Celebrating Social Worker Month

kids with hands up

Social workers connect what happens in the home, what happens in the community and what happens in the school – and they strive to provide social and emotional support in a way that promotes students’ overall success, both in life and in the classroom. They invest their time, training and expertise to remedy barriers to learning - wherever they may be in a student’s life.  

Throughout the month of March, we’re honoring the work these employees do in service to our students every day. School social workers’ responsibilities range from crisis intervention, to in-staff training programs, to identifying and reporting severe cases like child abuse and neglect.  If it sounds like a big job, that’s because it is.  

“A typical day...consists of providing individual or group counseling, mental health crisis intervention and connecting students and families to resources in and out of school,” Cindy Groll, one of Metro Nashville Public Schools’ dedicated and hardworking school social workers, said. “My main goal is to teach students how to cope with mental health concerns and manage difficult life issues more effectively.”  

Our district’s workers are trained mental health professionals, with advanced degrees and licenses in social work, and they play an integral role in our schools every day. Groll has been a school social worker for more than 14 years, but she also holds a clinical license in social work and practices private therapy with children and families outside of the school.  

“Mental health is as important as physical health.  It is crucial to work on things like developing a stress management plan when you are young, learning coping skills, etc.” Groll said.  “I try to teach students not to be afraid to ask for help when they need it, [because] it is a sign of strength.”  

The impact a school social worker makes on a student reaches far beyond the classroom.  

“I believe I am planting seeds in students’ lives - seeds of hope, encouragement, support, insight and knowledge,” Groll said. “The most uplifting part of my job is to see a student connect the dots of what [they’ve learned from] me and other supportive people in their lives. I am honored to be a part of that process.”  

Groll’s colleague Edward Trdla shares the same sentiment.  

“Seeing [my students’] faces in my mind gets me up in the morning because I know they are depending on their social worker to ‘save the day,’ if you will, or just smile at them in the hallway,” Trdla said.  “When my students make gradual or phased steps toward the fulfillment of their goals, I am uplifted because I feel I may have contributed to their success in some small way.” 

To celebrate how lucky the district is to have these employees, be sure to thank your school social worker not just throughout the month of March, but every day for their passionate and patient work with our students!