Professional Workshops

Jerry has provided over 75 educational presentations to school social workers and other school personnel as well as other mental health professionals at the local, state and national level. His most recent presentation to school social workers was a three-hour workshop entitled "Helping students after a school shooting or student suicide" which he gave (for the final time) at the 48th Annual Illinois Association of School Social Workers Conference in Tinley Park, IL on Friday, October 26th, 2018. The following is a description of the IASSW Conference presentation and learning objectives:

  • Description: In the immediate wake of a school shooting, student suicide, or accidental death administrators, teachers, students, and parents expect the school social worker to take an active role with acutely-stressed or grief-stricken students. Participants in this workshop will learn a way to effectively assist individuals as well as groups of such affected students by using the presenter’s twelve-phase evidence-informed intervention. This intervention incorporates a sequence of over 85 specific and practicable tasks that are also often used in crisis intervention, psychological first aid, critical incidence stress debriefing and post trauma counseling.

  • Learning Objectives: To learn the presenter's intervention model and how it has, and can be used in specific death events. Participants will also be able to share their own experiences with a death event, have the opportunity to discuss that event with like-minded professionals, and see how, in retrospect, the intervention model could have been used in their particular event.

Jerry also presented a modified version of the above to an NASW-sponsored audience that included school and community-based mental health professionals in DeKalb, Illinois on April 12th, 2019. The title of that workshop was: “Helping Clients/Students after a Workplace/School Shooting or Suicide”.

In addition to the above workshops Jerry is able to present on three other topics of interest to school social workers at the high school level. One is about a school-wide program he developed to inform and engage students at the onset of high school. The title, description and learning objectives of this program presentation are shown below:

"A school-wide program to enhance student connectedness with the high school social worker"

  • Description: "Freshman Orientation to SSW" is an evidenced-based school-wide program developed to enhance student connectedness to the SSW. A portion of the workshop will reenact sections of the program presentation showing some key questions and comments presented to students. The other portion will describe the method of assessing the program’s effectiveness and the results of that assessment as described in a recent school social work publication.

  • Learning Objectives: Participants will learn how the program may be an effective "tier-one intervention" for schools concerned with a more robust implementation of MTSS/RTI as well as its effectiveness and relevance to other school reform initiatives such as SEL, PBS, ESSA, and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Participants can readily access a transcript of the presentation message; the PowerPoint slides used in the presentation and will learn the presenter’s method of assessing the program’s effectiveness and how the program and its analysis of effectiveness can be duplicated.

The other presentation that Jerry has offered at various state and national conferences is about a suicide prevention program he developed. The title, description and learning objectives of this program presentation are shown below:

"School-based Suicide Prevention" 

  • Description: Participants will learn about a suicide prevention program in effect at two high schools within School District U-46 in Elgin, Illinois from 1987-2014. In addition to viewing a reenactment of a classroom presentation, those who attend will also learn about key aspects and specific methodology of the program. Data taken over several years will show that this program and its approaches have been able to significantly change targeted attitudes about suicide and has seemed to reduce the incidence of suicide related behaviors in students.

  • Learning objectives: To understand the core components and primary goals of a school-based suicide prevention program. To observe a suicide prevention presentation given to students at a high school. To learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of a prevention program and review the results of that evaluation model when it was applied to the programs at the two School District U-46 high schools.

A new presentation that Jerry is fine-tuning is drawn from his experience in working with students in crisis due to an intense parent-teen conflict. The title, description and learning objectives of this presentation are shown below:

“Helping students in crisis due to a parent-teen conflict”

  • Description: One of the most challenging referrals for school social work are students whom, upon further investigation, are coping with an exasperating parent. Such students are typically angry, excessively anxious (in the wake of an act of rebellion or resistance), or report feeling hopelessly resigned, depressed and in some cases suicidal. Carefully obtaining and presenting the right combination of information can be very effective in the school social worker’s appeal to the loving instincts of an emotionally-distraught parent irregardless of their parenting style or the circumstances of the current parent-teen conflict.

  • Learning objectives: To learn the presenter’s protocol for addressing students in crisis due to an exasperating parent-teen conflict. This protocol includes an understanding of critical information to be gathered from the student and parent and how to interpret and use this information so that the student is able to resume a ready-to-learn focus in school.