Experiences of practitioners implementing comprehensive student support in high-poverty schools
This US-based study examined the experiences of school counselors and social workers implementing a systems-oriented, programmatic student support practice model, City Connects, within high-need urban contexts. The City Connects model represents current best practices in student support, positioning school counselors and social workers primarily in the role of identifying students’ needs and strengths and making connections between students, families, teachers, and service providers. This stands in contrast to older models in which these professionals functioned primarily in a direct care role. The goal of the study was to understand practitioners’ experiences of efficacy, satisfaction, and engagement as well as the barriers to each of these within this best practice model. Acknowledging the documented challenges of working in high-need urban schools in the United States and the potential strains of systems-oriented practice, the study aimed to understand which aspects of their work enable practitioners to thrive, as well as which aspects do not. Qualitative analysis was used to examine written reflection data on the experiences of 35 practitioners implementing the model. Our analysis revealed six themes: (1) connecting/cultivating relationships (2) seeing impact, (3) having confidence in the effectiveness of the practice model, (4) having high levels of satisfaction with the practice, (5) managing role clarity, and (6) experiencing systemic barriers. Implications for practitioners, supervisors, clinician educators, and program designers are discussed.
Heberle, Amy E.; Sheanáin, Úna Ní; Walsh, Mary E.; Hamilton, Anna N.; Chung, Agnes H.; and Eells Lutas, Victoria L., "Experiences of practitioners implementing comprehensive student support in high-poverty schools" (2021). Psychology. 511.