Meet Ann Areeckal, Social Worker at SDA

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Meet Ann Areeckal, Social Worker at SDA

Courtesy of Ann Areeckal

Courtesy of Ann Areeckal

Courtesy of Ann Areeckal

Story by Erin Maxwell, Assistant Features Editor

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Ann Areeckal is San Dieguito Academy’s school social worker for this year. Areeckal is one of four social workers hired by the San Dieguito Union High School District to work at its various high schools and middle schools.

According to Assistant Principal Jeanne Jones, the district hired Areeckal and the other three social workers to relieve some of the counselor’s work load (an average 450 students per counselor). Additionally, Jones said, “I think the district saw a need to expand the social, emotional services to students.”

Areeckal, who splits her time between Diegueno Middle School and SDA, has a very busy job. As a school social worker, she meets with kids about mental health concerns, family issues, attendance problems, and distressing life events. She often meets with students for regular meetings, until it is decided that the student is no longer in need of counseling.

On average she meets with between five and 10 students a day. Areeckal also leads weekly group meetings for READI, which is SDUHSD’s drug and alcohol education program. Most kids she meets with have been referred to her by counselors or assistant principals, she said.

Areekcal is at SDA on Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays all day.

While Areeckal said that she regrets that “there are not enough hours in the day to work with all the students that could benefit from…a school social worker,” she says that “the possibility that [she] may impact their life in a positive way is truly inspirational.”

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