Social Work Page

Union Ridge is fortunate to have a full-time social worker. We also have Arabic, Spanish, and Polish translators available to help you relay information to our social worker.  If you may need any support or would like to talk about a concern you are having, please contact:

Social Work Staff
Mr. Joseph Kerke
708 867-5822

Alison Ullmer, MSW
708 867-5822


WHY do today's schools have School Social Workers?      

Children today are increasingly victims of many social forces that negatively affect their role as students. The family is in a state of change and until it becomes stabilized, in whatever form, children's unmet physical and emotional needs will continue to interfere with their ability to learn and adjust in school.

WHO are School Social Workers?

School Social Workers are trained  mental health professionals with a degree in social work who provide services related to a person's social, emotional and life adjustment to school and/or society.  School Social Workers  are the link between the home, school and community in providing direct as well as indirect services to students, families and school personnel to promote and support students' academic and social success.  

What  are some of the specific services that School Social Workers provide?


  • Participating in special education assessment meetings as well as individual Educational Planning Meetings
  • Working with those problems in a child's living situation that affect the child’s adjustment in school. (home, school, and community)
  • Preparing a social or developmental history on a child with a disability.
  • Counseling (group, individual and/or family)
  • Mobilizing family, school, and community resources to enable the child to learn as effectively as possible in his or her educational program
  • Assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies. 


  • Providing crisis intervention.
  • Developing intervention strategies to increase academic success.
  • Assisting with conflict resolution and anger management.
  • Helping the child develop appropriate social interaction skills.
  • Assisting the child in understanding and accepting self and others.


  • Working with parents to facilitate their support in their children's school adjustment.
  • Alleviating family stress to enable the child to function more effectively in school &community.
  • Assisting parents to access programs available to students with special needs.
  • Assisting parents in accessing and utilizing school and community resources.


  • Providing staff with essential information to  better understand factors (cultural, societal, economic, familial, health, etc.) affecting a student’s performance and behavior.
  • Assessing students with mental health concerns.
  • Developing staff in-service training programs.
  • Assisting teachers with behavior management.
  • Providing direct support to staff.


  • Obtaining and coordinating community resources to meet students' needs.
  • Helping school districts receive adequate support from social and mental health agencies.
  • Advocating for new and improved community/school service to meet the needs of students and families.
  • Helping the system respond effectively to each child's needs.


  • Developing alternative programs for drop-outs, truants, delinquents, etc.
  • Identifying and reporting child abuse and neglect.
  • Providing consultation regarding school law and school policy including IDEA and Section 504. 
  • Providing case management for students and families requiring multiple resources. 


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