Information provided by the San Benito County Office of Education.
The San Benito County Office of Education has hired three social workers through the Learning Communities for School Success Program Grant who will work with students across San Benito County.
According to an Oct. 2 press release, the Success Program Grant is the result of a consortium consisting of the San Benito County Office of Education, the Aromas-San Juan Unified School District, the Hollister School District, and the San Benito High School District. The grant provides $1.47 million over three years which will be used to address chronic absenteeism by identifying underlying social emotional issues experienced by many of our students.
The released named the social workers as Amit Bhandal, Cristal Guevara and Adrianna Gallegos. Each has a Masters Degree in Social Work as well as a Pupil Personnel Services Credential allowing them to provide case management, counseling and therapeutic intervention for students and families focused on creating a positive learning environment. They serve as members of the school crisis team to provide intervention to students and assessing for safety. In addition, they provide training and workshops to parents and school staff.
The release stated that school social workers assess and identify factors that could affect a student’s learning and general wellbeing by consulting with parents, teachers and other school staff to find strategies for dealing with challenges related to social emotional and academic needs. As part of the intervention team, they collaborate with school counselors, student services staff and with community based organizations to support student success and provide resources. School social workers often conduct home visits and facilitate individual and group counseling sessions to address specific social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students. Ultimately, the goal is to develop resiliency strategies and a positive self-concept so students can be successful in school.