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Texas State partners with SMCISD to provide students with social services

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Texas State has partnered up with San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District to provide students with social work services from interns on campuses across the district.

The SMCISD board of trustees unanimously approved the internship program in its Feb. 20 meeting.

The program will offer undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Social Work to engage with younger students.

“The focus would provide support for students with chronic absenteeism in all grade levels, offering support to families and providing group student sessions on academic success and post secondary opportunities,” said Monica Ruiz-Mills, assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and assessments.

24 college students will be assigned as interns across 12 SMCISD campuses. The interns will be assigned to one pre-K, six elementary, two middle, one high school and two alternative learning campuses.

The role of the interns is to increase resources for students in need of social work services.

“Before this new initiative, SMCISD had only one official social worker for the entire district,” said Willie Watson, assistant superintendent of human resources. “Currently, SMCISD has a parent liaison shared between each of the two elementary campuses, and one parents at each middle school and the high school.”

The interns will visit their respective campuses Monday through Thursday for the entirety of the school day and will complete their coursework on Fridays.

“This benefits our students as another avenue for support with a focus on social and emotional well being, and it assists the university as students must fulfill internship requirements as part of their graduate recruitment,” said Ruiz-Mills.

Officials of the School of Social work have discussed the program since October 2016, Ruiz-Mills said.

“As the new director for the School of Social Work, one of my initial goals was to increase the school’s partnership with our community and what a better place to begin than with the school district where our students can have a direct and positive impact,” said Dr. Jose Coll, director of School of Social Work.

As part of their student practicum, social work students are required to complete 500 hours of service for undergraduate coursework and 540 hours for graduate coursework.

The interns will not only be earning course credit at the university upon completion of these hours, but they can earn a stipend of $2500 per semester through the program.

The estimated cost for the program during the 2017-2018 school year will be $120,000.

“The university does not pay for a student to conduct an internship (,” Coll said. “However, our partnership with the San Marcos School District and other agencies allows students to receive a stipend during their final field experience.”

In order to become interns, social work students need to register for a social work school elective and also participate in training required by the school district, Coll said.

While the program is set to start next fall, the school district anticipates the partnership will be beneficial in the long-run.