RRISD Joins With Partners in Education to Create New Social Worker Positions

Round+Rock+ISD+partnered+with+Partners+in+Education+to+create+social+worker+positions+to+help+students.+Graphic+by+Amy+Simon.

Round Rock ISD partnered with Partners in Education to create social worker positions to help students. Graphic by Amy Simon.

By Amy Simon, Reporter

As a way to provide resources to families, the Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) partnered with Partners in Education (PIE) to create new social workers positions. Their job is to ensure students are emotionally, physically, and mentally prepared for the school environment, as well as promote respect and dignity for all students.

“Round Rock ISD recognized the issue that students and families were needing some additional support,” Westwood Social Worker Ms. Trissa Williams said. “The board agreed to fund a director of behavioral health and create ten positions, which are the ten school social workers. Our role is to support families with everything they need, from toilet paper, to even helping them find a hospital for treatment.”

There are two social workers for each learning community, located at Cedar Ridge High School, Stony Point High School, Round Rock High School, Westwood High School, and McNeil High School. The social workers not only help students attending the high schools, but also students attending elementary and middle schools that feed up to the high school, and also any parent or sibling of the student. After a student requests for assistance, PIE helps the RRISD collect funds for potential items needed. Social workers are able to drive to a portable outside the admin building at Round Rock High School, grab the food or items they need, and head back to their school and deliver the commodities.

“I think it’s amazing because they are a service that we can utilize especially if a student needs something quick,” Westwood Social Worker Mr. Eden Males said. “We can get them food for the weekend, or clothing, or an air mattress to sleep on. Instead of having to go through an agency outside of us, which might not be able to tie them in right then and there, we can partner with PIE.”

In order to collect money to purchase the items, PIE organizes an annual Shining Stars Gala as well as an annual golf tournament. Additionally, the PIE receives many private donations and corporate sponsors. In order to incentivize private donations, PIE gives out yearly awards to campuses with the top donations. Awards can include pizza parties and other fun events that capture the interests of the students. 

“PIE for Round Rock ISD gets a few corporate sponsorships,” Ms. Williams said. “I know one of them is FedEx. They were coming in and saying ‘What do you need? What do you need us to buy for you?’ which really helps the program.”

PIE also creates birthday boxes filled with birthday party supplies, gifts for students, and a gift card. Boxes are categorized by age and gender so that each gift is age-appropriate and fit to the student’s liking. If a student has a sibling that is not in school and wants to celebrate their birthday, PIE also sends them a birthday box. 

“The thought behind the birthday box is that everyone should be able to celebrate their birthday,” Ms. Williams said. “Not all families get the luxury to do that so in order to ensure that people get to celebrate each other, we create these birthday boxes.”

The next event that PIE will be hosting is the 2021 Shining Stars Gala to support the teachers, students, and staff at RRISD. The gala will include sponsor packages and auction items, and the money donated will go to buying school supplies, giving grants to campuses, and scholarships. For more information, visit this link.

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