Spotlights
Gail Martin
03/10/2016

Spotlight

Gail Martin has spent her entire professional career in the Baltimore County Public Schools. After working as a special educator from 1974-1985, she returned as a School Social Worker in 1997, and has worked in a variety of educational settings in this capacity ever since. For the past 2 years, she has been assigned to the Home & Hospital Center.

As the sole School Social Worker at Home & Hospital, Gail covers the entire county, from Lansdowne to Dundalk, and from Towson to the Pennsylvania line. Almost all of her work with students and families occurs in homes or community locations like public libraries, although she has also met with students in parks, restaurants, and school parking lots. “I go where the work needs to happen,” she says. Her caseload is split about halfway between general education and special education students, and runs from elementary to high school. Her job includes intensive work with families as well as frequent contact with school staff and outside agencies. Gail finds the work varied, challenging, and interesting.

Many, if not most, of the students Gail works with are diagnosed with severe anxiety, and some haven’t been able to attend school for years. “That kind of anxiety can impact the rest of your life,” Gail says. “It’s incredibly gratifying to see students making progress toward returning to school. I never forget how scary it is for them. They are the bravest people I know.”

Some of her colleagues assumed that she is involved with, or at least is able to screen, all of the students who receive Home & Hospital services. This is not the case. “Our office provides instructional services to about 1500 students each school year,” she informed them, “including those who have had surgery, acute or chronic illnesses, or are becoming teen moms.” The Teen Mom program is one that Gail particularly enjoys, although she cannot always give it the attention that she wishes that she could.  Services to Teen Moms have included home visits with new teen parents to assess their needs, provide information and referrals to outside programs, and encourage school completion. In May 2015, Gail joined with other agencies in the Northwest/Southwest area to sponsor a Resource Fair and Baby Shower for teen families (including moms, dads, and newly-minted grandparents).

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