TCSS Celebrates Expansion of Social Work Team & School Social Workers Appreciation Week

  • March 8, 2021

    The week of March 7 marks National School Social Workers Appreciation Week. This year’s celebration is particularly special for TCSS, as we have recently been able to grow our TCSS Social Work Team by five additional school social workers. TCSS thanks the Tuscaloosa County Commission for providing the funding for these new social workers.  

    “I almost do not have words to express my gratitude to the County Commission for their generosity and their support in our efforts to place social workers in our schools,” TCSS Attendance Officer Suzette Wyatt said. In her role, Ms. Wyatt also serves as lead social worker for TCSS, providing support and coordination for the social work team. 

    Wyatt said throughout her 25 years with TCSS, she has dreamed of a day when TCSS would have social workers to help meet the important social and emotional needs of students and families. Three years ago, through a partnership with Tuscaloosa’s One Place family resource center, that dream began coming true. At that time, TOPS hired five contractual social workers to work in TCSS schools. Today, with the support of the County Commission and the continued partnership with TOPS, TCSS has a total of 14 social workers serving our students and families. Ten of the social workers hold master’s degrees in social work, and four hold bachelor’s degrees in social work.

    Tuscaloosa’s One Place Executive Director Amanda Lightsey expressed her excitement about the continued partnership with TCSS and the opportunity to place more social workers in our schools.

    “School social workers play a vital role in the lives of students,” Lightsey said.

    “They bring a unique skillset that furthers the mission of schools, providing a healthy and safe teaching and learning environment where students can thrive.” 

    School social workers are an integral link among school, home, and community. Their work promotes the social and emotional wellness and mental health of students, contributing to overall academic success. With increasing mental health needs among students, the services of social workers are essential. 

    The addition of the five new social workers increases the number of TCSS schools served by a social worker. Currently, 23 schools, spread across all feeder patterns, and our English language learner population are served by a school social worker. Work is underway to continue growing that number. 

    “Our goal, with the help of TOPS and the County Commission, is to have a social worker serving each one of our schools,” Wyatt said.

    “We will not stop exploring all possible means to continue to fund this program.”

    We encourage our entire TCSS community to use this week as a time to show your support and appreciation to our school social workers!

    Meet the TCSS Social Work Team (pictured in the gallery above) 

    Cassidy Edwards - Serving Lloyd Wood Education Center

    Hunter Englebert – Serving Collins-Riverside Middle, Matthews Elementary

    LaMonica Hendrix – Serving Holt High

    Tiffany Hutchinson – Serving Buhl Elementary, Myrtlewood Elementary, Westwood Elementary

    Angela Kelly – TCSS Mental Health Services Coordinator & ELL Social Worker

    Tawanna Samuel – Serving Sipsey Valley Middle, Sipsey Valley High

    Joseph Sewell – Serving Echols Middle, Tuscaloosa County High

    Emily Smith – Serving Hillcrest Middle, Maxwell Elementary

    Kaitlyn Smith– Serving Brookwood Elementary, Brookwood Middle

    Katie Smith – Serving Northside Middle, Walker Elementary

    Kanesha Springer – Serving Holt Elementary, Davis-Emerson Middle

    Elizabeth Wells – Serving Lake View Elementary, Vance Elementary

    Kiana Winston – Serving Englewood Elementary and Taylorville Primary

    Suzette Wyatt – TCSS Attendance Officer/Lead Social Worker for TCSS