“… being a school social worker is an important and powerful job. Social Work is an invaluable service in schools,
as social workers typically possess the clinical skills necessary to be the “Go-to” person for students in need or in crisis. We are also an integral part of promoting a positive school climate.”
New York City born and Central Pennsylvania raised Paula currently is the Social Worker with the Cocalico School District in northern Lancaster County. She plays a crucial role as an advisor with Cocalico’s Aevidum program, which is a student-driven organization that promotes awareness and prevention of adolescent depression and suicide. Aevidum has been catching on, spreading to schools in Lancaster County and beyond. Paula’s Aevidum students have been selected this year to present at the American Association of Suicidology conference in Baltimore this year, which is a big honor. The program also has received both regional and national media coverage.
Paula is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. She obtained her MSW from Temple University and her Home/School Visitor Certification from Marywood University. Paula completed the Applied Behavioral Analysis program from Penn State in 2008, and is Board Certified in that area. Paula lives in Lititz with her husband and two kids. She describes her interests as socializing, swimming, being outdoors and music.
“becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst was something that was way beyond my comfort zone and it has helped me to view behavior in a much more pure and objective way.”
Paula has worked in schools since 1998 and brought diverse experience in the profession of social work beforehand. She has been a caseworker at a homeless shelter (Bell Family Shelter), caseworker then supervisor at Lancaster County Children and Youth and worked on a children’s mental health unit at Lancaster General Hospital. She has also done some work as a behavioral specialist, and began and facilitated a Toughlove teen group in the 1990’s. In schools, she started as a Student Assistance assessor at Ephrata School District , and then became the manager of the program for PA Counseling Services. She then took a School Social Worker position with neighboring Manheim Central School District before accepting her current position at Cocalico.
“I particularly enjoy direct service with students and families from the special education population above anything else. In addition to Aveidum, I am most proud of my work with families of children with autism, running a monthly parents support group and offering training to them and staff members in that area.“