Vienna, Ill. schools adding more social workers to help overall well-being of students

Vienna High School is announcing a new way to help improve its students well being.
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 5:18 PM CDT
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VIENNA, Ill. (KFVS) - One Heartland school announced a new effort to better the overall well-being of their students.

The superintendent of Vienna said it’s the right time to add more social workers to their staff.

“It’s going to be there to help our kids out and ultimately help families out and ultimately just help the overall success, well-being and health of the community,” Josh Stafford, Vienna Schools superintendent, said.

He said the school district is using education grants through the Illinois State Board of Education to pay for additional social workers.

“The struggle that we had prior to this was that we have licensed clinical social workers in our school system but there just didn’t seem to be enough of them, enough of their time to go around to just be readily accessible to our students right now,” he said.

According to Stafford, the Vienna School District received two grants for $575,000. The district is hiring two social workers and using the additional funds for other resources for students.

The schools dean of instruction, Kathy Anderson, said the new social workers give the students someone to talk with about different issues.

“We know that if the students feel better, they learn more and again we want them to have all of their needs met,” Anderson said.

She said the idea of adding more social workers has been in the works for some time.

“Part of our mission is to reach out and partner with other agencies and organizations that have other resources that our students might be able to use,” Anderson continued.

Stafford said they’re being proactive to address the students needs.

“The quicker that there’s a meaningful adult relationship there, that can really provide the supports that are needed, the better off that kids going to be,” he said.

Stafford said he has been in talks with the Illinois State Board of Education to try and have more social workers added into schools across the state.

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