Administrators' Perception of School Social Work

Deirdre Stalnecker, Kevin Tan, Michelle E. Alvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study addresses a gap in the literature by examining K-12 administrators' perceptions of school social workers' usage of student data. Before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, school social workers from a national organization invited their administrators via email to complete a survey, producing 48 responses. Administrators perceived that the top tasks of school social workers were in the areas of crisis intervention, community resource referrals, and student consultations for teachers and staff. Administrators also indicated that the data most frequently reported to them by school social workers were attendance-related information, and they were not aware of other educational-related data reported by school social workers. Administrators shared that, while they would prefer formal reporting, school social workers were more likely to report data through informal conversations. Overall, this article underscores the need for school social workers to examine their data use practices with K-12 administrators to better advocate for student needs and place greater emphasis on their data use practices in promoting systematic changes. Data use is a powerful tool in demonstrating the relationship between school social work and student outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-182
Number of pages11
JournalChildren and Schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • K-12 administrators
  • advocacy
  • data use practices
  • school social workers
  • system change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education

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