Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

Spring 4-2017

Document Type



Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Tom Winter

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Stephen Baldridge

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Lisette Spraggins


Students in rural communities are often subject to unique barriers and challenges that impact their holistic emotional, cognitive, physical, and social success in school. Because these factors have a strong impact on school attendance, behavior, and overall success, educators have begun to implement social work programs within both rural and urban school districts across the nation. While existing research affirms the effectiveness of school social work, very little research has been conducted to determine the effect in rural school districts. This paper evaluates the impact of a newly developed social work pilot program in two West Texas school districts implemented with students who have been identified as having one or more of the following characteristics: poor school attendance, behavior referrals, or crisis situations. Results indicated that students who received any social work intervention had significantly fewer behavior referrals and improved progress in crisis situations compared to data collected prior to start of social work services. Results further indicated that students specifically targeted for attendance, behavior, or crisis interventions had significantly fewer absences, behavior referrals, and improved progress in crisis after the start of targeted interventions. Overall, the results of this study suggest that school social work is effective in improving attendance, behavior, and crisis outcomes of students in rural school districts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.