August 3, 2017


Community Superintendents


High School Superintendents


Field Support Center Teams


School Principals



Raymond J. Orlando, Chief Financial Officer



Bridging the Gap School Social Workers


This memorandum allocates tax levy funding to staff forty-three school social workers under the second year of the Bridging the Gap Initiative to support Students in Temporary Housing (STH). The goal of the funding is to ensure that schools with the largest number of homeless students residing in shelters have at least one school social worker on staff. Services for STH are administered through the Office of Safety and Youth Development (OSYD), and provided at both schools and shelters. This budget allocation fully covers these positions for FY 2018 only. After FY 2018, funding is subject to availability.


In order to meet the school-specific needs of schools that have a large STH population residing in shelters, the Mayor’s Office has allocated funding in FY 2018 specifically to support the social and emotional needs of STH and their parents/guardians. Bridging the Gap social workers should play a different role than other school-based social workers or guidance counselors.


Responsibilities of Bridging the Gap staff:

·         Provide individual, group, and family counseling with a majority of their caseload (min. two-thirds of caseload) comprised of students in shelter;

·         Deliver counseling with an emphasis on trauma-focused practice;

·         Conduct parent workshops;

·         Make needed referrals for professional services;

·         Provide support to other staff members and teachers to educate them on the issues facing students in shelter and the social-emotional needs of this population;

·         Communicate and coordinate with other adults who may be supporting a family in shelter; and

·         Coordinate with the school-based STH liaison to ensure the basic needs of students in shelter are met; this individual could serve as the school-based STH liaison, a position that is designated in the Consolidated Youth Plan.


A more detailed set of expectations for this role is available to schools to inform the hiring and supervision of these individuals.


The schools selected to receive social workers are all either elementary or K-8 schools that did not have a school social worker during SY 2014-2015. The 43 schools include 32 that participated in year 1 and 11 that have been added for year 2. These schools had at least 25 students residing in shelter in SY 2014-2015.


Bridging the Gap social workers will report directly to the School Principal with oversight from a supervisor in the Office of Safety and Youth Development (OSYD) as well as from borough STH liaisons (Content Experts). Bridging the Gap social workers are expected to participate in OSYD scheduled professional development including monthly meetings and other mandated trainings. The social workers work in the school but may also provide assistance at the zoned shelters in providing services mandated under the federal McKinney-Vento Act.


These positions are scheduled on the assigned school’s table of organization. Timekeeping records are maintained at the assigned school.


Funds will be allocated in the TL Bridging the Gap allocation category.


Download a copy of the School Allocation Memorandum No. 59, FY 2018


Table 1 – Bridging the Gap School Social Workers Allocation Summary


C:        Lois Herrera   

Katherine Marshall-Polite

Jaye Murray   

Robert J. Weiner        

Erin Lester