Training Institute for School Social Work Professionals

About the Training Institute

First developed in 2009, the Training Institute for School Social Work Professionals has provided additional training to practicing school social workers, keeping them abreast of new innovations and introducing practitioners to evidence-informed approaches to enhance the quality of services they provide to elementary and high school students.

Since its inception, the Training Institute has engaged hundreds of practitioners and has advanced the knowledge and skills of participants in areas including social and emotional learning, positive youth development, critical service learning, response to intervention and the use of technology. The Institute has also broadened its focus beyond school social workers to include other school-based practitioners, mental health professionals and community partners, all working toward the goal of improving outcomes for youth in our public schools.

Practitioners can receive 6.5 CEUs (continuing education units) for attending the institute.

The 2020 Institute: Social Media and Youth’s Mental Health

youth in smart phones


As a health and safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Training Institute (originally scheduled for June 23) has been postponed and will be rescheduled as conditions allow.

Mental health issues among youth have risen significantly over the last decade. Social media affects youth’s mental health in complex ways. On one hand, the rise of social media contributes to negative mental health outcomes such as depression, anxiety, internet addiction, and more. On the other hand, social media provides platforms for youth and adolescents to find support, resources and connection. Understanding this complexity is important for developing interventions and services for youth.

The 2020 Institute will educate school social workers and other youth-serving practitioners on both the strengths and challenges of social media usage and the ways in which youth experience social media.

Highlights from the 2019 Training Institute

The theme for 2019 was Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families, with a focus exploring the benefits and the challenges of social media, providing concrete strategies and interventions for school social workers and other youth serving practitioners as they work with school populations, and offering guidance for engaging parents and other members of the school community.

A few photos from the event:

2019 Plenary Presentation: Leveraging Contextually Driven AI for Safer Schools

Leveraging Contextually Driven AI for Safer Schools: presented by Dr. Desmond Upton Patton of Columbia University School of Social Work (learn more about Dr. Patton below).

Overview of 2019 Workshops and Presentations