FACTR works closely with San Jose State University (SJSU) – School of Social Work to provide internships for students, to create research collaborations focusing on questions of mutual interest, and to develop a network to support students’ professional growth.
FACTR has a long-standing partnership with SJSU in providing multiple internship opportunities for students in social work placements (both clinical and case management arenas) in K-12 school-based environments in Santa Clara County. In placements, social worker interns receive mentorship and weekly clinical supervision.
The school setting generally employs interns seeking to disseminate academic knowledge to students. School social workers work amid educational policies, educational jargon and terminology, and practice approaches related to teaching and learning. Therefore, in addition to the foundation of social work knowledge, school social workers also learn and practice evidence-based interventions to support students and their families throughout the school year.
School social workers are then able to advocate for and practice on behalf of the students and the school community while coming from a particular perspective that teachers and school administration may not have. As mental health practitioners, school social workers use their specialized combination of knowledge from both the fields of social work and education to align their services to ensure that all students can access the learning process and school environment to the best of their ability.
School social workers provide differentiated services to students in the school, looking for and creating opportunities to advocate for the whole child, including behavioral, social, and emotional needs. School social workers consistently collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of professionals; therefore, they may need to explain and discuss the scope and breadth of their role with their colleagues who do not immediately understand school social work goals and intentions. At the same time, there are differences that school social workers encompass within their role while working alongside and collaborating with school staff. For example, as licensed social workers, school social workers must adhere to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics (2017).