Top of Page

Inside CPS

News and Stories from across the District

Eight Questions with A Veteran CPS Social Worker

13 February 2024

Ms. Brown is known as a loving and caring person who goes out of her way to help students. 

Ms. Brown

Ms. Jereece Brown has been an essential part of the Harlan Community Academy community for the past seven years and has worked for CPS for 30 years. As a school social worker, she is responsible for coordinating services for students to ensure their needs are met. This requires her to build strong relationships with everyone else inside the school building. 

It is clear that Ms. Brown has been immensely successful in this role. She explains that her students give her a lot of energy to be an advocate for them. One of her colleagues describes her as a loving and caring person who goes out of her way to help students with mental health, social-emotional well-being, and academic pursuits. Get to know her more below. 

What was your path to becoming a school social worker? 

I was in college trying to figure out a career that would be a good fit for me. I wanted to teach, but I didn’t know if my math skills were ready for that. My mom suggested social work, so I did some research and found out about school social work. I decided that was what I wanted to do. Fun fact: I was four months pregnant when I started in CPS! 

How would your school community describe you? 

Diligent, hard-working, and always available. 

What does your job look like on a day-to-day basis? 

One of my managers once told me that being a school social worker is like being the director of a social service agency in your building. That is definitely true. I am always making referrals and connecting students to services with our community partners. 

I’m also often talking directly with students about their education to make sure that I am supporting them the best I can. This requires me to collaborate closely with my colleagues who are also on our Behavioral Health Team to handle crisis situations. 

What are some accomplishments that you’re especially proud of? 

The little accomplishments are what I remember the most. I remember that I had an especially challenging student, and I was having a meeting with her and her mom. The student described me as “the lady who is always nice to me.” That made me feel good because I knew that I had made a connection with this student and her parent. 

When you receive positive feedback, how does it make you feel? 

It almost makes me want to cry—in a good way. Some days are very difficult, but it helps to know that people appreciate what you do. It also helps to have a great team, and I think that’s what we have here at Harlan. 

How has this school year been going so far? 

It has been emotionally draining but very rewarding. I think that the needs of our students have become more varied than they were before. In particular, we’ve had to work very hard to support their mental health. I hope to continue to reach as many students as I can by working with integrity. 

What advice would you give to a new school social worker? 

Take advantage of opportunities to introduce yourself to people so they know who you are. Make sure that you define your role to others. Take care of yourself. And the clerks and engineering staff are your best friends when you come to a new school—they’re a great resource! 

What is your message to your students and colleagues? 

I greatly appreciate them. It has been wonderful to be of service to them as well.

Related Stories

12 April 2024

Highlighting Four of Our Golden Apple Award Finalists

Meet our Golden Apple finalists from Skinner West Elementary School, Nettelhorst Fine and Performing Arts School, Mary Lyon School, and Namaste Charter School!

12 April 2024

Highlighting Four of Our Golden Apple Award Finalists

Meet our Golden Apple finalists from Marquette Elementary School, A.N. Pritzker Elementary School, Turner-Drew Elementary School, and Courtenay Elementary School!

11 April 2024

Finding New Ways to Build Relationships Within My School Community

By Ms. Jennifer Jackson, Special Education Classroom Assistant at Kozminski Community Academy

05 April 2024

Take Five with Mauricia Estes: Assistant Principal of Carter School of Excellence

As a school leader, AP Estes is known for being approachable, compassionate, and supportive.