Back To School 2020

Michigan Association of School Social Workers


MASSW understands that this year may be the most challenging year for some. We want to assist you in any way possible as we all head into uncharted territory. Below are a few helpful links to assist you in working through COVID-19.

Talking with Children about Coronavirus Disease 2019:

Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children.

OCR Announces Notification of Enforcement Discretion of Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

Ethical Exceptions for Social Workers in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Physical Distancing

Creating your Digital SSW Office: The SSWN Interview With Bridget Hills-Yoder


Click HERE for Michigan's current Return to School Roadmap from Governor Gretchen Whitmer, COVID-19 Task Force on Education and the Return to School Advisory Council.

The following information was presented to the House Education Committee by the School Mental Health Providers:

School Mental Health Coalition

Recommendations on the MI Safe Schools Roadmap

HB 5910-5913


  • 14 million students in schools with no counselors/nurses/psychologists/social workers

  • Chronic, unmitigated stress leads to challenges in memory and learning

  • Standardized Assessment during and after a crisis raises concerns regarding effects on performance/validity of results

  • Long lasting mental health symptoms are expected post COVID-19 pandemic


  • Leadership in Governance Regulatory Issues: “A time for Grace”

  • Strong Leadership, Unity, Collaboration, and Collectively “Working for the Greater Good” are critical elements in a time of crisis--A Case study in field collaboration: MDE/SBMPs Pandemic Return to School Toolkit: A Focus on Physical and Mental Health Well-being for Educators and Families

  • MI Safe Start Phases 1 - 3

    • Mental Health Debriefing for all district staff

    • Mental Health Screening for all students completed prior to benchmark assessments

    • Support for Crisis Teams for Remote-Only Work

    • Guidance for parents on recognizing trauma and crisis in students at home, and how to access school resources to cope

  • MI Safe Start Phase 4 - 6

    • Mental Health Debriefing for all district staff

    • Mental Health Defusing for all district staff

    • Mental Health Screening for all students completed prior to benchmark assessments

    • Mental Health Debriefing for all students

    • Mental Health Defusing for all students in need

    • Mental Health small group opportunities for students in need

Short Term Considerations

  • Remove sunset on MDE critical shortage list / Pro mental health budget considerations

  • School Mental Health Presence on State-wide workgroups that focus on Crisis Planning, Emergency Team Development, Critical Incident Management, Trauma Related Issues/Practices, and to study/respond to the longitudinal effects of COVID-19

  • Increase Attention and Funding towards Universal Screening, Multi-Tiered Level of Supports (MTSS), Emergency Planning, Development of Crisis Planning and Response Teams, 31n Enhancing School Mental Health Capacity, and supporting Integrative Practices that focus on the Whole Child.

Future Considerations

  • Ensure Mental Health is part of the School Improvement Process

  • Ensure that Mental Health, Wellness, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) are fully integrated within All school curriculums in Michigan

  • Focus portion of $1.3 billion recommendation in Return to Learn on grants to districts to recruit and retain more School Counselors, Social Workers and School Psychologists

For more information and current executive orders, please visit Michigan Department of Education.

"We will continue to put safety first, leveraging science, data, and public health evidence to inform the decisions we make to serve each and every student in Michigan well."

-Governor Gretchen Whitmer


Big picture
On July 15th and 16th President Amy Chapman and newly-elected Recording Secretary LaTisha Myles attended a two-day virtual Delegate Assembly Meeting with SSWAA, consisting of stars from across the nation, in order to promote SSW and advocate for the students, families and communities we serve.

For more updates and information, please visit our Facebook Page!


"It is possible to prepare for the future without knowing what it will be. The primary way to prepare for the unknown is to attend to the quality of our relationships, to how well we know and trust one another." -Margaret Wheatley, 2004

The July 2020 Publication of The Exchange can be found HERE.

In The Exchange you will find:

  • A Message from MASSW President, Amy Chapman
  • School Research: An initial guide to leveraging the power of social and emotional learning as you prepare to reopen and renew your school community.


MASSW Board Meeting Highlights:

6/23/2020 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Executive Board Members Present:

Amy Chapman- President, Michel DeJulian- Vice President, Jessica Miller- Interim Recording Secretary, Jessica Gouin-Tripiano- Treasurer

Members Present:

Judy Sulaver- PAC Chairperson & Interim Legislative Chairperson, LaTisha Myles- Legislative Committee Member & incoming Recording Secretary, Kristen Whiston- Legislative Committee Member, Laura Milner- Conference Co-Chairperson, Alicia Wolfsen- Conference Registrar, Donna Secor-Pennington- Communications Liaison, Maegan Laub- Social Media & Group Page Development, Toni Pautke- Webmaster, Patricia Sager- Finance Committee Chairperson, Dawn Inde- Finance Committee Member & Region B Treasurer, Carri Griffin- Membership Chairperson, Wendy Lyon- Continuing Education Liaison, Sue Welcome- Professional Standards Chairperson, Sandy Bennett- Midwest Council Representative, Kathy Weaver- Midwest Council Member, Kim Burzynski- Public Information Chairperson, Noah Smith- Capitol Services lobbyist for MASSW, Tara Lovejoy- Region C President, Michelle Thompkins- Region D President, Linda Bruckner- Region J President, Jill Champagne- Region K President, Annette Hobrecht- Region M President


  • The MASSW Board approved, on a motion by Pat Sager and seconded by Tara Lovejoy, the draft minutes of its May 16th, 2020 virtual meeting.


  • LaTisha Myles was announced as the new Recording Secretary following the general election held on June 18th.

  • The board unanimously approved Amy Chapman’s recommendation of Amy Steinman as the new Public Information Chairperson.

Report Sharing

  • Reports were shared by the Treasurer, Finance Chairperson (annual audit completed), Legislative Committee Chairperson, Capitol Services representative, Membership Chairperson, and Conference Committee.

  • A report that will be presented at the Delegate Assembly hosted by School Social Workers of America was shared by President Amy Chapman which details the associations operations, strengths and weaknesses.

Motions Carried

  • A motion by Tara Lovejoy was made and seconded by Toni Pautke to allow one of the three association’s CD’s that was up for renewal to roll over. The motion was carried.

  • A motion was made by Toni Pautke and seconded by Tara Lovejoy that the association adopt a virtual 2020-2021 20 CE opportunity over the course of the school year in lue of the cancelled in-person conference. The motion was unanimously accepted.

  • A motion was made by Toni Pautke and seconded by Laura Milner that MASSW allow an upgrade to the website at the proposal premium of $4,495, by reallocating monies that were not used for the 2019 and 2020 summer board retreat meetings. This motion was unanimously carried.

  • A motion was made by Judy Sulaver and seconded by Alisha Wolfsen that the board move to terminate using BluePay for processing Membership fees and transition to using PayPal. This motion was unanimously approved.

MASSW has put together a talented team to make much needed improvements to our website! Stay tuned for exciting changes coming your way!!



COVID-19 Related Stories For Schools by Autism Little Learners: Resources and ideas for families and educators.


"Seven tips on how to engage with kids of all ages to help them maintain emotional stability during this crisis, followed by guidance on how to tailor conversations for kids of different ages." Check out this article HERE for ways that you can help support your students and families during this pandemic.


  • "Notice and name body sensations, thoughts and emotions. Stop and be aware of surroundings." -Psychology Today - Click HERE for the full article.
  • When kids are anxious or stressed, these techniques can help them relax and regain their sense of control. Practice THESE strategies to help discover what works best for different children.
  • Parents are the filter through which their kids see this crisis. How adults talk about it matters. Read more HERE.


"Things you can do to support yourself: Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to the news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep. Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling." -CDC



A Note from MASSW Region A Board to it's members:

Dear MASSW Region A Members,

I hope that you are all doing well, safe, and healthy. We are happy to announce that we have set our schedule for professional development opportunities for the 2020-2021 school year. Attached, you will find a flier with the dates for professional development and directions on how to register. As a board, our consideration for your safety and well-being is our priority. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we did not feel comfortable hosting our professional development opportunity at Wayne RESA and have made the decision to host this professional development via Zoom. At this time, we will only be accepting registration for the November 3rd, 2020 professional development. Participants will earn 6 CE's and the cost for this professional development will be $25 for members. We will make a decision regarding location for the remaining dates for 2021 (either virtual or in-person) and begin accepting registrations for the remaining professional development series by mid-November as location will impact the cost. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you or your district for registration.

Thank you for your understanding and we hope to see you in November. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact anyone on the board.

Melissa Taub-McNabb, President

Bridget Kramer, Vice President

Shannon Kelly-Buzuvis, Trasurer

Karen Dunholter, Secretary

Susan McDaniel, Registrar

If you would like to contribute to the Electronic Newsletter from MASSW with information regarding your Region, please reach out to us at