Oakland Schools Social Work News

End of Year, 2015 News from Steve Whitmore, SSW Consultant


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When I was in direct service, about now is when I would begin the packing of three offices into boxes so that the physical space could be “cleaned” over the summer. In some cases, I could leave items on bookcases and just cover them; but in other cases, I would have to pack up my car because I’d be moving to another assignment.

While packing, I’d run across phone call messages that were never returned (because the slip got mixed in with something else), find incomplete projects started with kids (due to lack of time), and inevitably discover overdue Medicaid reminders (don’t need to explain that one). These things would get me a little down because they were reminders of how I couldn’t be as “efficient” as I had wanted. I would quickly throw these things away and move on.

But I would also come across “Thank You” notes from parents (maybe even with a gift card!), drawings given to me by students telling me I was a great friend or listener, and photos of proud students standing next to their group accomplishments. I would smile and sometimes, laugh. These went in a pile to go home.

It is the latter group that I would like to add to by giving you a note of “Thanks” for all you have done this year for kids. At the risk of sounding cliche’, you have been a "vital link" for kids into learning by creating security, nurturing self-growth and advocating for their needs. I am honored to be serving such a great group of educators.

And as you transition into your summer vacations, I pray for a time of renewal and plain old fun for each of you.

Have a great break!


PS. Lots of good things are happening. Please read on...


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The OS Professional Learning Catalog for School Social Workers is out. This is an alphabetical listing of all Oakland Schools Professional Learning Events currently being offered for school social workers. You may bookmark the link and keep coming back for updates throughout the summer. The URL is: http://tinyurl.com/OSSWListings15http://tinyurl.com/OSSWListings15.


August Events- Please Register Now!

We have two events in August that I want to make sure are on your radar:

SEL Progress Monitoring: Google Forms on August 17. This is a repeat of the PL we've offered this past year. If you are in a Google district and are interested in data collection electronically, then this is for you. There are only 10 spots available so register soon.

For more information, please go to: https://events.oakland.k12.mi.us/coe/coe_p2_details.aspx?eventid=132702&cc=COEE&oc=10.

On a side note, we have a webpage dedicated to SEL Progress Monitoring Using Google Forms. The URL is: https://sites.google.com/site/selprogressmonitoring/.


SSW PSA Community of Practice: Fall '15 Event on August 24. This is our annual charter school SSWs get together. It is a great time to discuss challenges and share resources. Matt Korolden will also be stopping by to answer compliance questions.

For more information, please go to: https://events.oakland.k12.mi.us/coe/coe_p2_details.aspx?eventid=132718&cc=COEE&oc=10.


Exclusive Offerings for School Social Workers

SSW 101: Foundations of Practice (7 Evenings)
This is what I like to refer to as the newer school social work series. It covers some of the basic processes in social work, but it also have engaging activities for students and time for collaborative case study. While this is designed for newer social workers, I am hoping we will get some "vintage" people as well so we can have a nice representation of practice wisdom in the room. Credits are being offered in a Passport format meaning that if you miss a session, you can still receive credit for the other sessions.

For more information, please go to:



SSW Community of Practice: Fall '15 Event on Election Day.

Call it Stone Soup, Collaborative Event or Networking, this will feature a time for us to get together and share assessment, intervention and community resources. This year, I'd love to have some district or PSA social workers do some topic specific large and small group presentations for 20-30 minutes. If you have something that you would like to present, please let me know ASAP.

For more information, please go to: https://events.oakland.k12.mi.us/coe/coe_p2_details.aspx?eventid=133086&cc=COEE&oc=10


Cultures of Thinking and the SSW Role (3 Evenings)

This is being presented by Jennifer Hollander, LMSW from Huron Valley Schools. She presented to her social workers last year and has agreed to share her knowledge about Cultures of Thinking with other SSWs in CoT buildings. CoT is a great way to engage kids, and this will help SSWs in supporting the classroom work.

More information coming soon.


The Domains and Demands of School Social Work Practice Book Study

Waterford, Pontiac and Holly are having in-district book studies next year. Each district is facilitating their own study, and Oakland Schools will be providing materials and credits.

I am hosting a study at the Clarenceville Administration Building on Thursdays from 3:30-4:30pm starting in late September. If you are interested in attending, please let me know ASAP.

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People are working on the completion of a mock time study sheet in preparation for a meeting or two this summer. The goal is to develop a tool that will help SSWs compile data about their workloads. Once this is done, then we will begin analyzing the data and determine the best way to dialogue with administrators about mental health support for children.

If you are interested in joining us this summer, please let me know asap.

For the latest news on this work, please go to: https://www.smore.com/d2yce-ssw-workload-vs-caseload-news




Free Hispanic Translation Services

Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan is offering free Spanish translation services for IEP meetings. To find out more information, please contact Rita Golden in Hispanic Outreach Services at 248-338-4250 x3760 or at goldenr@ccsem.org

Materials Center

Just a reminder! The Materials Centers has changed the Request Process. Please place your orders for all materials via an email message to MCRequests@oakland.k12.mi.us. Be sure to include the name/description of the item you wish to borrow.

Please click here for a list of Educational Assessments. Click here for the Psychology Loan Library. Other Resources are available here.

Also feel free to send me recommendations for future resources at steve.whitmore@oakland.k12.mi.us.

OS Listserve Resources and More!

So whatever has happened to those list-serv resources? Thanks to follow school psychologist consultant, Susan Koceski and our project assistance, Erika Geyman, we now have a great compilation. In addition to what we’ve seen on the SSW listserv, Susan has also added some additions from other sources. This will no doubt be an invaluable resource. You may access the list by clicking here.


Don't Forget On-Line Options for Learning and Resources

Have you seen the MASSW Pinterest Page?

Ginny Grit and Colleagues from around the state have curated over 2500 tools and resources for SSW Practice. You can check it out at: https://www.pinterest.com/masswmi/


See you real soon...

That's about it for now.

Yes, I'll be here for most of the summer; so if you need assistance, please let me now.

Again, have a great summer.


Steve Whitmore


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