When I was in college, I learned that to be a social worker means that one has a duty to affect change, not just an individual level, but also at a systemic level.
“The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs.” (NASW Code of Ethics)
My twenty years of social work practice has primarily involved working directly with persons in need. I am ready to take my social work practice to the next level and hope to serve the community on the school board.
As I have watched the ICCSD school board over recent years and have seen firsthand the human impact of their decisions (and non-decisions), I have grown to believe that our school board would better serve our ENTIRE community, if there was more advocacy on behalf of the populations least able to actively participate in decision-making. Through my experience as a social worker, I have witnessed firsthand the challenges that impoverished families face. I have seen, for example, how well meaning programs and intentions can actually end up creating more problems and barriers to success.
I believe we are at a turning point in our district. The aspirational goals recently identified by administration and reviewed by the board for creating equity between our schools will have a huge impact on our students, both in the short term and long term. As decisions are made about how to reach these aspirational goals, it is extremely important that we not sideline our most vulnerable students. For example, if we draw school boundaries that require long distance bussing of low-income students we will create barriers to parental engagement and student involvement in extra-curricular activities.
As a social worker, I believe that I can help our board understand the human impact of proposed solutions so that those solutions don’t end up hurting the very children and families that we are aiming to help.