Date of Award

Spring 3-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. John D. Long

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Winslow

Third Advisor

Dr. Dana Klar


This qualitative exploration in the form of multiple case studies interviewed a group of seven social workers from the St. Louis Metropolitan area to gain their perception as school social workers concerning their roles in public schools. The literature on school social workers indicated that school social workers brought unique knowledge and skills to the school system and the student services team. School social workers were instrumental in furthering the vision of the schools to help provide an improved setting and environment for teaching and learning. This study conducted case studies of the social worker in the professional environment to document the types of activities conducted in the workplace and perceptions of the social workers regarding their place in the school setting. To gather the qualitative data necessary to answer the research questions, participants provided responses to a survey, kept a log of activities, and participated in interviews. Qualitative data was coded for indicators of the role of social workers and their best strategies, on the job. Five major themes emerged from the study. The first of these was Monitoring Attendance and Tardy Issues. This role took much of the time during the day for social workers regardless of setting. Home Visits to Assess Family Needs was the second most common job duty of the participants. Connecting Families to Resources did not take as much time, however was regarded by the social workers as the most important. Individual and Group Counseling was a common tool for trying to improve student behavior or coping skills. This was not a frequently used as the social workers desired. Crisis Intervention occurred on an as needed basis and required the use of the skills learned in their college training. iii The other major conclusion was in the difference between the single site and travelling school social workers. All of the travelling social workers thought they would be more effective if they were in only one school full time. Overall, the participants reported that they loved their job in spite of the challenges they faced.


Copyright 2016