Claudia McDowell Named 2022 National School Social Worker of the Year
Claudia McDowell, a school social worker at Lynbrook Elementary School, has been named the 2022 National School Social Worker of the Year by the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) for her commitment to the profession and for positively impacting the lives of the students, families, and staff of the communities she serves. McDowell will receive the award during the SSWAA National Conference held April 6-9 in Chicago.
“Claudia has worked tirelessly with our families who experience any type of basic need and has helped them access immediate support while she works collaboratively with the family and community resources to find long-term supportive solutions,” Lynbrook Elementary Principal Kathleen Sain said, “Always there to help in a moment of need, she has had many times where on her way home from work or in the early evening she has dropped off supplemental food gift cards to families that have an immediate food or formula need.”
McDowell has worked for 10 years at Lynbrook, which is a Title I school with a high level of students in poverty whose families often experience food, clothing, and housing insecurity, as well as a lack of access to healthcare.
McDowell also works with the school’s attendance program, helping to counter chronic absenteeism by developing class-wide and student-specific systems of support to increase all students’ sense of belonging, confidence, and engagement in the school.
“Prior to COVID, we saw significant decreases in the number of students with chronic absenteeism. We worked from the ground up, meaning that we made sure Lynbrook was a welcoming school community where children and families felt seen and heard,” said McDowell. “We also made sure to build a strong attendance team that was supporting students and families that might need more help to address barriers to consistent school attendance.”
Sain adds, “Claudia is not just a phenomenal social worker, but she is an outstanding leader and champion for students and families in Title I schools. She is an incredible employee who positively impacts the lives of all the students and staff she supports here at Lynbrook.”
For more information, contact Claudia McDowell at [email protected].