Action with Compassion
Canutillo ISD Social Workers Serve Social & Emotional Needs
Posted on 03/31/2022
This is the image for the news article titled Canutillo ISD Social Workers Serve Social & Emotional NeedsThe global pandemic brought challenges that nobody could have predicted. The ripple effect impacted the lives of so many. As the ramifications of the ongoing pandemic continued to grow, so did the team of social workers at Canutillo Independent School District, ready to serve.

To close National Social Work Month, we look at the extraordinary work our District social work team does to ensure the social and emotional wellbeing of students and their families. Canutillo ISD social workers Lydia Hernandez-Morera, Dayanira Carrillo, Jocelyn Cepeda, Christina Figueroa and contractor Rosario Olivera with The University of Texas at El Paso are the link to the community, families and schools and do all that they can to provide families in need with the connections, services and resources required to provide children with optimal outcomes socially, emotionally and academically.

“We are experiencing the same thing the rest of the world is experiencing due to the pandemic,” Hernandez-Morera said. “An increase in mental health issues and social emotional challenges. The pandemic really highlighted the importance of social work services.”

With more social workers at hand, the District is able to serve all schools effectively. Each social worker has campuses assigned to them and can respond quickly when needed. Their goal is to promote social and emotional learning because they know firsthand how important those components are to a child’s success in school.

“If I’m not in the right mindset or thinking in a peaceful way, I am not going to be ready to learn or if I'm worried about food on the table or a sick relative,” Hernandez-Morera said. “If we don’t have an emotional balance it is going to be very hard to function at school and learn.”

The social work team provides support for teachers as well as the school counselors who are the gatekeepers of social and emotional learning by having initial contact with students and teachers. The team operates on a tiered system to classify the level of any given situation they encounter.

District social workers are also called on to handle intense situations where the child is already on the verge of significant mental or emotional distress. They work with the child and the family to address the situation based on their individual needs. They can then refer them to outside agencies or entities who can provide the level of help that is needed.

“We have lots of partnerships with any agency that we feel can be of service to our families. We try to connect with them and have informal agreements for families to get help and follow-up to make sure they get the help they need,” Hernandez-Morera said. “This is where the social worker is very important because we make sure the referrals are being made, that they are keeping the appointments, that we are following-up and letting the counselors and the teachers know what is happening as well as make contact with the therapists so that they can give us information about the child and the situation.”

For the Canutillo ISD social workers, making life easier for those in need is all in a day’s work. They want to let all families and students in the District know that there is never a hopeless situation or a burden that has to be carried alone. They are here, eager and ready to serve and make sure help is on the way.

“When I see that the stress has come down in a family because of a referral or intervention I made, that is very rewarding,” Hernandez-Morera said. “I am not there for a family unless I can help them solve problems and help them move forward.”