I started working as a social worker and project manager for CIS in January of 2009. This year I started at my third school, Watauga Elementary. I have to say that starting at a new school is just like starting a new job all over again. You have to make many adjustments such as handling new policies, a new environment, new staff, and, most importantly, new students. Each school seems to have a different set of needs, which is something else you must acclimate to. Every school I have worked for has been full of supportive staff and amazing students and for that I feel truly blessed.
One of the first things we learn in our training at CIS is how crucial it is to find the people in your school who will play a big part in helping you serve your students. Changing schools has taught me that these people are different in every school. In my experience, the school counselor has always been my right arm. We have always relied heavily on one another to meet the needs of our students and families. Although I am working with an amazing counselor this year, I have come to learn that our school nurse takes on the role of social worker quite often. Nurse Junge has played a vital role in my ability to serve the students and families at Watauga Elementary. She referred many of my current students and continues to inform me of their needs on a daily basis. If something is going on at this school, she knows about it and she makes sure that I know about it, too. My working relationship with Nurse Junge has made it possible for her to trust me and is critical in my ability to do a good job. This trust has made it possible for me to provide resources and services to many of the students and families at Watauga Elementary. I have learned that being able to identify the key people in your school and build relationships with those people is just as important as any service we provide to our students. The people we connect with and the relationships we nurture are the key to running a successful program.