Center for the Study of School Social Work
Establish school social work as an essential profession in the educational enterprise.
To prepare new school social workers and support existing school social workers to work in the school community and integrate the profession into that community; and to help schools recognize the purpose and value of school social workers.
1) Prepare new social workers.
2) Support existing school social workers.
3) Integrate the profession into the school community.
4) Help educational agencies recognize the purpose and value of social work.
John Vafeas, LSW, DSW - Acting Director
Janice Gasker, LCSW, DSW
Sharon Lyter, LCSW, MSW, Ph.D.
Professional and Scientific Associates
Sylvia A. Bekele, DSW, School Social Worker
Alicia Chico, LSW, DSW, School Social Worker
Matthew Cuellar, MSW, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Montclair State University
Gina Daniel, KU|MU DSW Student & School Social Worker
Janice Gasker, DSW, LCSW, Professor and Director KU BSW program
Jami Imhof, DSW Student
Diane Irish, DSW, School Social Worker
George W. Ioannidis, Ed.D., Superintendent, Spring Grove School District
Julie Lewellyn, Ph.D., LCSW, Assistant Professor, Kutztown University, Department of Social Work
Sharon Lyter, LCSW, MSW, Ph.D., Professor and Director KU|MU DSW program
Jen Marshall, LSW KU|MU DSW student & School Social Worker
Karla Matamoros, LSW Home and School Visitor, East Penn School District
Sheryl McKlveen, DSW Student
Nikki Snyder, LSW, DSW, Medical Social Worker
Dee L. Stalnecker, LSW, BCBA, DSW, School Social Worker, VP PASSWP, NE Rep. SWAA
Nicole Ukaegbu, KU|MU DSW student & School Social Worker, Philadelphia School District
John Vafeas, Professor & Chair, Kutztown University, Department of Social Work
John Ward, PhD, Dean, College of Education, Kutztown University
Joe Werner, MSW, LSW, HSV, President PASSWP
Scholars in Residence
School Social Workers and Threat Assessment Teams: Exploring Roles, Perceptions, and Outcomes
Awareness of and Value Placed on School Social Work: A Study of Pennsylvania's Public School Administrators - A Dissertation Defense Topic
Supporting School Social Workers’ professional Development, a fifteen-hour training course
Risk factors of burnout for child welfare social work professionals in Pennsylvania, A dissertation in progress.
Research & Publications
Marshall, Jen, Doctoral Dissertation, April 2021, Awareness of and Value Placed on School Social Work: A Study of Pennsylvania's Public School Administrators
Chico, Alicia, Doctoral Dissertation, April 2021, School Social Workers and Threat Assessment Teams: Exploring roles, perceptions, and outcomes
Snyder, Nikki, Doctoral Dissertation, April 2020, School Social Work: A Curriculum Analysis
Stalnecker, Dee, Doctoral Dissertation, March 2020, Revisiting the visiting teacher: A historical analysis of school social work identity.
Cuellar, Matthew James, 2016, Investigating the effects of commonly implemented school safety strategies on school social work practitioners
Community Activities & Presentations
17TH ANNUAL COMMUNITY FORUM: Education Enterprise in Transition: A Call to Action. March 19, 2021
McKlveen, Sheryl, acquired a $65,000 grant under Kutztown Strong to bring School Social Work to the area’s School Districts (October 16, 2020)
Bernini, Rachel, Oral Dissertation Presentation, Understanding Effective Supervision and the Relationship Between Supervision Effectiveness and Education (March 20, 2020)
Snyder, Nikki, Oral Dissertation Presentation, School Social Work Certification: A Curriculum Analysis (April 6, 2020)
Vafeas, John, Department of Social Work, Kutztown University, Marshall, Jennifer, Owen J. Roberts School District, Pottstown, PA, December 16, 2019, The Role and Function of School Social Work, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA
Dr. Conahan is Board Consultant for Kutztown Strong, Kutztown, PA. AY 2016-2017
- Kutztown Strong Berks-Mont news article March 14, 2018
- Kutztown Strong Berks-Mont news article August 17, 2017
Lee, A and Svistova, J. (2018, September) Community Needs Assessment of Kutztown,
Fleetwood, and Brandywine, PA: Report of Findings. Friend Inc. Board meeting, Kutztown, PA.
Conahan, J., Toth, C. & McKlveen, S.(BSW student), 2018, Case Study: Kutztown Strong Collaboration with an Engaged University
For upcoming publication, community responses to the lives lost due to the current opioid epidemic vary. Presence of leadership, availability of resources, skills in community organization and volunteerism rates all play a significant role in a community's capacity to respond and create change at the population level. The case study will examine one community's efforts to meet the needs in their area by defining the local substance abuse problem and effectively bringing change to produce positive outcomes.
Jablonski, S. & Stoeffler, S.W. (2018, April). Gender-specific interventions and adolescent females. Social Inclusion and Social Justice Conference, Shippensburg, PA.
Wei, F. H., November 2017. Responding to a Community's Questions Regarding Local Youth's Substance Use Behaviors.
Community-specific analysis of Kutztown's Pennsylvania Youth Survey data to identify the risk and protective factors that characterized local youth reporting substance use behaviors. The results found that parents' attitude towards illegal substances use, family history of antisocial behavior, and youth peer's attitude toward illegal substance use play significant roles in youth substance abuse behaviors.
Bender, W., October 2017. School-based Substance Abuse Prevention Program Outcomes.
Having an extensive background in the administration of chemical dependency and mental health programs that spans more than 30 years, Prof. Bender discussed the history and development of the LifeSkills program, its purpose, and its learning objectives.
Data gathered by teachers was then summarized collaboratively by Kutztown Strong staff and faculty of the Kutztown University, Department of Social Work, and Institute of Addiction Studies found 78 percent of the youth had a better understanding of the harmful effects of drug use after completing the course. Additionally, 62 percent of the students reported they were now less likely to approve of peer's use of drugs, 43 percent increased skills in knowing alternate means of reducing anxiety, and 29 percent increased their knowledge of media's potential negative influence on behavior.
Wei, FangHsun, Stoeffler, Stephen & Bordo, Nicollette, Department of Social Work, October 7, 2016. Faculty-Student presentation. The influences that affect education in homeless youth.Pennsylvania Association of Undergraduates Social Work Education (PAUSWE), King of Prussia, PA.
Toth, C. & McKlveen, S. (BSW student), 2016, Kutztown Community Youth Survey
The Pennsylvania Youth Survey is an assessment tool used to monitor youth substance use behaviors and trends. Assessment is free to any public, private or charter school in the state of Pennsylvania. The survey instrument is administered to students in the 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades every odd-numbered calendar year. Kutztown Strong, driven by the values of social justice, wisdom, and knowledge, set a goal to hear the voices of all the students in their school district. Soliciting the services of the Institute of Addiction Studies enabled the coalition to independently take responsibility for conducting the survey in the years the state did not. Data analysis by Wei, F. & Stere, M. J. (MSW student)
Chaundy, L.M., Department of Social Work, November 14, 2014. Family Conflicts and Its Effects on Educational Outcomes in the Acculturation Experience. Third Annual Conference on Social Work in the Global Environment. Kutztown, PA.
Bender, W.F., Department of Social Work, November 13, 2014. Teen Pregnancy Collaborative-Albright College. Co-County Wellness Services/Berks AIDS Network, Reading, PA.
Hanna, E., April 25, 2013, Developing Effective Parenting Skills for Students of All Ages, community workshop for the Fleetwood Area School District, Fleetwood High School Auditorium, Fleetwood, PA.
SWK502: Social Work Crisis Intervention with Families
SWK507: Differential Assessment Techniques for Social Workers
SWK508: Maltreatment in the Family: Social Work Practice
SWK536: Skills for Working with the New Immigrant Family
SWK541: Assessment Methods for Social Workers: Children and Adolescents
SWK545: Child Permanence and the Family-In-Environment
SWK555: Applied Family Policy and Family Service Programs
SWK590: Social Work Practice in Schools
SWK591 Meeting the Diverse Needs of Students with Exceptionalities
SWK574: Family Mediation
Agencies Hosting Interns
James Lawson Freedom School
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