Paula Davis, LCSW-C

Winfield Elementary School

Paula Davis, LCSW-C

Paula Davis began her career in Baltimore County Public Schools as a school social worker in 2009. She was assigned to Battle Monument School. At Battle Monument, Davis enjoyed providing services to students with severe disabilities and worked closely with both families and staff to create an effective support center for students. Davis ran social skills groups as well as parent resource activities to support students. She focused on providing specialized Behavior Relaxation Training or BRT for several students, which helped build coping skills to negotiate anxiety at school.

Prior to joining Team BCPS, Davis worked as a school social worker in Malden Public Schools in Massachusetts and at the Leadership Learning Partners Charter School in Philadelphia. In both of these experiences, Davis was eager to support students’ social-emotional learning by providing service directly to students as well as co-teaching social skill lessons in the classroom with teachers. A parent support group for families with children on the autism spectrum is still meeting after 14 years as a small group.

Today, Davis works collaboratively as a member of the Social-Emotional Team at Winfield Elementary School in Randallstown. During the past four years, Davis and the Winfield leadership team have created a Social-Emotional Plan to provide a variety of interventions for a student population that has a high rate of mobility. Winfield’s Social Emotional Plan provides targeted interventions, which include a school-wide incentive program, social-emotional learning programs, mentor programs, peer mediation/restorative circles, and intensive therapeutic case- management with the Social-Emotional Team. Davis has provided professional learning/training to all staff members so that social-emotional curricula can be facilitated by ALL teachers and support staff. As a result, the implementation of a schoolwide social emotional plan has reduced focus room referrals over the past three years. (A focus room is a redirection room to help students calm and 're-focus' back to work.)

Over the past four years, Davis has continually conducted needs assessments to design four different mentoring programs for students. These programs involve staff, community mentors, and older students who serve as Big Buddies. Davis has served as the coordinator for these programs and develops the curriculum with volunteer staff.  For example, the 30/30 Leadership Program has used the book “Discovering Wes Moore” to help students reflect on making positive choices for long range outcomes. Teachers and parents report many of the students have shown both academic and social-emotional gains in their classroom performance. In addition to her more comprehensive social work interventions, Davis provides direct social work services to students who struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Davis has worked with Aricka Porter, the school principal, and the Winfield ES leadership team to host two bi-annual school-community partnerships. This year, Davis has tailored professional learning seminars for school staff, parents, and the community about toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences and how this effects students and their school performance. In 2017, Davis and Porter presented Winfield’s Social-Emotional Learning Plan at the Safe Schools Conference in Baltimore County and at the International Center for Leadership in Education‘s Model Schools Conference in Nashville, TN.

Davis says, “It takes a village to raise a child, and I am passionate about training our village of staff, parents, and community partners with the skills of social-emotional learning to build resilient students in the classroom. Social skills and leadership goal-setting will help our children throughout their whole lives.”

(Photos of all of the five school social workers to be profiled can be found on the BCPS Flickr site. Profiles of the school social workers, once posted, will all be available in the BCPS Spotlight archives.)

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