Congratulations on our 2018 Mini-Grant Recipients!
2018 Mini-Grant Updates!
Dear WSSWA,

Thank you for awarding me the 2018/19 mini-grant, to bring mindfulness into my school community.

With the award I was able to purchase 10 yoga mats, 6 meditation cushions, and a set of flameless candles from Amazon. I turned my 4K-2 grade office into a “zen den.” 

Recently, I did a meditation and yoga session with three students, as a test pilot (pictures below). It was a major success! The kids loved it so much, and hung in for the entire 20 minutes! Well, except when all three had to take a potty break in the middle of class because I forgot to have them go before, oops! Otherwise, they were really into it, and did especially well during “calm time” aka Shavasana, or lying down meditation. My favorite line from class was when I asked them what yoga is and one kid said, “it’s like being a slow ninja.”

This summer I am participating in the Breathe 4 Change yoga and SEL*F training. I plan on using the supplies I purchased to implement more yoga and meditation in my district. I hope to partner with 4K on a curriculum we’ll call, “slow ninjas.”

Thank you so much for the amazing opportunity! I am humbled to be an award recipient my first year of social work. I hope you enjoy the pictures. 

Thank you,

Kat Swanson






Good Afternoon, 

I just wanted to send out an update on the Sensory Room that you all helped create by granting me the mini grant in the fall of 2018. Since December 2018 there has been 137 recorded visits to the sensory room by 52 students who have a IEP or 504. In February and March, the Sensory Area was seeing daily use. In April & May, 3 or 4 students a week used the space to deal with capacity issues.

Of those who did not have a IEP or 504, there was an additional 159 visits by 67 students totaling 296 visits by 109 students in total. The creation of the room has been popular and has made a impact on our population here. They always know they have a safe place to go where they can de-escalate and regulate. We are looking forward to expanding it in the future and creating a larger space for more students to use. 

I just wanted to thank you all again for helping start our new room. 

Sincerely, 

Shannon Sexton, MSSW, LSSW, APSW

School Social Worker

Marinette Middle School



Wisconsin School Social Work Association has begun an initiative to support our members with an opportunity to fund a special project through a mini-grant. WSSWA members can apply each year for a grant up to $500 to support a professional project. We were interested in helping our members try a new initiative or innovative idea that would be used to directly impact or benefit students and/or families. We were pleased to announce the 2018 grant recipients!


Shannon Sexton - Marinette School District

Sensory Room - $250

Shannon will use the grant to support the addition of a sensory room for special education students and students with IEP's and 504's in her middle school. This room will provide multiple sensory toys, furniture, and objects needed to regulate students who need a break from the classroom. At this time, when students need a sensory break, they take walks or use PE equipment.  This room would provide a supervised, stable, and consistent place for students to decompress with actual sensory equipment rather than makeshift sensory toys.


Katrina Swanson- Washington Heights School District

Mindfulness - $250

Katrina will use her grant money to implement a mindfulness/meditation/yoga curriculum in her district. Katrina is a long-time practitioner of mindfulness, yoga, and meditation and is very aware of how these practices can calm the mind and body. She plans to turn her elementary school offices into meditation rooms and will use the funds to purchase meditation cushions, yoga mats, and other items that will help create a calming space


Margaret Danielson - Parkview School District

FearlesslyKIND Classroom Curriculum - $375

Margaret has requested funding to purchase a curriculum called FearlesslyKIND to be used with students in her district. Margaret works in a rural community that has limited access to mental health resources for her students and families.  This year, Parkview School District hired Margaret, their first ever school social worker, and charged her with running groups and supporting the mental health needs of the students in her district. She will be using this curriculum as one method to addressing the needs of her students.  


Ashlee Karpinsky - Wausau School District

Positive attendance promotion - $250

Ashlee intends to use this grant to helping to improve the attendance at her two elementary schools. She plans on purchasing alarm clocks for students who have emerging attendance needs or who have met the criteria for an attendance conference. She also plans on using the grant to create an incentive program that would include competitions and for incentives for students and families that have increased attendance.


Meghan Eisenbraun - School District of Ladysmith

Parent Advisory Committee Initiatives - $250

Megan will using her grant money to support the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) within her district. This is a new collaborative effort between our elementary school, parent volunteers, and community stakeholders. Their goal is to provide support and resources to families on parenting and school related issues while increasing family engagement in the educational experience for their children. They have outlined a number of ways in which they will increase parent engagement within their district including creating a “Parent’s Cafe,  sponsoring Family Nights, and creating a “Parents University” and creating a family resource library.



The 2019 Mini-Grant application will be available in the fall.

Please check back for more information!

School Social Worker of the Year Award


Ellen Higley, School Social Worker of the Year 2018

Ellen Higley has demonstrated excellence and leadership as a school social worker for the past 20 years in the Eau Claire School District.  Prior to her employment as a school social worker, Ellen has held numerous social services positions for shelters, treatment centers, and counseling agencies.  Throughout her career, Ellen has been a leader in development of programs and services that have impacted youth, schools, community and the profession. 




Jodi Guenther, School Social Worker of the Year 2017

Jodi has worked in the the Shawano School District since 1999.  She started at the high school, implementing the SADD program, a peer mediation program, and the district's Autism Behavioral Consultation Team.  She also co-collaborated on establishing the County's suicide prevention program known as ROADS.  She later worked at the elementary school level, taking on the role of PBS coach and district coach for trauma and mindfulness.  Jodi has also been on the County's Truancy Task Force and worked to implement Coordinated Care Wraparound Supports.  She also had a role in implementing a homeless shelter.  She currently serves as the middle school social worker.



Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software