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Philadelphia: $1.2 million for full-time social workers in Philly schools

Aug 16, 2017, Philly.com: Coming soon to Philly schools: 22 city-paid social workers http://www.philly.com/philly/education/coming-soon-to-philly-schools-22-city-paid-social-workers-20170816.html At Southwark Elementary, there is one counselor for 800 students, many of whom have behavioral and emotional challenges. When Principal Andrew Lukov got news that the school was getting a full-time social worker – and eventually other professionals to address students’ emotional needs – he cheered. In 19 years as a Philadelphia School District employee, he’s found that students’ biggest obstacle to academic progress is often not about curriculum or supplies, but about things happening to them outside the classroom. ... The city will spend $1.2 million to put full-time social workers in Southwark and 21 other schools beginning this fall, Mayor Kenney announced Wednesday. The pilot program, which officials hope will eventually roll out to schools district-wide, will introduce behavioral consultants, case managers and family peer specialists in later years. … The 22 schools – elementary, middle and high schools, 21 district schools and one charter – were chosen based on student need. Eight of the city’s community schools made the list, and seven schools in the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood zone were also chosen. Drexel University will provide funds to support those schools. … “Too long, these were the forgotten children,” said Richman. “Too long, these were the children who created chaos, and no one took the time to understand why.” For years, educators inside city schools have coped with a needy student population and too few resources to help them. The district, which only restored full-time counselors inside every school last year, has one crisis response team responsible for each of its 220 schools. …