MCPS introduced a new social work program in high schools. Cheyenne Frenz is Blake’s designated social worker and is very excited to be here. The goal of the program is to coordinate mental health supports, social emotional ideals, and behavior and discipline. They work in collaboration with the Instructional Learning Team (ILT) to bridge into the Wellness Center that will provide additional support for students.
Frenz went to undergraduate school at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, majoring in sociology, with a minor in social work and criminal justice. She continued on to the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work to get her masters. Frenz got her license which took a minimum of two years of supervised work in the field. She worked for 13 years with severely autistic individuals as the Director of the children’s program. After that, she decided to switch into working with students and adolescents.
“I interact with students on a daily basis,” smiles Frenz. She is at the school every day except for Tuesdays where she goes to the central office. “I try to get into classrooms, sometimes I get involved in conflict resolution.” A lot of Frenz’s job consists of working with families and supporting students in talking to guardians about their own mental health. With the end goal being improved academic and mental standing. Sometimes that can be a referral to our bridge to wellness for individual therapy.
Frenz has a master’s level social work intern who will also be putting together psychoeducational groups on anxiety, time management and general social opportunities. “We don’t want anyone sitting alone at lunch,” says Frenz.
Students can go through their counselors who can suggest that they work with Frenz. There is front line support through counselors as there are several of them, and only one social worker. Members of the counseling department, administration, and our school psychologist engage in a multidisciplinary conversation on a weekly basis to determine what support would be most appropriate for the person.
Something most people don’t know is that Frenz is responsible for helping to write the advisory lessons. Over the summer, Frenz worked with ILT to get a sense of the Blake community and leadership team to see what to focus on. “There was a little exercise on training your brain, but also some understanding on why we focus on the negative. And how to train our brains to focus on the positive,” says Frenz.
“If students have concerns about their peers, referrals can be made to counselors or teachers,” says Frenz. “Let’s say a student is struggling and she is scared to talk to someone or her parents. If you know something, say something. You guys know more about what is going on with each other than we do. The goal is that you guys will feel comfortable reaching out to us on their behalf to help your peers. I think that is a message that we haven’t sent out clearly enough to students.”