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School Social Workers Make Positive Impacts in our Community

By Clare Wickramasuriya

Social Worker Jennifer FryeJennifer Frye, a school social worker at Lakemont Elementary and Maitland Middle, says her job means she gets to be one of the “helpers” in a sometimes scary world.

“I have always felt strongly that children need people to be their voice and always advocate for their rights,” she said.

School social workers are compassionate, trained professionals who assist students and families in crisis at schools across the county. OCPS has 165 active school social Workers. Frye has been a social worker with OCPS for the past 17 years.

The role of a school social worker is a tremendous responsibility. For example, in one week, Frye completed counseling with 12 students, coordinated a crisis response with colleagues from two other schools, linked families to multiple resources, helped several parents navigate the exceptional education process and supported both of her schools  with truancy concerns, These duties are only part of what she does in supporting students, families and teachers over the course of a school year.. 

Throughout her 27 year career in social work, her focus has always been working with children. Everything she does helps to remove barriers to learning and increase student engagement in schools.

“I have said for ever that social work chose me, not the other way around. I volunteered at a crisis center when I was 20 and right then I knew that I wanted to help kids,” Frye said. "So, I changed my major to social work and the rest is history.” Frye is a proud UCF graduate who received both her bachelor’s and master's degree in social work.

School Social Workers help inspire change and make a difference in students' lives. As Frye works to help students build resiliency, she is learning as well, she said. “I think we need to continue to remember that everyone is doing the best they can at any given moment and we can always do better.”

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