice skills in collaboration and brokering. They gain first- hand knowledge of team processes, consultation and collaboration with various constituencies, outreach efforts to involve families, and school-community partnerships with various service providers. Some candidates are placed directly with school-linked programs or interface regularly with such programs. As a result, they gain a realistic perspective of the importance and complexity of school-community partnerships.

Ability to advocate for and partner with various services

The ability to advocate for and partner with various services and programs is integral to a system of service delivery that is accessible and meets the needs of pupils, families, schools and communities. There has been progress in developing creative, more user-friendly programs and methods of service delivery for schools and their constituents. However, the innovations have often been hindered by the resistance to change, which is so characteristic of large bureaucracies such as public schools. As a result, PPS candidates need to embrace innovation and change that has the potential to better serve the needs of the community while simultaneously respecting the organizational structure of the schools and learning to be effective advocates for necessary change.

S Wrk 246, Social Work Practice with Formal Organizations, provides candidates with the knowledge and practice skills for understanding and addressing problems at the organizational level. Assessing organizational barriers to accessing services is addressed as well as strategies for overcoming barriers such as agency collaborations and task force groups. For example, see course content on Using Social WorkValues and Advocating for Change. S Wrk 247, Social Work Practice with Communities, provides candidates with skills to assess community needs and develop strategies to address those needs.

The field practicum in the schools, S Wrk 282/283, provides candidates with direct experience in the process of partnering with various service integration efforts and providers. Both the advanced learning agreements and the PPS learning agreement addendum outline assignments to develop these skills. For example, one competency area in the PPS addendum is Candidate demonstrates skill in implementingeffective prevention and intervention strategies, developing programs, and utilizing community resources.Candidates become very familiar with resources available in the community as part of the orientation phase of the internship. They gain experience with linking schools, agencies and communities in order to meet the needs of pupils and families. In doing so, they quickly learn about gaps in resources and work with the MSW/PPS field instructor and other staff and service providers to address these gaps. Candidates often participate in community meetings and task force groups to gain experience in partnering, collaboration and advocacy. Through observation, participation, and supervision, they develop the advanced practice skills necessary to establish and nurture complex school-community partnerships. These skills include effective communication, facilitation, mediation, and advocacy as well as a professional posture which embraces collaboration.











School Social Work


Pupil, Family, Faculty and Community Linkages and Partnerships

200, 203

212, 213

220, 221 224, 225 227, 246 247

280/ 281 282/283

260, 261 292 298/299

274 275


Factors to consider:








Skills to create and maintain linkages and partnerships



220, 221 246, 247



274 275


Ability to advocate for and partner with various services



246, 247

282/ 283




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