School Social Workers

School Social Workers

Jackie Taylor
Lead Social Worker, Homeless Liaison, Foster Care Point of Contact, City Park & Westwood Schools

Viri Ortiz
Homeless Teen Case Manager (8th-12th grade)

Ivelisse Peters
Dalton High School, The Dalton Academy, Dalton Alternative Education Program (DAEP)

Stephanie Cervantes
Dalton Junior High School
706-876-4672 or 706-463-5839

Cecilia Hebard
Hammond Creek Middle School
706-876-4669 or 706-508-7591

Clemencia Ixcoy
Blue Ridge School,  Roan School, Newcomer Academy at The Dalton Academy
706-281-5837 or 706-463-5746

Amairany Vidaña
Park Creek and Brookwood Schools

Social workers group photo

Pictured from left to right: Clemencia Ixcoy, Cecelia Hebard, Amairany Vidaña, Viri Ortiz, Jackie Taylor, Ivelisse Peters, and Stephanie Cervantes

Want to help us meet student needs?

Dalton Public Schools partners with Purposity, an innovative technology mobile app, that helps our schools meet the real-time, essential needs of our students (e.g., shoes, clothing, hygiene items, household essentials). Our school social workers share the critical needs of students on the Purposity mobile app so followers can volunteer to purchase the items. The items are then delivered to the school social worker to go directly to the student/family.  If you would like to help students get the resources that they need, download the Purposity app from your phone’s app store today! 

Click here to download Purposity

Learn more about school social workers!

Why is it important for a school to have a school social worker?
Our school social workers help students, families, and staff to solve problems that occur that disrupt a student’s school experience. They make home visits, lead groups, connect families with community services, and work with teachers to make sure the school is a positive environment for everyone. 

How is a school social worker different from a Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) social worker?
Our school social workers are employed by Dalton Public Schools and only work with our students, families, and staff. They are certified by the Georgia Department of Education and hold a master’s degree in social work. Sometimes, they may collaborate with a DFCS social worker if a student is in foster care or if the school reports neglect or abuse. 

What does a school social worker do?
Our school social workers help students, school staff, families, and communities by:

  • stepping in early to reduce stress and conflicts among individuals or groups,
  • providing solutions to problems for students, parents, school staff, or community agencies,
  • identifying students who may be at risk, and
  • working with different groups in schools to help develop coping, social, and decision-making skills.

How does a school social worker handle excessive absenteeism?
Our school social workers are crucial in preventing dropouts and reducing truancy rates. School administrators keep an eye on student attendance, and if a student has missed 5 unexcused/10 excused days or more, a referral is made to the school social worker. The school social worker then collaborates with staff, parents, or guardians to figure out why the student is missing school, and then works to resolve any barriers to regular attendance. Depending on the situation, they might need to involve the magistrate or juvenile courts, but they usually work on attendance issues way before they become a bigger problem. 

How do school social workers decide which students get help?
Our school social workers help all students, no matter their background or how well they are doing in school. They usually get referrals from school counselors, teachers, administrators, or attendance clerks. Sometimes, even community agencies can refer a student. The school social worker’s day depends on the referrals they get, which determines if they follow up with a simple phone call or if the situation requires a series of visits over several weeks to help the student and their family. 


Homeless Education Program

All children are entitled to a free, public education, including those in families who are experiencing homelessness.  Homeless students are defined as those students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including students: 

  • Sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to a lack of alternative, adequate accommodations
  • Living in emergency & transitional shelters
  • Abandoned in hospitals
  • Living in public or private places not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations or similar situations
  • Migratory children living in the above situations

For more information, contact Jackie Taylor, Homeless Liaison and Lead Social Worker, at 706-463-7624.




Parent Guidance Resources is a service developed by licensed therapists that provides trusted and specialized courses, professional support, and a safe community to learn how to support our children and get answers to mental health questions. 

Click on the image below to access the free online resources

Parent Guidance

Food Finder

Click on the link below to find local food pantries and other local food resources. 

Food Finder