Making Positive Changes for Kids
Sometimes kids need an adult to talk to about their hopes, their fears or their problems in school or at home. For the almost 500 students at Richard T. Stank Middle School in Conklin, N.Y., that person is often Dan Kosick, the school's social worker and a 2006 graduate of the MSW program at Binghamton (he also received a bachelor's degree from the University in 2000).
Dan understands how learning, behavior and social problems can affect a student's success. So whether he is counseling students, training faculty, advocating for students and their parents, making referrals to community resources, helping shape district policy, or performing another of his many responsibilities, Dan's focus is always on identifying barriers that negatively impact students' ability to learn and then working with students, families and the school to effect positive changes.
"It's a social worker's job to act as a catalyst and buffer for change, and that goes for any setting — individuals, groups or community," he says. "It's my job to promote appropriate change when needed," he adds.
Dan chose to become a social worker after spending time as a substitute teacher and working with at-risk youths in the University's GEAR UP program (a partnership between Binghamton University's Graduate School of Education and the Binghamton City School District that helps low-income students prepare to succeed in college).
"Social work just seemed to fit," he says.
The program's part-time offering was another good fit. "I had a lot of stuff on my plate," he explains. "I have a family and I couldn't stop working, so the part-time option was the only way I could get my MSW."