Fordham GSS/NYC Public Schools Collaborative Fellowship

An image of children in a classroom collaborating on a school project.

Become a School Social Worker at Fordham GSS

The demand for skilled school social workers continues to rise. Fordham GSS has worked with NYC Public Schools to develop the Fordham GSS/NYC Public Schools Collaborative program ("the Collaborative"). This program is designed for Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) students to advance their knowledge and skills in school social work.

Established in February 2023, the Collaborative serves as a vital pipeline of highly trained professionals for schools. Developed in partnership with the NYC Public Schools system, this program immerses students in NYC elementary, middle, and high schools alongside seasoned school social workers, providing hands-on experience paired with a tailored curriculum to fit the needs required by today’s schools.

Two MSW students sit talking in a classroom.

The Collaborative Experience for Fordham M.S.W. Students

Fordham M.S.W. students are accepted into the Collaborative as a cohort. Students complete their field placement at a public school located within one of NYC’s five boroughs—the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island—serving students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. M.S.W. students are matched with schools based on grade-level interest, commuting distance, and specific skills.

This opportunity is open to Generalist and Specialist Year students in Fordham’s M.S.W. program. While all field placements occur within NYC, the skills and proficiencies cultivated through this experience universally apply to schools nationwide.

Students in the Collaborative receive personalized guidance from full-time field advisors. In addition, scholarship opportunities are available based on funding. Social Work Practice in Schools (SWGS 6418) is a required course for Specialist Year students in the Collaborative, providing a rich learning experience to acquire the skills necessary in the school setting. 

Members of NYC Public Schools and Fordham GSS administration pose for a photo at the Fordham Lincoln Center campus.

Specialized Training for M.S.W. Field Instructors

To ensure our students receive the highest quality educational experience, we provide Seminar Training in Field Instruction (SIFI) specifically for NYC Public Schools’ field instructors who advise students throughout the program. This training allows field instructors to give the proper feedback, support, and mentorship students need to succeed as future school social workers in their placements and the workforce.

Fordham GSS Associate Dean Linda White-Ryan lectures at the front of an MSW classroom.

Enhanced Educational Forums for NYC Families

In the school field practicum experience, M.S.W. students work with youth and their families and offer insights into these families’ needs. Therefore, as part of the Collaborative, Fordham University faculty have developed enhanced wraparound assistance for the families of NYC Public School students. The family’s ideas, perspectives, and needs are considered when professional teams work with families. One example of a strong outreach opportunity for families is the establishment of free monthly sessions on current topics of concern. Topics include vaping, alcohol, drug use, and childhood trauma. Forums are translatable in seven different languages.